Suspected bird flu in turkey fattening

The H5 influenza virus was detected Monday in poultry on a farm in Camp Linfort. 44,500 animals must be killed. What breeders and hobbyists need to know now.

In the province of Wesel, there is again a suspected outbreak of avian influenza in domestic poultry. After the infectious disease caused by viruses was already discovered on a farm in Hamminklen in December, the focus is now on a turkey fattening farm in Camp Linfort. On Tuesday, the Wesel region announced that the H5 influenza virus had been found there on Monday.

What exactly is bird flu? Avian influenza, as the disease is also colloquially known, is an infectious disease caused by a virus that hosts its natural reservoir in wild waterfowl. The virus occurs in many subtypes of varying severity. According to the current state of knowledge, the current subspecies is harmless to humans. Infected birds usually shed the virus in their feces. The infection is transmitted through direct contact between birds and ingestion of a substance containing the virus. The virus can be spread among poultry flocks by the pet trade and, where hygiene is lacking, by people, objects and vehicles.

How was the virus diagnosed? A poultry farmer called his vet on Saturday after noticing an unusually large number of turkeys had died in one of his pens. After examining the animals, the farm vet immediately notified the duty vet from the Veterinary and Food Inspection Service. Samples were taken for a rapid test in a private lab Saturday evening, official large-scale samples during Sunday. Rapid test results were available on Sunday afternoon. Relevant official samples were examined Monday morning at the Office of Chemical and Veterinary Investigations Responsible Ryan Rohr Weber (CVUA-RRW) in Krefeld. The official results confirmed this afternoon, Monday, the clinical suspicion of infection with type H5 influenza. The most detailed differentiation takes place at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute. Results are expected by the end of the week. It should be assumed that a highly pathogenic form of bird flu is present again, says Antonius Dickey, chief of the Wesel County Veterinary Office: “We suspect the virus was introduced from wild birds in the adjacent nature reserve.”

What to do now? 44,500 animals must be killed on the Kamp-Lintfort turkey fattening farm. For this purpose, gas is used in the barn by two specialized companies. In addition, a restricted area with a total radius of at least ten kilometers will be established around the company. It consists of an internal protection zone with a radius of at least three kilometers and an external control zone. Due to the location directly on the district border, the districts are roughly evenly distributed between the districts of Cleve and Wesel. There is also a small area in the Viersen district. The map can be found at Geoportal-Niederrhein.de. Procedures have been organized in the company from Saturday evening, so that the killing and disposal of turkeys can begin on Monday afternoon as soon as the official result comes out. The county assumes that the stables will be empty by Wednesday morning at the latest and that the first cleaning and disinfection measures will have been completed to the extent that the company does not pose a threat to other animal husbandry. The owner is compensated for the animals killed by the Animal Disease Trust and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

What should affected companies in the restricted area consider? The most detailed description of the restricted area comes from the province’s general ordinance, which went into effect Tuesday, April 12 midnight. Within the exclusion zone there are about 279 commercial and hobby poultry farms with a total of about 87,000 animals in the Wesel region. There are restrictions on the marketing of poultry and poultry products to poultry farmers within the exclusion zone. Poultry stocks in the restricted area that have not yet been reported to the Animal Disease Fund must now be reported to the Wesel region, in addition, changes to the stock must be accurately documented.

What do you do in case of suspicion? The district also requires all poultry farmers to consult a veterinarian and to contact the veterinary office in the event of symptoms of illness or an increase in mortality among their animals. Suspected cases of avian influenza can be reported by email at VET.LM@kreis-wesel.de or by phone at 0281207 7007.

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