Authorities introduce Swiss-wide anti-bird flu measures

A suspected patient goes for a PCR swab. Keystone / Michael Buholzer

A week after two cases of bird flu were detected in Zurich, authorities have imposed national measures to come into force on Monday, November 28.

This content was published on November 24, 2022 - 16:14

The measures aim to prevent any further outbreak of the disease, and mainly focus on reducing contact between wild birds and domestic poultry, the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) wrote on ThursdayExternal link.

As of next Monday, all poultry farmers in the country will therefore have to restrict the movements of their domestic poultry to areas protected from wild birds. Chickens must be kept separate from geese and ducks, and access to the animals reduced to a minimum. Poultry markets and exhibitions will also be banned.

Unless decided otherwise, the measures are to remain in place until February 15, 2023, authorities said.

Safe food

According to current knowledge, the H5N1 virus strain can only be transmitted to humans in extremely rare cases, and that only in case of extremely close contact. Poultry products like chicken, meat and eggs can be eaten without hesitation, the FSVO writes.

However, anyone who finds dead wild birds should not touch them, it says. Dead animals should be reported to the nearest wildlife warden or police station.

The first cases of bird flu in Switzerland this winter were detected in a grey heron and a peacock in canton Zurich a week ago. Over 6,000 cases have been detected in Europe over the past two years, according to the FSVO.

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In compliance with the JTI standards

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