New case of high risk bird flu found in Germany prompts 16,000 turkey cull

Cloppenburg, in the state of Lower Saxony, in Germany
Cloppenburg, in the state of Lower Saxony, in Germany

A case of high risk H5N8 bird flu has been confirmed in the German state of Lower Saxony and about 16,000 turkeys have been culled, authorities say.

Some 16,000 turkeys had been ordered killed in a farm on the outside of Cloppenburg as a precaution, it was confirmed the flu was of the H5 strain. A prohibited zone has been set up with a radius of at least 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) around the farm and further birds within one kilometer may also have to be killed.

"Due to the new risk situation, we have immediately decided that poultry must be kept in their sheds, however, exceptions are possible in some individual cases," Environment Minister for Saxony-Anhalt Claudia Dalbert said.

Last Friday (18 November), following the discovery of cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in several European countries, France decided to raise the level of risk of disease from "negligible" to "moderate".

So far, most cases of the contagious strain of flu have been found in wild birds, but there have been outbreaks on farms in Austria, Denmark, Hungary and elsewhere in northern Germany.

British bird keepers have been urged to remain alert for any signs of the disease, and have been told by the government to immediately contact local vets if they suspect birds have avian influenza.