Thousands of chickens culled to stop bird flu

  • 13/11/2016
An Austrian poultry farm tested positive for H5N8 on Friday (Getty)
An Austrian poultry farm tested positive for H5N8 on Friday (Getty)

Germany, Switzerland and Austria have reported new outbreaks of a severe strain of bird flu in the latest in a series of cases across Europe.

The H5N8 virus has also been found in Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia.

In Germany, the state of Schleswig-Holstein on Saturday 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 3 square km had been sealed off.

In Berlin, the federal agriculture minister, Christian Schmidt, said the government had set up a crisis management desk.

The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety confirmed a second outbreak at a chicken farm in its western Vorarlberg province close to the German and Swiss borders and said 4,000 would be culled.

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 3km and a surveillance zone with a radius of at least 10km around the infected holdings will be 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.