German researchers say Europe has worst-ever avian bird flu epidemic

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Berlin (dpa) – Europe is experiencing its worst-ever bird flu outbreak, according to a German government research institute.

“We are currently experiencing the strongest avian flu epidemic ever in Germany and Europe,” the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI), Germany’s Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, told dpa.

New cases are detected daily and it is not only wild birds being affected, according to the institute.

“There is no end in sight – the countries affected range from Finland to the Faroe Islands to Ireland, from Russia to Portugal,” according to researchers. Cases have also been found in Canada, India and East Asia.

In Germany alone, 394 infections have been recorded in wild birds including ducks, geese, swans and seagulls between the start of October and December 29. The cases were detected primarily along the coast.

FLI also recorded 46 infections at German poultry farms.

In the same timeframe across Europe, the FLI data showed 675 infections in wild birds and 534 infections in livestock.

There were also additional cases in mammals this year, for example among red foxes in the Netherlands and Finland, grey seals in Sweden, harbour seals in Germany and otters in Finland.

Dpa

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