Some 31,000 turkeys were set to be slaughtered on Thursday after a dangerous strain of bird flu was discovered in north-eastern Germany.
Turkeys being fattened at a farm in Heinrichswalde, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, were found to have the highly pathogenic virus H5N8, marking the first time cases of the flu have occurred in Europe.
Several birds started to display symptoms at the weekend, with the number of sick animals increasing dramatically over the past three days.
The German veterinary research institute FLI has confirmed that the animals were suffering from H5N8, a strain that had mainly hit South Korea in the past and would oversee their slaughter by gas, and their subsequent disposal.
It remained unclear how the virus reached German soil.
The institute has sent four experts to Heinrichswalde to investigate the outbreak.
“We have to assume that every highly pathogenic virus can also represent a danger to humans,’’ FLI President, Thomas Mettenleider told newsmen.
South Korea, which has had four H5N8 outbreaks over the past decade, has culled hundreds of thousands of birds to curb its spread.
H5N8 has never caused a human death, different from other strains evidenced across Asia.
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