Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trade bans follow avian flu outbreak

Nations around the world are imposing trading bans in the wake of the discovery of H5N8 strain of avian influenza in a flock of laying hens in the Netherlands.

The flock of about 150,000 has been slaughtered and a 10-kilometre quarantine zone has been established.

South Korea, Macedonia and parts of China have joined the list of nations that have banned the import of all poultry products from the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany following the reports of various strains of bird in recent weeks.

Officials in Sweden today also ordered farmers to keep hens and other poultry indoors as a precautionary measure.

The goal is to contain the spread of the virus and the ban in South Korea even asks potential visitors who travel to Europe not to have contact with farm animals or bring any poultry from the affected countries back into South Korea.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is urging countries to be “vigilant” in monitoring their poultry flocks, culling sick birds and monitoring fever in humans who may have been in contact with affected poultry to prevent the spread of the virus to humans.

WHO officials said the virus most likely spread to Europe from Asia through wild migratory birds.
WHO also said that because of the rapid spread of H5N8, human cases “probably” will eventually be detected.

The H5 component of the strain has killed more than 400 people — mostly in southeast Asia — since 2003, the WHO said.