German authorities are ordering poultry farmers to keep their birds inside farm buildings to keep them from becoming infected with avian influenza that might be carried in migrating birds.
The poultry industries in Europe have been on alert since early November when H5N8 avian influenza was detected at a turkey holding in Germany. In that outbreak, an estimated 1,880 birds were infected with culling efforts following.
Another H5N8 avian influenza outbreak occurred in Yorkshire, U.K., with an estimated 338 ducks dying after contracting the virus.
Two outbreaks of H5N8 avian influenza have been reported in the Netherlands, with the first killing about 1,000 layer and breeding hens with an additional 149,000 susceptible birds at the farm being destroyed. A second outbreak killed thousands of chickens at a farm located about 15 miles away from where the initial Dutch avian influenza outbreak occurred.
The most recent case of avian influenza occurred when the virus was found in a wild duck on November 22, prompting the German government to issue the order, saying all poultry should remain indoors, regardless of whether they have a high risk of contact with migrating birds.
Authorities from the U.K. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have stressed that H5N8 avian influenza does not pose a great threat to human health and does not impact the food chain.