Switzerland lifts bird flu protection measures

Avian flu H5N4 has been detected in just a buzzard and a gull in Switzerland so far this year. Keystone / Patrick Pleul

The threat of avian flu infecting Swiss poultry has receded to the point that precautionary measures can be lifted along parts of the border with Germany.

This content was published on March 11, 2021 - 14:36

The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) declared the risk to be minimal on Thursday, citing just two positive cases in the country this year.

In January, farmers around Lake Constance and stretches of the Rhine in north-eastern Switzerland were told to keep poultry indoors or under netting to avoid contact with wild birds during the winter migration season.

Just two cases of H5N4 bird flu were discovered in February, in a gull and a buzzard.

“Studies show that the bird flu virus is currently not spreading any further in Switzerland or neighbouring countries. However, the situation is still being closely monitored,” read an FSVO statement.

Last year, the Swiss authorities issued a red alert following the discovery of several cases in Europe. Measures were also put into place in 2016 when around 80 dead birds were found in the Lake Constance region.

This type of bird flu virus is not thought to spread from animals to humans, but people have been warned not to touch dead birds as a precaution.

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