Nicolas Maeterlinck

Heightened risk of avian flu from 1 November

From today professional poultry farmers will be obliged to either feed their birds indoors or protect their outdoor food and water sources with nets. The Federal Agriculture Minister David Clarinval (Francophone liberal) has brought in the measures due to an increase risk to poultry from avian flu.     

The Agriculture Minister hopes that the measures will serve to prevent poultry flocks that are kept at professional poultry farms from coming into contact with wild birds that are infected with avian flu.

The Federal Food Safety Agency (FAVV)is asking those that keep poultry to strictly adhere to the measures. If they notice an increased mortality rate among their flock or any other indication that avian flu might be present, they should contact their vet without delay.

Last week similar measures were brought in by the authorities in The Netherlands. Then FAVV asked those with poultry here to exercise vigilance.

Avian flu is a highly infectious virus. There is no scientific evidence that it can be harmful to humans. The last cases of avian flu in Belgium were in June and July of 2017.

Avian flu infection can pass through direct contact with infected birds or contaminated material such excrement from infected birds or dirty cages. Indirect airborne infection is also possible over a relatively short distance. 

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