HAMBURG (Reuters) - More than 15,000 turkeys were being culled on Thursday after the new bird flu subtype H5N5 was confirmed on a north German farm, authorities said, adding to concerns about the spread of different strains of the disease.
The H5N5 strain was found for the first time on a farm in Germany this week in Steinburg in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein which borders Denmark..
The H5N5 strain has in addition been confirmed on two other units of the same farm located in different villages where the turkeys will be culled, the Schleswig-Holstein agriculture ministry said.
The H5N5 strain has been previously found in wild birds in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Montenegro and Italy and Croatia.
The contagious 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.
But German outbreaks are at a much smaller scale than in France, where a mass culling of around 800,000 ducks was undertaken after bird flu hit southwest France, the country's main foie gras producing region.
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 Keith Weir)