HAMBURG (Reuters) - Germany completed the culling of 45,000 turkeys over the weekend and several thousand more are due to be destroyed after more cases of the contagious H5N8 strain of bird flu were identified on German farms, authorities said on Monday.
The mass culling in the eastern state of Brandenburg was carried out after the virus was found on a farm in Dahme-Spreewald. State authorities said a further 3,000 were being culled in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, although it is not yet known if the H5N8 strain is involved there.
The H5N8 strain has been found in hundreds of wild birds in Germany in recent weeks and isolated outbreaks on farms have been occurring despite tougher hygiene rules and orders to keep poultry indoors in high risk areas.
The outbreaks in Germany have been on a smaller scale than in France, where a mass slaughter of about 800,000 ducks was undertaken after bird flu cases were confirmed in the southwest, the main French foie gras producing area.
Different bird flu strains have also spread in Asia in recent weeks leading to the slaughter of millions of birds in South Korea and Japan, and some human infections in China.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Richard Lough)