Bird flu: county orders increased security measures

After animals tested positive for the bird flu virus at two poultry farms in Waldeck-Frankenberg and all 130 animals had to be euthanized as a result, the district has issued a general order to protect the bird and poultry population in Waldeck-Frankenberg. The order comes into force on December 13 and regulates further protective measures.

A surveillance zone with a radius of ten kilometers and a protection zone with a radius of three kilometers have been drawn around the plant in Schmittlotheim. Within the surveillance zone, the detailed provisions of the general order apply to keepers as of tomorrow - among other things: They must declare the number of their animals to the district and report if they fall ill or die. Any symptoms of disease must also be reported. Furthermore, they are required to implement enhanced biosecurity and hygiene measures and keep records of which people enter the stables and when. Stricter regulations also apply to the disposal of deceased animals and the transport of animals and products in this area. Likewise, no animals or products from poultry may be brought into or out of the surveillance zone without notifying the Food Control, Animal Welfare and Veterinary Service. In the surveillance zone, it is also recommended that animals be kept indoors.

In the protection zone in the even narrower three-kilometer radius, further regulations apply in addition to the provisions in the surveillance zone - including, for example, compulsory housing for the animals and ensuring that domestic poultry may not come into contact with other flocks or wild birds under any circumstances. In addition, tightened biosecurity and hygiene measures also apply here once again to prevent the spread of the disease as far as possible. "Basically, we call on all keepers of birds and poultry to take a detailed look at the provisions of the general decree in order to determine which exact regulations apply to their own keeping," says the head of the specialist service for food monitoring, animal welfare and veterinary affairs, Dr. Anke Zwolinski. If you have any questions, the service is also available to all keepers as a contact on tel. 06451 - 743 753.

Around the affected farm in Haubern, the district was able to dispense with a general order in this form, because according to EU law, after an outbreak in a private micro holding, as was the case there, restrictions of this kind may be waived. However, poultry keepers in the area are also advised to keep a close eye on their animals and to be particularly vigilant for symptoms of disease.

Cases such as the current ones in Waldeck-Frankenberg or in the autumn in the district of Giessen, where 8,500 animals had to be killed, show that bird flu is again present throughout Germany this year and poses a serious threat to the bird and poultry population. In addition to the risk of infection at poultry shows, as has most likely occurred with the current cases, infected wild birds in particular pose an increased risk of infection. In order to minimize the risk of outbreaks in poultry flocks, the county's Food Control, Animal Welfare and Veterinary Department is therefore once again appealing to all poultry keepers throughout the county to strictly adhere to - and, if necessary, optimize - the biosecurity measures in place to protect against the introduction of the virus. In addition, all poultry keepers who have failed to do so so far should immediately register with the Food Control, Animal Welfare and Veterinary Service - regardless of how many animals they own. They must also be registered with the Hessian Animal Disease Fund.

Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a severe form of avian influenza (AI) in poultry and other birds. The highly contagious virus is very easily transmitted, so it can spread rapidly over large areas. Sick animals excrete the pathogen with feces, mucus, or fluids from the beak and eyes. In direct contact, other animals become infected by inhaling or picking up virus-containing material. Furthermore, transmission can also occur through contaminated objects such as vehicles, equipment, shoe soles or packaging material. So far, avian influenza cannot be treated.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, there are no known human cases of AI virus in Germany. Nevertheless, as with all other dead animals, contact with sick or dead wild birds should be avoided and their discovery reported to the district so that they can be recovered and examined as quickly as possible. Dead animals of your own flock should also be stored in such a way that other animals do not have contact with the carcasses until they are picked up by the rendering service. If several animals of the own herd fall ill or die, this must also be reported to the district.