Yesterday Portugal announced their first detection of H5N8, and today it is Belgium's turn. Given its location - nestled in between France, The Netherlands, and Germany - all of whom have reported the virus for more than two months, it is a bit remarkable they hadn't detected the virus earlier.
Although this story was telegraphed by the media late yesterday, today Belgium's Minister of Agriculture has confirmed the finding.
February 2, 2017
The H5N8 virus identified in Belgium
The February 1, 2017, the H5N8 virus of bird flu was identified in a hobbyist holder (amateur) in the town of Lebbeke. The highly pathogenic strain of this remains to be confirmed. Following this, the required prevention measures against avian flu are further strengthened.
This Thursday noon, all poultry, including ratites, and other captive birds of professionals and amateurs must be confined or protected (nets) to avoid contact with wild birds.
All gatherings of poultry and other captive birds and the market are prohibited.
Since there is no animals held by a professional but ornamental birds, only a buffer zone with a radius of 3 km is bounded around the site. There is no professional poultry farms in the area, where poultry transport, birds and hatching eggs is prohibited. All poultry holder must send an inventory to the town within 48 hours.
Willy Borsus, Minister of Middle Classes, Independents, SMEs, agriculture and social integration: " The virus that strongly affects neighboring countries for several months now reached Belgium. At this stage, the professional sector is not affected, but we must remain very vigilant. Strict implementation of biosecurity measures is essential if this case remains isolated . "
As a reminder, since November 10, 2016, a period of increased risk applies throughout the country and preventive measures had already been strengthened. These measures still apply:
- The birds of registered poultry farms (professional) must be confined or protected to avoid contact with wild birds.
- Feeding and watering of poultry and other captive birds must be in or out to prevent contact with wild birds.
- It is forbidden to water the poultry and other captive birds with water from surface water reservoirs and rainwater accessed by wild birds, unless such water was treated to ensure inactivation viruses.We remind all holders of poultry it is important they contact their veterinarian if they observe high mortality in their herds or other symptoms of illness.
The consumer incurs no risk. Meat and chicken eggs can be eaten safely.