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article imageBird flu forcing many European countries to bring poultry indoors

By Karen Graham     Nov 14, 2016 in Environment
New outbreaks of a severe strain of bird flu have popped up in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia, prompting many countries to consider a lock-up order for poultry and egg producers.
On Monday, Denmark went ahead and ordered poultry farmers to keep their flocks indoors, the country's environment and food ministry said. The order takes effect at midnight and excludes ducks, geese and wild birds.
Last week, Danish authorities ordered a farm to destroy 250,000 eggs imported from Germany that contained the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus, reports Reuters.
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt also said on Monday they were considering ordering poultry farmers to bring their flocks indoors. Germany and Switzerland reported additional outbreaks of the virulent bird flu on Saturday, heightening concerns for the health of the flocks.
Schmidt says he wants to consult with other countries before making a decision, but he also may just go ahead and issue a lock-up order anyway if the bird flu continues to spread.
A farm in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein had to destroy 300,000 chickens, while a square-mile area was quarantined to hopefully stop the spread of the infection. On Sunday, another outbreak of the bird flu was reported at a chicken farm in Austria, very close to the German and-Swiss borders.
The Sun is reporting today that farmers across Europe have been asked to keep their poultry contained to lessen the chance of their flocks getting the bird flu virus. Protection zones are also being set up to stop migrating wild birds from infecting poultry.
The H5N8 bird flu virus used to be considered one of the lower pathogenic subtypes of the bird flu virus. But as it has evolved, it has become much more virulent. It also can act as an incubator for the much more deadly H1N1 virus.
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