Keith Evans / Avian Influenza Sign

Bird Quarantines Become the Norm, Too

Flashback to Friday: We noted in Quick Hits that a Germany chicken farm was preparing to cull 70,000 birds to contain an outbreak of H5N8 avian influenza.

Well, things are escalating…

Dutch authorities culled roughly 190,000 birds after the flu broke on two poultry farms. This comes after a nation-wide bird containment rule was imposed on October 23 after two dead swans were found with H5N8.

Even outside of Europe, in Japan, 850,000 chickens will be culled between two farms, the sixth and seventh cases thus far for the region.

The great migration: As seasons change, it’s no surprise that birds begin to head south. But much to farmers’ dismay, this year those birds are carrying a highly contagious H5N8 strain.

And while it’s expected to have annual losses related to bird flu, this year has been one of the worst.

The European Safety Authority (EFSA) warns that this strain will continue to spread rapidly unless a collaborative approach is taken.

The all-too-familiar lockdown strategy: The UK took a page from its COVID-19 playbook and imposed tough measures to help control the spread.

Protocol now includes:

  • Restricting access for non-essential people
  • Removing sources of wild bird food
  • Ensuring workers are disinfecting footwear and changing clothing

Elsewhere, Belgium is confining birds indoors while France ordered for protective netting at poultry farms to prevent contact with wild birds.

The silver lining: If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to always have a plan B. With over 300 bird flu cases across Europe, supply chain disruptions are coming but the food chain is better prepared thanks to the pandemic.