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H5N8 Bird flu cases detected around Lake Geneva

The H5N8 bird flu strain has been detected recently in wild birds in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

(Keystone)

Swiss authorities have identified two cases of bird flu in waterfowl in the Lake Geneva area. This follows the detection of the virus in ducks around Lake Constance last week. 

On Saturday, the Swiss Federal Office of Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs confirmed that a dead Tufted Duck and a Laughing Gull found near the port of the city of Lausanne have tested positive for bird flu. Like the cases in Lake Constance, the two birds were found to harbour the H5N8 strain of the virus. 

Authorities have called for a poultry exclusion zone of one kilometer from the shoreline of all major Swiss lakes to prevent contact with wild and migratory waterfowl. Poultry owners that cannot comply with this are required to confine their birds in watertight enclosures. 

The Federal Office of Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs will modify existing regulations next week and could further strengthen preventive measures depending on how the situation evolves over the next couple of days. So far, no poultry farm has been infected. 

People who come across dead wild birds are advised not to touch them and to inform the wildlife wardens or the cantonal police. According to latest research, the H5N8 bird flu strain cannot be transmitted from animals to humans.

 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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