Three poultry farms northwest of Warsaw were cordoned off after the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was found in turkeys, officials said on Saturday December 1. There are plans to cull 4,000 birds. The cases were found at farms around the village of Brudzen near the city of Plock, Poland’s chief veterinary officer Ewa Lech said on television.
Lech said the virus was most likely brought to Poland by migrating ducks, geese or swans and an area within a 3-kilometres radius of the outbreak had been cordoned off.
“Areas of contamination and danger have been marked off,” said Plock crisis management official Hilary Januszczyk. “The area is being constantly monitored by veterinary officials and the police.”
The virus has caused more than 200 deaths in humans globally since 2003, according to World Heath Organisation data.
Most people who have caught bird flu have had direct or indirect contact with infected fowl but experts fear the constantly mutating virus could change into a form easily transmitted from person to person.
Poland’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus won the approval of the European Commission.
“The Polish authorities notified us in the middle of the night about a strong suspicion of bird flu,” European Commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich told Reuters.
“We have been in contact with them since then, they are now taking the appropriate measures.”
Bird flu was discovered in Poland in early 2006, in wild swans, near the city of Torun.
“There is no cause for alarm,” Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said on television. “I am in touch with the interior and health ministers as well as veterinary officials in charge. This is not the kind of threat we had several years ago.”