State scrambles to deal with bird flu outbreaks
The Czech Republic is the latest country in Europe to report the outbreak of bird flu. On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Marian Jurečka confirmed that the highly contagious Avian Influenza was discovered in birds at two poultry farms in South Moravia. Following tests on a dead specimen, veterinary officials confirmed that the flu strain is the highly pathogenic H5N and have ordered a safety perimeter instated around the farm.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said the outbreak of bird flu in the Czech Republic was only a question of time. Over the previous months, cases have been confirmed in most of the other central European countries, including Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany.
The head of the State Veterinary Authority Zbyněk Semerád said tests confirmed it was the highly contagious form of the disease:
Mr Semerád also said there was a ban on the sale of birds and eggs from the affected farms and farms in the 10-kilometre zone until further notice.
While the H5 strain of Avian Influenza is highly dangerous for birds, it has never caused illness in human beings. Nevertheless, hygiene officers will still test all the people who have been in contact with the infected birds.
Minister Jurečka has also appealed to poultry farmers to immediately inform the authorities in case they find dead birds:
The highly contagious strain of bird flu was last detected in the Czech Republic in 2007. More than 171,000 birds had to be culled at poultry farms and another nearly 2,000 backyard birds had to be slaughtered as a result of the outbreak. Poultry farmers received 50 million crowns from the state in compensation.