Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses found in laying hens in the Emsland
The highly contagious bird flu virus H7N7 was found in a layer of laying hens in Emsland. According to a message from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the approximately 10,000 laying hens in the company had to be "killed in accordance with animal welfare". Through close contact with sick or dead birds as well as their products or excretions, people can also become infected with the pathogen. Direct contact with infected animals should therefore be avoided at all costs, reports the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture.
During self-checks by the laying hen farm in Emsland, bird flu was suspected. This has now been confirmed by official samples from the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES). Furthermore, investigations in the national reference laboratory of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) on the island of Riems showed that the pathogens can be assigned to the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza (HPAI) with the subtype H7N7.
Comprehensive security measures initiated
On the basis of the official results of the investigation, according to a communication from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture, "all necessary measures to combat animal diseases in accordance with European and federal regulations were determined by the Emsland district." In addition, the authorities declared the area with a radius of ten kilometers around the outbreak site to be the observation area. "Poultry must not be brought into or out of these areas," reports the Ministry of Agriculture. In addition to the 10,000 animals from the farm concerned, the herd was also killed within a radius of one kilometer "in accordance with animal welfare - in this case around 60 animals from two animal husbandries", the ministry continues.
Already 50 million infected animals in the United States this year
The authorities have launched further epidemiological investigations to determine the cause of bird flu infections and other contact companies. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the security measure could be revoked if there is no new case within 30 days of cleaning and disinfecting the farm. Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza strains have been observed worldwide for years. This year, with almost 50 million animals affected, the United States in particular has been affected by severe HPAI cases, reports the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. In Lower Saxony, the last outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (type H5N8) occurred in December 2014 in the Cloppenburg district and in the Emsland district. Less contagious forms of bird flu were found in March and June this year in the Cuxhaven and Emsland districts. (fp)