Danish authorities keeping a close watch on avian flu outbreaks

Efforts underway to prevent the deadly illness from taking hold here

The Danish food and health authorities, Fødevarestyrelsen, are keeping a close watch on a virulent form of avian flu that has struck a poultry farm in the Netherlands.

“Caution demands we take this situation very seriously,” Sten Mortensen, a head veterinarian at Fødevarestyrelsen, told Jyllands-Posten.

Authorities are checking eggs and other products that have been imported from the Netherlands.

“We are examining what we have imported from the Netherlands, including birds that could wind up in Danish poultry flocks,” said Mortensen. “Live birds, hatching eggs and also transport methods.”

Transport banned
Following the discovery of the outbreak on Sunday, the Dutch authorities banned all transport to and from chicken farms across the country for at least 72 hours.

“We do not know exactly how many farmers are affected, but there are chickens that were scheduled to be shipped to the Netherlands for slaughter,” Mie Nielsen Blom from the Danish agriculture and food authority told Jyllands-Posten. “If the ban continues, there could be problems getting them slaughtered."

The infected farm is located in Hekendorp in the centre of the country and mostly distributes its eggs locally.

There was a major outbreak of bird flu in the Netherlands in 2003 resulting in the death of one veterinarian. One third of the production in the country had to be destroyed. 

Also in England and Egypt
Dutch poultry farms annually sell more than six billion eggs abroad. They are also among the largest exporters of poultry in the EU.

A form of the H5N1 Avian flu virus not known to be dangerous to humans has also been found on a farm in Yorkshire in northern England. 

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities confirm that a 19-year-old woman has died after contracting a deadly form of the virus from an infected bird. Seven people have contracted avian flu in Egypt over the past year, resulting in two deaths so far.

READ MORE: Up to 12,000 Danes could be carrying MRSA

The European Commission said that it will publish measures to contain the outbreak.





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