GERMANY - The state of Lower Saxony has confirmed no new cases of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry although some disease security measures remain in place as the virus has been detected in seagulls away from domestic poultry.
There has been a collective sigh of relief in the districts of Emsland and Cloppenburg, where outbreaks of avian flu have occurred recently, reports the Lower Saxony agriculture ministry.
The reason is that total restrictions in the protection zone in Cloppenburg have been lifted as no sign of the virus has been detected recently, and it has become a surveillance zone, with some transport rules relaxed.
In Emsland, sampling aimed at achieving a similar status were scheduled to start on 13 January. If they also prove negative, the restriction zone will be lifted there too.
The national reference lab at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) has confirmed the detection of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in a dead seagull from Greetsiel in the district of Aurich. There are no domestic poultry within a three-kilometre radius and so further control measures are not required.
Nevertheless, the state's agriculture minister has called on all poultry keepers in Lower Saxony to remain on alert for signs of the infection and to maintain high levels of biosecurity.
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