Health for humans, animals & plants

Avian influenza: risk remains high in Austria

| 2 min read

Since the beginning of the year, the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (bird flu) has been detected in wild birds as well as in poultry in small private holdings in several federal states.

Only recently, on 5 February, an outbreak was confirmed in a hobby farm in the Horn district, affecting chickens and ducks.

It can be assumed that wild birds that are already infected but still alive are also present in these regions. The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus is highly contagious for domestic poultry and the disease is usually fatal; infection occurs directly from animal to animal and the virus can therefore be transmitted very easily from wild birds to poultry through infected wild birds or their faeces.

The current avian influenza risk is continuously evaluated by AGES, taking into account not only the occurrence of the pathogen in Austria but also the animal disease situation in neighbouring Member States, climatic conditions and known migratory bird routes. The risk of direct or indirect transmission of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from wild birds to poultry flocks is still classified as high.

It is particularly important for hobby farmers to comply with the applicable biosecurity measures - such as separating ducks and geese from other poultry. Experience has shown that these flocks are affected by outbreaks significantly more often in Austria than larger poultry farms. In many cases, direct virus transmission through wild waterfowl due to a failure to separate chickens, ducks and geese from wild birds has been identified as a suspected route of infection. Poultry farmers are therefore obliged to comply with increased biosecurity measures and to report any suspected cases to the authorities immediately.

Information on avian influenza and map of designated risk areas

| 2 min read

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