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Germany introduces bird flu test for ducks & geese
Culture & Life

Germany introduces bird flu test for ducks & geese

23.12.2014 From our online archive
Germany said it would start testing ducks and geese for bird flu prior to slaughter, after two cases of the highly infectious H5N8 strain were detected in a week
Swans, geese and ducks waddle in the bird shelter in Delft, Netherlands on December 27, 2009. Due to the snow and freezing cold more birds are sick and wounded than normal in the shelter, particularly waterbirds such as ducks and swans due to the extreme weather. AFP/ANP /MARTEN VAN DIJL netherlands out - belgium out (Photo credit should read Marten van Dijl/AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP) Germany said it would start testing  ducks and geese for bird flu prior to slaughter, after two cases of the highly infectious H5N8 strain were detected in a week.

The emergency procedure, which will take effect Tuesday, requires all duck and geese farmers across Germany to have their animals tested for bird flu before being transported, the agriculture ministry said.

"The animals can only be transported and slaughtered in the case of a negative test result," the ministry said in a written statement.

It said the test must be carried out no more than seven days before transport.

Unlike turkeys and chickens, ducks and geese display no symptoms when they are infected with H5N8.

This creates a risk that infected animals are taken for slaughter, spreading the infection via contact with the vehicle or people.

"This measure is for the protection of our animal populations," Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said in the statement.

The measure, which comes into force at midnight, applies across Germany until the end of March.

In the last week, two cases of bird flu have been found at different farms in Lower Saxony state.

"There was no contact between the two farms," the ministry said, adding that experts assumed that migratory birds had likely spread the virus.

Some strains of avian influenza are fatal for birds, and pose a health threat to humans, who can fall sick after handling infected poultry.

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