Vets gas 31,000 turkeys to stop flu spread

Around 31,000 turkeys will be slaughtered from Thursday after a dangers strain of a flu virus was discovered in some creatures being fattened in east Germany – the first time it has been seen in Europe.

Vets gas 31,000 turkeys to stop flu spread
Photo: DPA

“This is the virus’s first hotspot and that has to be stamped out immediately,” veterinarian Holger Vogel said.

Turkeys in Heinrichswalde, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, were found to have the highly pathogenic influenza virus, H5N8, which was previously only found in Asia.

The first symptoms were spotted over the weekend, but the virus was confirmed after avian flu experts at a state veterinary research organization, the FLI, carried out tests.

The FLI will supervise the birds' slaughter. The animals are to be gassed, loaded into sealed vehicles and disposed of.

Examinations on 1,000 animals were conducted in a three-kilometre restricted area, while a ten-kilometre “observation area” was also established. Poultry within a 50-kilometre radius – the area of which reaches up to the border with Poland – may no longer be kept outside their pens.

There have been no reports of people being infected with the virus, according to the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania agricultural ministry.

SEE ALSO: Munich customs find 200 dead birds in suitcase

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