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Bird flu spreads in Europe and Asia, putting poultry industry on alert
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 11 - 2021

Several outbreaks of severe bird flu in Europe and Asia have been reported in recent days to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), in a sign the virus is spreading quickly again, Reuters news agency reported.
The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, has put the poultry industry on alert after previous outbreaks led to the culling of tens of millions of birds. Outbreaks also often lead to trade restrictions.
It is attracting the attention too of epidemiologists as the virus can be transmitted to humans. China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza so far this year, more than in the whole of 2020.
IN Europe, Belgium ordered its poultry into lockdown from Monday after detecting a case of bird flu in a wild duck, extending avian quarantine measures already in place in neighbouring countries.
Authorities are attempting to prevent farm birds coming into contact with wild migratory ones to prevent the H5N1 virus from spreading.
The sickened wild duck was found in Schilde, a town on the eastern outskirts of Antwerp, Belgium's second-biggest urban agglomeration.
Neighbouring France and the Netherlands have imposed similar poultry lockdowns over the past three weeks following outbreaks on their territories.
Belgium's restrictions require poultry breeders and hobbyists to keep their birds locked away and to ensure they do not drink from water accessible to wild birds.
Norway reported an H5N1 bird flu outbreak in the Rogaland region in a flock of 7,000 birds, the OIE said.
In the UK, a protection zone has been put around a site in North Yorkshire after birds there were confirmed as having the H5N1 virus.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said bird flu was found at premises near Leeming Bar, Hambleton on Saturday.
Defra said further testing was under way and that all birds at the site would be humanely culled.
On Friday, bird flu was found at a site in Fylde, Lancashire.
South Korea reported an outbreak at a farm of around 770,000 poultry in Chungcheongbuk-do, the OIE said on Monday, citing a report from the South Korean authorities. All animals were slaughtered.
Also in Asia, Japan reported its first outbreak of the 2021 winter season, at a poultry farm in the northeast of the country, the OIE said, confirming a statement last week by Japan's agriculture ministry. The serotype in this outbreak was H5N8.
In India, more than 180 cranes have been found dead in Rajasthan's Jodhpur district in the past week.
As per Ramesh Kumar Malpani, Divisional Forest Officer, Jodhpur, two cases of bird flu have been confirmed from the samples collected from the dead birds.
Outbreaks generally occur in the fall, spread by migrating wild birds.
Bird flu cannot be transmitted through the eating of poultry products. — Agencies


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