Panic: Mass duck slaughter reported in Europe

Panic: Mass duck slaughter reported in Europe

Dutch officials have scrambled to stop a disease outbreak, killing tens of thousands of ducks in the process.

Dutch officials are scrambling to deal with a sudden outbreak of bird flu that is highly infectious, killing 190,000 ducks at a central Netherlands farm where the flu was discovered. The farm, located in Biddinghuizen west of Amsterdam, lost its flock of ducks, as did some local farms nearby in a bid to stop the flu before it could spread further.

In addition, authorities banned poultry from within a 10 kilometer radius of the epicenter. Tests found an H5N8 variant of the disease, which is very infection and kills 30 percent of birds that are infected. Fortunately, it hasn’t been shown to be dangerous to humans yet.

As a precaution, Netherlands shut down petting zoos and banned duck hunting recently in a bid to stem the outbreak, which has been blamed on a huge amount of poultry deaths, as well as the deaths of many wild birds in the country.

A recent statement from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) states: “Eight European countries have reported highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N8) viruses in wild birds, zoo birds and poultry holdings. This is the second time this virus has been introduced into Europe via the autumn migration of wild birds although A(H5N8) has been circulating continuously in Asia since 2010. Full genome sequencing of recent HPAI A(H5N8) viruses suggest that these viruses remain essentially bird viruses without any specific increased risk for humans. No human infections with this virus have ever been reported world-wide. ECDC’s updated rapid risk assessment concludes that the risk of transmission to the general public in Europe is considered to be very low.”

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