Czech Republic kills 140 000 birds due to bird flu outbreak

Czech farmers have killed around 140,000 birds since the start of the year in an attempt to stop the spread of a bird flu outbreak, the State Veterinary Administration (SVS) said, AFP reported.

The infected birds had the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is potentially transmissible to humans.

"So far this year, we have confirmed 15 outbreaks of avian influenza on non-commercial small farms and three on large commercial farms," the SVS said on its website.

It has also detected the disease in four dead birds outside farms.

The three commercial farms, all in the central Czech Republic, had to kill 50,000 ducks and 90,000 chickens.

Last year, three people died of bird flu in Cambodia, including a two-year-old girl.

The recent discovery of the disease in a number of mammals, including foxes, otters, mink, sea lions and even grizzly bears, has raised fears that humans may be at greater risk.

Bird flu has affected dozens of European countries, according to the French animal health monitoring body ESA last August.

In December, French authorities raised the bird flu risk level to "maximum", ordering farmers to keep poultry indoors. / BGNES