Countries in Europe and Asia are continuing to fight the spread of avian flu strains, as China confirmed the fourth human death from infection, Reuters reports.
China, South Korea and Hong Kong, along with Western European countries like France and Germany, have been trying to contain the virus since December. The newest bird flu outbreaks have been detected this week in poultry in Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Slovenia. Elsewhere, Wales and Chile have also detected bird flu in poultry stocks.
A man in China’s eastern province of Shandong has become at least the fourth person to die this winter from H7N9 bird flu, state media said on Thursday, while officials in southern Guangdong confirmed 14 cases of the virus in December. The 77-year-old man diagnosed in Shandong’s Rizhao city on Tuesday died later the same day, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Hong Kong has confirmed its third case of human bird flu in three weeks, a 62-year-old man who was in critical condition, after a second patient was confirmed to have contracted the same H7N9 strain of the disease last Friday. The first patient died from H7N9 five days earlier.
Egg prices in South Korea have skyrocketed after about 20 million birds, or 12.2% of South Korea’s poultry stock, have been culled to control the country’s bird flu outbreak. Most of the birds culled are egg-laying hens. In South Korea, the average retail price for 30 eggs has risen nearly 25% since the outbreak began on Nov 18. According to data from the institution, it is the highest month-on-month increase in egg prices in nearly a decade.
Chile has detected bird flu at a turkey production plant run by poultry producer Agrosuper in the country’s central Valparaiso region, the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) said on Wednesday. SAG said it plans to cull the affected birds and quarantine the area to prevent the infectious disease from spreading. No humans have been affected by the outbreak, it said.
Czech authorities ordered a cull of thousands of chickens and ducks around outbreaks of bird flu on two small farms in the southeast on Friday, as reports of the disease came in from across Europe.
A bird flu outbreak in Bulgaria has spread to at least 26 farms, the Agriculture Ministry said, nearly double the figure announced on Dec 30. A nationwide ban on hunting of game birds would take immediate effect and a mass cull of birds (110,000) would be launched in a bid to contain the outbreak, the ministry said in a statement.
Slovenia confirmed on Wednesday its first case of H5N8 bird flu, detected in a swan in the town of Pragersko some 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the capital Ljubljana, officials said. Farmers in the area will be required to keep their poultry indoors to prevent the spread of the virus to farm animals.
Wales will cull a flock of chicken and ducks after it found the H5N8 bird flu strain in the poultry in a village backyard in the south western county of Carmarthenshire, the Welsh chief veterinary officer said on Tuesday. A 3 km (1.86 mile) protection zone and a 10 km surveillance zone have been put in place around the infected premises in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire.
Austria has ordered its farmers to keep all poultry indoors from next week, extending measures to fight bird flu as the contagious virus spreads in neighboring European countries. Austria had already ordered individual farms near Lake Constance, which borders Switzerland and Germany and where dead wild birds had been found, to keep poultry indoors, disinfect equipment more rigorously and avoid using open pools of water.