It’s been six weeks since the last confirmed case of bird flu in domestic fowl appeared in Skåne and when the heat will now slow the spread of the infection. Therefore, the Swedish Board of Agriculture announced that the level of protection has now been reduced also for commercial poultry farms.
After consulting with the Swedish Veterinary Institute, SVA, the Swedish Board of Agriculture has now decided to lower the level of protection against bird flu, which means all poultry and birds in captivity can now go outdoors. Arranging fairs, contests and similar events as well as selling eggs will now be allowed again.
According to Hekan Henriksson, chief veterinarian at the Swedish Agriculture Board, warmer weather makes it more difficult for the virus to survive in the environment, which means a lower risk of spreading to poultry.
– It has been a long and hard time for all poultry farmers in the country, so this is a long-awaited message for many, says Hakan.
There are still some risks
The majority of migratory waterfowl that influenza brought to Sweden have now left the poultry-intensive areas of the country and are on their way to their nesting grounds. However, there is still a risk of infection.
Because domestic bird species can be infected with the avian influenza virus, wild birds can pose a risk even if migratory birds are flown in. The risk of poultry catching bird flu is now considered low but not insignificant, and it is likely that less virus will be found among wild birds and in the environment, says Maria Norremark, an epidemiologist at SVA who therefore recommends direct and indirect contact between wild birds and poultry.
For poultry with outdoor recreation potential, it is especially important to provide feed and water under cover or indoors and take measures to reduce the incidence of wild birds. And at the slightest sign of illness, the Swedish Agriculture Board urges contacting a veterinarian.
So far this year, 22 flocks of poultry have been infected with bird flu in Sweden, mostly in southern Sweden. The eruption in the 2020-2021 season will therefore be the largest that occurred in Sweden.
The article was published on Tuesday, 01 June 2021
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