November 28, 2014


Germany orders new precaution against bird flu


After a wild duck was found infected with avian influenza, Germany's federal and state authorities have ordered that farm poultry in regions with high risk of contact with migrating wild birds be kept inside farm buildings as a precautionary measure.


Germany's poultry industry remains on alert following the outbreak of H5N8 bird flu strain on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in eastern Germany on November 4.


Denmark, meanwhile, has imposed strict border biosecurity as it battles to keep the country's pigs free from African swine fever and other major pig diseases, putting in place a pathogen-free system that covers over 3,000 pig herds in the country and 75% of the sows.


In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the order was to keep all poultry inside farm buildings regardless of whether or not they have a high risk of contact with migrating birds.


Migrating birds are being pinpointed as possible source for the bird flu infections, which have also affected several farms in the Netherland and Britain.


Free-range farming methods introduced in recent years have increased the risk of farm poultry contracting diseases from wild birds.


Bird flu outbreaks in Netherlands, Britain


Last week at least three outbreaks were recorded in the Netherlands, Europe's biggest egg and poultry exporter. At least 25,000 chickens and ducks were slaughtered on the infected farms, according to an Associated Press report. 


Also last week, an outbreak of H5N8 bird flu hit a duck breeding farm in northern England and around 6,000 ducks had to be culled.


The outbreaks in the Netherlands and Britain caused Sweden to take on the precautionary measure of ordering farmers to keep their hens and other poultry indoors.


The Swedish Board of Agriculture said the bird flu outbreaks could have been spread by wild birds and that "the risk to Swedish poultry is considered higher." 


Denmark's fight vs pig diseases


In Denmark the pathogen-free system, called the SPF system because it was developed by SPF-Danmark, covers the seven core diseases afflicting pigs: mange, lice, swine dysentery, atrophic rhinitis, pleuropneumonia, enzootic pneumonia and PRRS.


However, the biosecurity measures being taken also monitor other pig diseases that Denmark has not seen for many years such as classical swine fever, African swine fever and foot and mouth disease.


Denmark exported 2.5 million weaners to Poland last year. It had 244 transport journeys to Russia and 143 to Lithuania, which are considered centres for African swine fever.