Again suspected bird flu cases in Lower Saxony

Again suspected bird flu cases in Lower Saxony

Suspected bird flu in the Emsland district - security measures initiated
21.12.2014

The fight against bird flu continues in Lower Saxony. The first easing of the security measures was announced for January 2015, after no new cases were discovered in any of the other samples examined until Thursday. However, the authorities continue to work intensively to identify potential outbreaks of epidemics. "Several thousand samples taken from the Cloppenburg district from the restriction area as well as from identified contact companies are examined in the State Office for Consumer Protection and Food", said the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. In the district of Emsland, self-monitoring tests have now led to suspicions of bird flu.

So far, the result has been available for more than 1,000 samples and this is negative in all cases, reports the Lower Saxony Minister of Agriculture Christian Meyer (Greens). This gives "hope to limit the epidemic, but is no reason to give the all-clear," said the minister on Thursday. The so-called Stand Still continues to apply in the districts of Cloppenburg, Ammerland and Leer. "Birds kept in this area must not be brought into or from a stock," reports the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. An exception only applies to day-old chicks. According to the ministry, they may "be moved from a hatchery within the Stand Still area to a stock outside this zone." On Friday, the ministry reported further suspected bird flu cases in the Emsland district.

Security measures in the district of Cloppenburg The district of Cloppenburg, in turn, has imposed a so-called re-allocation ban for poultry houses within a certain area until January 18, 2015, in order to thin out the high population density and thus prevent further spread of epidemics, reports the Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture and consumer protection. The district also reports that “90,000 small and large chickens were killed and harmlessly removed within a 1 km radius of the disease on Friday”. There are currently no other suspected cases of bird flu in the Cloppenburg district.

New suspected cases in the Emsland Meanwhile, control examinations for bird flu in the Emsland district of two ducks found a "suspicious result of the bird flu virus H5", reports the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. According to the official announcement, the self-examination in a breeding and fattening farm for ducks in the Emsland district showed the detection of the avian influenza virus H5 using the so-called PCR method. The samples were immediately sent to the State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES) in Oldenburg for testing, and a test was carried out in parallel in the national reference laboratory of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) on the island of Riems. "The district of Emsland has blocked the affected business and is immediately examining further measures," said the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture.

120,000 animals have already been killed The managing director of the Lower Saxony Poultry Industry, Dieter Oltmann, is quoted by the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ) as saying that the industry, "if it stays that way and we get away with it, was very lucky". But the new suspected cases stir up doubts as to whether the state with the largest poultry populations in Germany has already weathered the crisis. According to Oltmann, a major event would “cause great damage.” Extensive security measures are therefore still necessary. Lower Saxony's Minister of Agriculture Christian emphasized in this regard: "We will do everything we can to prevent bird flu from spreading any further." He hopes that no more animals will have to be killed for this. "In total, around 120,000 animals have been killed," the Ministry of Agriculture said. (fp)

Image: Clarissa Schwarz / pixelio.de

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