New bird flu strain spreading to Europe threatens poultry sector

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Surveillance systems to detect virus outbreaks include laboratory testing. FAO

A new bird flu strain detected in Europe poses a significant threat to the poultry sector, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The UN agency said that low-resourced countries situated along the Black Sea and East Atlantic migratory routes of wild birds, are likely to be hardest hit.

Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have confirmed the new avian influenza virus strain H5N8 on poultry farms.

German authorities have also found the virus in a wild bird.

H5N8 has so far not been confirmed to infect people.

However, it is highly infectious for domestic poultry and can lead to what FAO described as "significant mortality" in chickens and turkeys.

The agency warned that the virus could spread with "devastating effects" in countries with limited veterinary preparedness.

It added that the new virus strain provides a "stark reminder to the world" that avian influenza viruses continue to evolve and emerge with potential threats to public health, food security and nutrition.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations

Duration:  1’07″

 

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