The worst outbreak of bird flu in Sweden is still continuing. Now two other facilities have been affected with poultry.
We are looking with concern at the situation, Chief Veterinarian Hakan Henrikson tells TT.
The most recent outbreaks concern a farm with 14,000 organic chickens in Linköping municipality and a flock of about 470 birds in Scurup.
All birds have been killed and the buildings involved must be cleaned.
The virus is so infectious and causes a high mortality rate that if we didn’t kill them, they’d all have died anyway. To reduce circulating viruses, we are killing them quickly, says Håkan Henrikson, the chief veterinarian at the Swedish Board of Agriculture.
Very difficult season
To date, more than 2.1 million birds have been killed during bird flu season, which Henriksson describes as the worst so far in Sweden.
And he still saw no end.
We have a very difficult season with bird flu spreading in principle to all countries in Europe. “We are looking at the situation with concern,” says Hakan Henrikson.
– We hope every time this is the last case. But we are constantly receiving new doubts every week. I don’t think it will fade until we get to spring. But if we get an early spring with heat and sun, then this is positive. If it’s cool for longer than winter, it will last longer.
Could the spring migration of wild birds exacerbate the situation?
– Yes, this is important. When they move from one area to another, they carry viruses. It can be said that wild birds are the reservoir for the full spread of infection.
It’s hard to stop
Håkan Henrikson notes that it is extremely important to distinguish between domestic and wild birds.
If you have chickens or the like, keep them in a closed place so that they do not come into contact with wild birds at all. However, air circulation cannot be stopped in ventilation systems. There is nothing that catches viruses, and there are no filters that can do this. This is why we catch viruses in flocks and do not have a vaccine for this disease.
The volcanic eruption in Östreutland is the northernmost part of this season.
Of course there is a risk of it coming further north, but at the same time we have the majority of Swedish poultry south of Stockholm, says Henriksson.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture urges animal owners across the country to pay attention and contact a veterinarian if poultry shows increased mortality, decreased feed and water consumption, decreased egg production or decreased general condition.
According to the National Food Administration, despite bird flu, there are no risks for people to eat chicken or eggs.