Portugal has been declared free of bird flu, or avian influenza, after accumulating 20 outbreaks of the disease, the Directorate General for Food and Veterinary Office (DGAV) announced.

"After the implementation of control and eradication measures in the outbreaks that have occurred in Portugal since last December, Portugal has regained the status of country free of highly pathogenic avian influenza," reads a statement released by the DGAV.

Portugal's new bird flu-free status was made valid by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The document that officially validates the status granted to Portugal details that the control measures implemented included the cleaning and disinfection of affected farms and that awareness programmes about the disease are in place.

Portugal "fulfils the requirements of being a country free of highly pathogenic virus infection in poultry as of 22 April 2022," reads the document.

On May 18th, the DGAV had already stated that bird flu recorded, from the end of April, a "gradual improvement", with a "marked decrease" in outbreaks in the European Union, although it is "unlikely" that the circulation of the virus has ceased.

In Portugal, the first outbreak of bird flu was detected on November 30th, 2021, in a domestic poultry house in Palmela, Setúbal district.

Since then, 20 outbreaks have been recorded in domestic birds, including commercial turkey, chicken, and duck farms, a private poultry collection and domestic poultry houses, plus another six outbreaks in wild birds.

The outbreaks affected the districts of Leiria, Lisbon, Santarém, Setúbal, Beja, Évora, Faro and Porto.

The latest outbreak was confirmed on March 15th in a domestic poultry house in the municipality of Castro Marim, Faro district.