Minister: Lääne-Viru County avian flu outbreak under control

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Rural affairs minister Urmas Kruuse (Reform). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse (Reform) said that while a case of avian flu found at a Lääne-Viru County farm Friday is cause for concern, the situation is already under control, and the outbreak is on the way to being eradicated.

The Agriculture and Food Board (Põllumajandus- ja Toiduamet) is on site at the Telo Talu farm, with infected birds to be destroyed.

Kruuse said: "It is vital that the virus does not spread, so in addition to eradicating the outbreak, surrounding poultry farmers will also be mapped, to inform them of the case and of the restrictions on keeping birds."

Poultry farmers are also invited to a meeting online on Monday, where an overview of bird flu and the recent case will be presented, Kruuse said.

Bird flu symptoms primarily see swelling in birds, loss of appetite, drowsiness and a drop in egg production.

Particularly deadly strain found

The strain detected, H5N8 is reportedly particularly deadly for birds, including poultry, though is not a danger to humans.

The farm in question housed over 70 poultry birds on the outbreak of the virus, whose signs were first noticed Wednesday; the livestock will be destroyed, while no poultry can now be brought in or out of the farm, BNS reports, while human movement is also restricted.

Restrictions are also to be in place in a 10-km radius around Telo, in the Haljala, Viru-Nigula and Rakvere municipalities, with individual farms in that zone to be assessed by officials as well.

Nationwide, poultry birds should be kept indoors, i.e. in a barn etc., to minimize the likelihood of contact with wild birds, which can be a vector for the illness.

Unauthorized persons are barred from handling the birds, and hygiene requirements include a regular change of shoes as well as handwashing.

Members of the public who happen upon the carcasses of recently deceased waterfowl, birds of prey or other larger birds, or large numbers of dead, wild birds of any kind, should contact the board on +372 605 4767. The same applies to poultry farmers noticing potential symptoms etc., while a special certificate is required for the import of birds and their eggs.

Compensation is available to affected farmers, BNS reports,

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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