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Denmark closely eyeing German bird flu case

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Denmark closely eyeing German bird flu case
An official sprays ducks during a cull at a duck farm in northern England last week. Bird flu has now also been discovered just south of the Danish border. Photo: Darren Staples/Scanpix
17:26 CET+01:00
After a worrying new strain of bird flu was found in northern Germany not far from Denmark, Danish officials say they are watching the situation closely but have not raised national threat levels.
The German agriculture ministry said on Saturday that a goose with the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was identified in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The ministry told AFP that it marked the first case of the virus outside of a farm setting in Europe.
 
German officials say they have asked regional authorities to keep an "active watch" on wild birds, which means killing animals suspected of having the virus and conducting screening tests.
 
The Danish Food and Veterinary Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) said that the discovery of an H5N8 case near Denmark would not lead to any official changes at home. 
 
“We are of course watching what happens in the countries around us, but there is no reason to raise the threat level any further. But one should be very aware of their animals, whether they be livestock owners or breeders,” Fødevarestyrelsen spokesman Erik Jepsen told Ritzau. 
 
Danish authorities raised the threat level from low to medium after H5N8 was discovered in several European locations: a turkey farm in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, several farms in the Netherlands, and at a duck farm in Yorkshire, England.
 
Sweden’s agriculture agency Jordbruksverket told farmers last week to put all birds indoors or in covered fenced zones as “a precautionary measure”. 
 
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 400 people, mainly in southeast Asia, since first appearing in 2003.
 
Another strain of bird flu, H7N9, has claimed more than 170 lives since emerging in 2013.
 
The H7N7 strain of avian flu severely hit the Netherlands in 2003 with health authorities destroying some 30 million birds in an effort to quash an outbreak.
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