Tests confirmed the H5N1 type of bird flu virus in poultry at two farms in the eastern Czech Republic, the State Veterinary Authority (SVS) said on Thursday July 12. The virus was found at farms with 71,000 poultry, bringing the number of outbreaks at Czech farms to four.
Vets were preparing to cull all of the birds, spokesman Josef Duben said. “It was H5N1, we had expected that and taken standard protective measures,” he added.
The Czechs found their first bird flu case, which involved the lethal H5N1 strain, at a turkey farm in the eastern part of the country in June. The two farms where disease was reported on Wednesday are within a 3-kilometres (1.9-mile) protective zone around another farm where H5N1 had been found. Vets have extended the standard 3-kilometres protection zone and 10-kilometres surveillance zone to include the two farms.
Following consultations with the European Commission, vets decided to cull an additional 68,000 birds at three more farms in the nearby area to prevent any further spread of the virus despite finding no traces of the disease there, the biggest newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes reported in its online edition.
Czech supermarket chains have said consumers showed few sign of shunning poultry. Czech output stagnated at 320,000 tonnes of poultry in 2006 on consumer concerns over the spread of the infection within the European Union. Exports rose by nearly 10% to 40,000 tonnes last year, according to the farm ministry’s statistics.
More than 30 countries have reported bird flu outbreaks in the past year, mostly in wild birds.
Since late June, Germany has reported the H5N1 virus in dozens of wild birds and in a pet goose.
Globally, H5N1 has killed nearly 200 people out of more than 300 known cases, according to the World Health Organisation. None of the victims were from Europe.