H5N8 bird flu strain reported in Italy

Highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu strain was reported at a turkey farm in northern Italy, media reported Wednesday.

The outbreak was “ascertained” by local health authorities at the farm, which is located near the city of Rovigo, in Veneto region, Xinhua reported citing ANSA news agency.

The virus was reported to present strong similarities with the outbreaks registered in other European countries in latest weeks, the reprt added.

Local media reports said more than 1,200 birds were found dead from the virus at the turkey farm.

The finding reportedly prompted authorities in the region to apply control measures in the restriction zones established and order culling on the farm of some 32,000 birds.

In November, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) warned of a new bird flu strain detected in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain which was similar to strains reported to be circulating in Asia earlier this year.

The fact that the virus was found within a very short time interval in different European countries, both in a wild bird and in very different poultry production systems, was suggestive that wild birds may have played a role in spreading the virus, FAO and OIE experts said

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