August 25, 2007 / 6:27 PM / 11 years ago

Deadly bird flu found in German poultry farm

BERLIN (Reuters) - An outbreak of deadly bird flu has been identified in a southern German poultry farm, a spokeswoman for Bavaria’s environment ministry said on Saturday.

The spokeswoman said dead ducks from the farm in Wachenroth in Bavaria’s Erlangen-Hoechstadt area had tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the virus, which can be lethal for people living in close contact with birds.

All 160,000 birds in the farm would be culled, the ministry spokeswoman said. The farm has been sealed off.

Local authorities had earlier said the farm contained some 44,000 birds. Officials discovered the infection after more than 400 ducks at the farm died over a short period of time.

Germany identified several cases of the deadly H5N1 strain in wild birds in Bavaria in June. A string of bird flu infections were also registered in Germany last year.

Earlier this week, Russia banned poultry imports from Italy to prevent the spread of bird flu after outbreaks there.

Globally, the H5N1 virus has killed 195 people out of 322 known cases, according to the World Health Organization. Hundreds of millions of birds have died or been slaughtered.

The vast majority of bird flu deaths have been in Asia. No deaths have yet been registered in the European Union.

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