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EU steps up surveillance for bird flu

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, European Union nations move to increase surveillance for possible outbreaks of avian influenza among wild and domestic birds.

1 October 2020, at 9:45am

According to reporting in Reuters, EU health agencies have issued a report highlighting the risk of bird flu outbreaks.

The disease is highly contagious for birds, but risks of transmission to humans are considered low. The new report was issued as the continent battles a new spike of coronavirus infections.

"EU countries are being urged to step up surveillance and biosecurity measures to guard against possible new outbreaks of avian influenza this year," the report said.

The warning follows outbreaks over the past few months among wild and domestic birds in western Russia and Kazakhstan, which are on the autumn migration route for wild water birds heading to Europe.

Transmission to humans is rare but has occurred in the past and can lead to death.

"The risk of transmission of avian influenza viruses to the general public in Europe remains very low," the report added.

"However, to minimise the risk of transmission to humans, people are advised not to not touch dead birds without wearing appropriate personal protective equipment."

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