BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The Belgian government put the country on increased risk for bird flu as the virus spreads across Europe, the food safety agency AFSCA said in a statement.
As of this Monday, poultry must be kept indoors, after a highly pathogenic variant of avian flu was identified in a wild goose in Schilde, a town near Antwerp.
The agency said this was first case in wild birds since March 1, 2021, indicating an active circulation of the virus in wild birds again.
“I have to make sure that we prevent the contamination of our poultry with avian flu at all costs,” agriculture minister David Clarinval said on Twitter.
“Let’s apply containment to avoid the damage that our farmers have suffered in the past.”
The measure affects both professional and private poultry breeders.
Elsewhere in Europe, Dutch authorities in October ordered commercial farms to keep all flocks inside after bird flu was reported on a farm. France extended a requirement to keep poultry flocks indoors earlier in November. Germany has also reported several outbreaks of the disease.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten)