Bulgaria to cull over 160,000 ducks after bird flu outbreak

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SOFIA, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Bulgaria will cull more than 160,000 ducks after an outbreak of bird flu on two duck farms, veterinary officials said on Saturday.

The outbreak occurred at two farms of the same owner in the town of Slaviyanovo, where the disease was reported at a farm with more than 99,000 laying hens this week.

The Food Safety Agency said there was no technological link between the duck farms and the hen farm and appealed to farmers in the region to keep their flocks and backyard birds indoors.

“We will be slaughtering the ducks and continue with slaughtering the hens,” said Ivan Yordanov, head of the regional unit of the Food Safety Agency. “This is worrying, these are large economic losses,” he told national BNR radio.

A series of outbreaks of bird flu have been reported in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in recent months with wild birds suspected to be spreading the disease.

Risk to humans from the disease is considered low, but past outbreaks among farm birds have resulted in extensive culling to contain the spread. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Jason Neely)

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