Avian flu detected on farm in Rapla County
According to the Estonian Agriculture and Food Board (PTA), avian influenza has been detected in birds at Rehe Farm in the village of Urge, Rapla County. Restrictions have been imposed on the movement of birds, people and vehicles in the area to reduce the potential spread of the virus.
According to Anne-Ly Veetamm, a senior specialist at the Animal Health and Welfare Department of the Estonian Agriculture and Food Board (PTA), the highly contagious H5N1 strain of avian influenza, which can be deadly for birds, has detected on the farm.
"Restrictions have now been placed on the poultry farm, where around 130 birds are kept. All the birds will be culled and the entire premises cleaned and disinfected," said Veetamm.
No birds are allowed to leave or enter the aviary on Rehe Farm, while the movement of people and transport in the area is also subject to restrictions until the outbreak has been eradicated.
Bird keepers in the surrounding area will be informed of the situation and also be subject to restrictions. According to the PTA, there are 30 buildings within a 10-kilometer radius of the farm, all of which will be kept under observation and subject to restrictions in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
Each farm in the area will be assessed by a surveillance officer, while instructions regarding how to proceed will be provided to local farmers on an individual basis.
"We ask these farmers to keep their birds indoors and to avoid all contact with waterfowl, wild birds or unauthorized persons," said Veetamm.
The H5N1 strain of avian influenza, or bird flu, is currently spreading throughout Europe and the U.S.
The virus is highly infectious among birds. While it does not usually affect humans, recently some isolated cases have been detected.
To curb the spread of the virus, farmers must ensure their poultry do not come into contact with wild birds, which may be infected even without visibly displaying symptoms.
To this end, netting, roofing or other such containment facilities must be used where possible, and feeding should take place indoors or under shelter.
Introducing wild birds into places where poultry or other farmed birds are kept at the same time is prohibited. In the event of an outbreak, quarantine are imposed to prevent the virus spreading further, while birds in which the virus is detected as well as those suspected of having contracted the disease are destroyed.
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Editor: Michael Cole