Danish authorities to cull 20,000 ducks to halt spread of bird flu

Current strain is not particularly dangerous, but it could open the door to one that kills all birds it infects

The Fødevarestyrelsen national food agency has recommended that 20,000 ducks should be killed to halt the spread of a strain of bird flu near Holstebro in northwest Jutland.

The H5 strain is low-pathogenic (LPAI), which means it is not considered particularly dangerous to the birds, and most cases do not result in death.

However, it is extremely contagious and could lead to the development of a high-pathogenic (HPAI) strain that will kill every bird it infects, warn experts.

Kill them all
The 20,000 birds in question are not displaying signs they are ill, concedes Stig Mellergaard, a chief veterinarian at Fødevarestyrelsen. But he is adamant the cull is necessary.

“It is important we find all the affected birds – even if they aren’t showing any signs they have the disease,” he said.

“In this way we can take precautions and ensure that as few birds as possible become infected, thus slowing down the disease before it develops and becomes highly pathogenic.”

A zone has accordingly been placed around the birds to prevent any further spread of the disease.