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New bird flu outbreaks hit Europe

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 02:09

Dutch authorities have found a highly contagious strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in the central Netherlands and set about destroying 150,000 chickens. As Hayley Platt reports the strain, H5N8, has never been detected in humans, but an outbreak in South Korea meant millions of farm birds had to be slaughtered to contain the outbreak.

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It's the world's largest egg exporter and the discovery of a highly contagious form of bird flu at this farm in the Netherlands has prompted swift action. 150,000 birds in Hekendorp are being culled and a three-day ban on shipments of all poultry products out of the country has been imposed. A 10-km exclusion radius has also been set up around the infected premises - it will be stay in place for 30 days. The Dutch Health Authority says although humans can't die from the strain, they can become ill. (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch), DUTCH HEALTH AUTHORITY EXPERT, ROBERT JAN SCHOUWERWOU, ANSWERING IF PEOPLE CAN DIE FROM THIS FLU: "People can develop a flu, and that's what you want to prevent. It could make those with existing health problems worse which nobody wants." There are 700 poultry farms in the Netherlands And the Dutch export around 6 billion eggs a year - three quarters of them to Germany. The virus isn't the strain that can infect humans but it can easily spread to other birds. Ducks at a farm in Northern England have also tested positive for avian flu - the first UK outbreak since 2008. It's not the deadly H5N1 strain that effects humans either - but a cull is also underway. Nigel Gibbens is the UK's chief vet. SOUNDBITE: Nigel Gibbens, UK Chief Vet, saying (English): "People shouldn't be concerned about the risk to public health and the Food Standards Agency have confirmed that they don't see this as a risk through the food chain." The outbreaks follow one in Germany two weeks ago. And Rabobank's Jane Foley says they are being watched by markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JANE FOLEY, SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, SAYING: "A month or so ago there was some interesting charts in that every time Ebola was mentioned in the news we saw US Treasury yields for instance react. The bird flu news has the potential to follow the same vein." It's not known for certain if there's any link between the outbreak in Britain and mainland Europe. But wild birds migrating for the winter are thought to be the problem. And that could mean there's more pain to come. Millions of farm birds in South Korea and other parts of Asia had to be culled earlier this year after they contracted the same strain of the virus.

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New bird flu outbreaks hit Europe

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 02:09