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Germany may cull up to 70,000 chickens after bird flu found on another farm

HAMBURG, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Bird flu has been found on another chicken farm in Germany and a programme to slaughter up to 70,000 poultry is being prepared, authorities said on Tuesday.

Type H5N8 bird flu was confirmed in a farm near Rostock in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, said a spokesman for the local government authority Landkreis Rostock.

About 4,500 chickens at the farm would have to be culled, but the farm has several locations and the total could reach 70,000, the spokesman said.

“To combat the outbreak of the disease and prevent it spreading further, it is necessary from a veterinary medical viewpoint to cull up to 70,000 poultry at several locations,” the spokesman said. “Preparations have started.”

A series of outbreaks of bird flu have been reported in Europe in past weeks with wild birds suspected to be spreading the disease.

Around 16,100 turkeys were slaughtered after bird flu was found on another Germany poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, authorities said on Monday.

Denmark has ordered 25,000 chickens to be culled after finding H5N8 bird flu on a farm, authorities said on Monday, effectively halting the country’s poultry and egg exports to countries outside the European Union for at least three months.

Other cases have been reported in France and the Netherlands. Britain ordered a cull of 13,000 birds at a farm in northwest England after detecting cases there.

Risk to humans from the disease is considered low, but past outbreaks among farm birds have needed extensive slaughtering programmes to contain them. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by David Evans)

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