All cases are of the H5N1 subtype, which is highly pathogenic in birds. In the current epidemic, human illnesses following infections with H5N1 have not yet been detected in Europe.
Avian influenza has hit Europe harder than ever before in the past year and has already led to major losses in numerous European poultry farms in recent months. As the current evidence in Austria suggests that the virus has now spread to the domestic wild bird population, the situation requires the legal adaptation of biosecurity regulations for poultry farmers in Austria.
Compulsory stabling to be reintroduced in certain regions
In those regions that are already designated as "areas with increased risk of avian influenza", poultry must be kept in closed -at least covered- sheds from next week until further notice. This obligation to keep poultry indoors applies to all farms and hobby farms that keep 50 or more animals. A corresponding amendment to the Poultry Plague Ordinance of the Ministry of Health is to be issued in the coming days.
In the rest of the country, poultry farmers will be required to comply with biosecurity measures: Direct and indirect contacts between poultry and wild birds should be prevented at all costs, e.g. by feeding them indoors, not using surface water for watering, etc. In case of unclear health problems on poultry farms, a veterinary examination should be carried out without fail. Wild waterfowl and birds of prey found dead must be reported to the locally competent district administrative authority (official veterinarian). For the same reason, we would like to point out that every poultry holding must be registered with the competent district administrative authority.