With winter coming and birds once again migrating through the north-eastern and eastern borders, the European Union must weigh the risk of avian influenza infiltrating the EU. There is a strong chance that the bird flu will hit the European Union straight on, and the EU must be prepared.
The experts have reviewed past outbreaks of avian influenza to determine this risk. They have assessed the risk and have determined that it is likely for the bird flu to hit this year. They have advised that the member states and EU make efforts to minimize the risk of an outbreak.
The chair of the group that is focused on researching and assessing risk of avian influenza, Arjan Stegeman, is confident that this risk has been assessed and determined with perfect timing. Because they did the work ahead of time, the EU is now able to be more adequately prepared to minimize a potential outbreak of the bird flu.
The EU has put out multiple recommendations and pieces of advice regarding prevention of avian influenza. One of their primary recommendations is for every water bird found dead be reported and tested during influenza season.
This testing of water birds on farms like ducks and geese is especially important, as these birds are more likely to have come in contact with migrating birds carrying the disease. If left unchecked, this could lead to the spread of avian influenza through livestock and eventually, an outbreak among the human population.
Farmers are encouraged to do regular checks on any birds they find dead, as well as some of their live birds as a precaution. Farmers and anyone who owns poultry also need to ensure that they are putting the proper precautions in place to protect the biosecurity of their birds and especially their farms.
Farmers should be careful to prevent any contact between their birds and birds that do not reside on their property. This includes both birds belonging to other farmers as well as any migrating or foreign birds that may pass through their land.
Avoiding outbreaks is a high priority, and with these forewarnings and precautions in place, outbreaks throughout the EU can be avoided. Between regular checks on farm birds (both dead and alive), heightened caution when mingling animals between farms, and increased biosecurity, these precautions and other can ensure a healthy flu season throughout the entire European Union.
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