MADRID – After reports of an increase in infections among wild birds, avian flu has kept the poultry sector in Europe alert for months. Recently the number of outbreaks of the disease in both France and Portugal has also increased. Therefore, several authorities in Spain are now also in a state of alert.
The closer the outbreaks reach the Spanish borders, the higher the risk in Spain becomes. This is leading communities such as Galicia to take preventive measures. Amongst these is a ban on the keeping of free-range chickens in open spaces in 35 sites.
Avian flu outbreaks in France and Portugal
French authorities have reported up to 119 cases in poultry farms in the Landes, in the southwest of the country, in recent weeks. As a result, the number of cases has doubled in just a few days since the beginning of the year. Portugal has also reported several outbreaks on several farms. The latest in a turkey farm in Óbidos.
Avian flu risk level increased
Since the avian influenza virus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly among animals, preventive measures are crucial to containing a possible new epidemic. Last December, the Ministry of Agriculture increased the risk level for avian flu in the areas of special surveillance. That is why the Xunta de Galicia has decided for the time being to prohibit the breeding of birds in the open air in the risk areas. This way, possible contact with wild birds is limited as much as possible.
Region of Valencia
Faced with the appearance of some affected wild birds in Lleida, the Valencian Community has also decided to apply conservation measures. Many migratory routes of wild birds pass through this region. The birds come to the present wetlands, such as the Albufera.
The adopted extraordinary biosecurity measures also include the ban on free-range poultry farming or its display at livestock events or fairs.