EU warns about possible avian flu outbreaks, amid coronavirus pandemic

An official inspects a crate of ducks during a cull at a duck farm in Nafferton, northern England. (File photo: Reuters)

European Union nations should step up surveillance against possible outbreaks of avian flu among wild and domestic birds, the EU said on Wednesday.

The disease is highly contagious for birds, but risks of transmission to humans are considered low, EU health and food agencies said in a report published as the continent battles a new spike of coronavirus infections.

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“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.

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

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

“However, to minimize 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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Last Update: Wednesday, 30 September 2020 KSA 16:26 - GMT 13:26
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