BELGIUM - Poultry farmers have been called on to confine their birds after the third outbreak of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza was announced in neighbouring the Netherlands.
On 21 November, Belgium ordered its commercial poultry farmers to confine their birds as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of bird flu virus affecting neighbouring the Netherlands, reports La Libre.
This "precautionary measure" imposes "a mandatory confinement for all poultry breeders professionals throughout Belgium because of the third outbreak of bird flu discovered in the Netherlands and the likely role of wild birds in the spread virus," said the Federal Agency for Food Chain Safety (AFSCA) in a statement.
This measure had been introduced for professional poultry farms in areas adjacent to natural areas of high density of wild birds because migratory are the vector of the new H5N8 strain of the virus, which is "highly pathogenic" for birds but carries a very low risk to humans.
AFSCA added that this confinement is also highly recommended to hobby poultry farmers, who should either keep the birds inside or cover outdoor runs with nets to prevent contact with wild birds.
Other precautionary measures include feeding the animals inside, not allowing the birds access to to water from open water bodies and disinfecting vehicles transporting poultry or eggs if they have travelled from a high-risk area.
AFSCA also stated that any vehicle, person or object that has been in contact with poultry or visited the high-risk area of Germany or anywhere in the Netherlands or the UK within the previous four days should not be allowed onto poultry farms, according to La Libre.
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