“The National Institute of Agrarian and Veterinary Research have confirmed a mortality event that occurred in domestic poultry in the municipality of Palmela [district of Setúbal] which occurred due to infection by a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of the H5N1 subtype,” announced the General Directorate of Food and Veterinary Medicine (DGAV).
According to the same note, the contingency plan for the bird flu has already been activated.
Among the measures foreseen in this plan, is the inspection of the place where the disease was detected – “a home farm destined for self-consumption” - as well as the livestock farms in the protection zone around the outbreak.
So far, no industrial poultry breeding establishments have been identified in this area.
The DGAV recalled that there is no evidence that avian flu is transmitted to humans through the consumption of food, such as poultry meat or eggs.
"The origin of the disease will be the regular migration of wild birds in Europe, coming from Asia and eastern Russia, which have allowed the viral circulation and transmission over long distances", they added.
The Directorate-General also mentioned that, occasionally, some strains of the virus can infect other animals, “namely mammals and also humans, however, for this to happen, it is necessary for there to be very close contact between the infected birds and the people, or between birds and other animals”.
Given the “current epidemiological situation”, the DGAV defended that it is important to comply with biosafety rules, as well as good poultry production practices, avoiding contact between domestic and wild birds.
Hygiene procedures for facilities, equipment and materials must be complied with, and a “daily and attentive” observation of poultry must be maintained, including consumption of water, food and production rates.
“It should be remembered that operators who keep poultry or birds in captivity are primarily responsible for the health status of the animals they hold and, in the event of any suspicion of disease, it must be immediately communicated to the DGAV. The early detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (GAAP) outbreaks is absolutely essential for the rapid and effective implementation in the field of disease control measures aimed at preventing its spread”, they concluded.