Czech Republic reports first H5N8 bird flu case in three years

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PRAGUE: The Czech Republic has its first case of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus in three years after an outbreak was reported on a poultry farm in the country’s central region, the State Veterinary Administration said on Saturday.

The veterinary agency said the virus killed half of a flock of 12 hens, which was confirmed by tests, and that it had taken precautionary measures immediately.

On January 15, the second outbreak of bird flu has been found at a large duck farm in eastern Hungary, the National Food Chain Safety Authority (NEBIH) said on Wednesday, two days after the first such case in the country in years.

The bird flu has spread in recent days in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary. It is a highly pathogenic strain of the virus that reappeared in Poland in early January.

Hungary’s NEBIH said the full duck stock at the farm, 115,000 birds, was being culled on suspicion of the virus, after the destruction of more than 50,000 turkeys earlier this week to contain the spread of the infection.

It said the virus is probably spreading as wild birds migrate and contaminate waterways used by farm birds.

The authority said that this strand of the virus was similar to one in an outbreak in 2016 in Hungary. It said poultry products in Hungary were safe to consume.

Hungary will also restrict transport to contain the virus, the authority said earlier this week, adding that the H5N8 strain had so far caused no human infections in Europe.

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