Germany and Switzerland have reported new outbreak of severe strain of bird flu, the latest in series of cases across Europe. The H5N8 virus has also been found in Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia.
In Germany, the state of Schleswig-Holstein reported one case of bird flu confirmed at a farm where 30,000 chickens would now be culled. The state’s agriculture ministry said an area of three square km (1.2 square miles) had been sealed.
In Berlin, the federal agriculture minister, Christian Schmidt, said the government had set up a crisis management desk.
A second outbreak in Austria at a chicken farm in its western Vorarlberg province close to the German and Swiss borders was not yet clearly established following the analysis of a second sample, the provincial minister of agriculture said. While samples taken on Thursday detected the virus, samples on Friday failed to deliver a clear result, minister Erich Schwaerzler said.
“I ordered new samples be taken for another analysis and I expect a clear result on Monday.”
An Austrian poultry farm close to the chicken farm had tested positive for H5N8 on Friday. A protection zone with a radius of at least three kilometres and a surveillance zone with a radius of at least 10 kilometres around the two holdings have been created to keep migrating birds from transmitting the disease to farm poultry.
Bird flu was also confirmed in dead birds along Lake Geneva in Switzerland on Saturday. Austria and Switzerland earlier this week took steps to prevent the spread of the virus to domestic poultry after discovering the disease in wild ducks around Lake Constance.