German authorities have ordered the cull of thousands of farm animals after a H5N8 bird flu outbreak was confirmed. The district had already imposed a 3-day ban on all poultry transports to thwart the potential spread of H5N8. Some strains of avian influenza are fatal for birds, and also pose a health threat to humans, who can fall sick after handling infected poultry.
This precautionary move comes after the discovery of the pathogenic H5N8 strain at a poultry farm in a rural region of Lower Saxony state where 19,000 animals and another 12,000 turkeys at a neighboring farm would be slaughtered.
Regional agricultural minister Christian Meyer said, "The strain detected in the Cloppenburg district was the same as that found at another farm in November in Schleswig-Holstein state." He has expressed concern that the virus could spread quickly.