More than 77,000 turkeys, chickens and ducks are being culled at farms in the north German state of Lower Saxony after cases of the highly contagious H5N8 strain were confirmed.

All remaining turkeys on the farm will be culled.
Turkeys, chickens and ducks are being culled at four farms in Germany.

News service Reuters has reported the H5N8 strain has been found on three farms in the state of Lower Saxony, a major poultry producing area, and culling of 55,000 birds started over the Christmas break.

A further case was reported at a fourth farm, in the state’s Oldenburg region, on Tuesday, with 22,000 turkeys being culled.

The UK Government is continuing to monitor the situation in Europe. H5N8 was found in wild birds in Somerset, Leicestershire and Dumfries and Galloway before Christmas, and has also been reported in a wild duck in Carmarthenshire.

A single outbreak on a UK turkey fattening farm in Lincolnshire was confirmed as H5N8 on 16 December, and 5,000 birds were culled.

The risk level to the UK wild bird population was increased to high, and rose from low to medium risk for poultry premises. A series of measures to prevent further spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza was implemented by Defra and the APHA. Public Health England said the risk to humans remains low, provided biosecurity measures are implemented.

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