December 24, 2008
Bird flu found in Belgian farms
Immediate measures have been carried out after an outbreak of bird flu was detected in two farms in northern Belgium, Belgian media reported on Tuesday (Dec 23).
Control tests showed last Friday (Dec 19) that some ducks and geese in a farm in Bocholt, which borders the Netherlands, were infected with the bird flu virus. The same virus was also detected in a farm in Buggenhout in the province of East Flanders.
However the bird flu virus is not dangerous to human beings and is different from the H5N1 variant, which has killed more than 200 people since it was discovered in 2003.
The Belgian Federal Food Agency, which takes charge of the safety of the food chain, has ordered immediate measures to be taken in the two farms and surrounding areas.
Some 5,000 animals had to be slaughtered as a precautionary measure and all poultry within a radius of one kilometre of the farms must be kept indoors. Transport of poultry is banned for 21 days.