polish-bird-flu-outbreak-spreads,-with-four-more-cases

Polish bird flu outbreak spreads, with four more cases

Health

WARSAW (Reuters) – Four more outbreaks of bird flu have been reported across Poland, authorities said on Friday, bringing the total number of incidents in Europe’s largest poultry producer to six this week.

Outbreaks were confirmed in Wolka Orlowska and Olchowiec Kolonia, both in the Lubelskie region of Poland, a spokesman for the governor of the Lubelskie region said on Twitter.

Another outbreak of the H5N8 strain reported on Friday was in the eastern Lubelskie region at a farm about 500 meters from where two cases in turkeys were confirmed this week.

Until then Poland had not had an outbreak of bird flu since 2017.

An outbreak of the H5N8 strain was also confirmed on a chicken farm in Przygodzice, in the western Wielkopolskie region, Poland’s General Veterinary Inspectorate said in a statement.

60,000 birds are expected to be gassed in Lubelskie region, regional veterinary officer Pawel Piotrowski told Reuters on Friday. 40,000 have already died as a result of the flu, he added.

He said around 100,000 birds could be affected in Lubelskie and there was a big risk of the virus spreading in the area as there were a lot of poultry farms close together.

“The area has been secured against people coming in who shouldn’t be there… we are focusing on cleaning the enclosures where birds have been affected,” he said.

Local authorities said in a statement on Tuesday that the virus was a subtype of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu that can also pose risks to humans.

Piotrowski said that while a danger to humans could not be completely ruled out, the risk of the infection was much lower than for birds for whom it can be deadly.

Reporting by Alan Charlish, Alicja Ptak, Joanna Plucinska and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens