New outbreak of bird flu reported in West Flanders, as virus continues to spread
Avian influenza type H5 has been detected at a commercial poultry farm in Houthulst, West Flanders province. To prevent the further spread of the virus, the poultry and birds still present are being culled, the Federal Food Agency (FASFC) reported on Monday. Since September, the bird flu virus has again been circulating strongly among wild birds.
A three-kilometre protection zone and a 10-kilometre surveillance zone will be established around the affected poultry farm. Strict biosecurity measures are imposed, and anyone noticing symptoms in their poultry or birds should consult a veterinarian.
The FASFC reminds all poultry keepers that the bird flu virus has been circulating strongly among wild birds since September. As a result, there is a high risk that farm poultry could be infected with bird flu through contact with wild birds. More than 20 infections have already been identified among commercial and private keepers in the past four months. In addition, dozens of infected wild birds have also been found across the country.
Private keepers, too, are advised to protect their poultry as much as possible, even now that it is no longer mandatory. Feeding the animals is only allowed indoors. A screening obligation has been in effect for registered poultry farms since 5 October.
Avian flu is a highly contagious viral disease to which probably all bird species are susceptible. There is no scientific indication that this virus is also harmful to humans.
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