Veterinarians have banned outdoor poultry farming throughout the Czech Republic

The State Veterinary Administration (SVS) has banned outdoor poultry farming throughout the Czech Republic, a measure that will be in force as of Wednesday. The reason is the growing number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“Veterinarians have ordered poultry breeders, except for runners and pigeons, to confine their birds indoors and, where this is not possible, to limit as much as possible the contact of their poultry with wild birds,” said SVS spokesman Petr Vorlicek. The same measure was last announced in November.

Six new outbreaks of bird flu have been confirmed in the Czech Republic since the beginning of December, five in small poultry farms and one in a large breeding farm for fattening ducks, the SVS said. It pointed to a breeding farm in Frahelza, in the Jindřichův Hradec region, where 15 000 ducks were culled on December 5 because of the disease.

“Four outbreaks are in the Central Bohemia region, and two are in the South Bohemia region. In all cases, it was a highly pathogenic variant of the H5N1 subtype, which can be potentially transmissible to humans,” the SVS added.

New outbreaks are increasing across Europe, according to veterinarians. The risk of introducing the disease into farms always increases significantly during the migration of wild birds, the SVS warned.