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‘Largest-ever outbreak’ of bird flu with ‘phenomenal levels’ across UK

There are 40 infected premises across Britain amid warnings that wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter are likely carrying the disease.

Half a million birds have been culled as the country remains only a few weeks into a three-month migratory season.

It comes after an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was declared across the UK on November 3.

This was extended on November 29 with the requirement that all captive birds be kept indoors.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer, who is leading the response, warned cases are at a ‘phenomenal level’ on Thursday.

Bird flu only infects humans in extremely rare cases, but the situation has ‘huge human, animal and trade implications’, Christine Middlemiss said.

She told the BBC: ‘We can’t wait until another year and have an even bigger outbreak.

‘So, we will be working not just with our own scientists but internationally, to understand more of what we can do about what’s behind it.’

Cautioning the migratory season will last until March, she added: ‘We are going to need to keep up these levels of heightened biosecurity for all that time.’

Immediate research is needed to stop a worse outbreak in future years, Ms Middlemiss added.

Minister George Eustice told the House of Commons today: ‘Each year the UK faces a seasonal risk in incursion of avian influenza associated with migratory wild birds.

‘While we have that each year, I have to say this year we are now seeing the largest-ever outbreak in the UK of avian influenza with 36 confirmed cases.’

The protection zone means keepers must continue taking precautions including regular cleaning and disinfecting clothing, equipment and vehicles and limiting access to non-essential workers and visitors.

Defra has said the new housing measures will be kept under regular review.

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Elevated emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) at Vulcano volcano causes animal deaths and evacuations ordered in Eolian Islands, Italy

Sulfur emissions have been escaping from Vulcano (image: @mondoterremoti/twitter)

Due to elevated emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from ground and finding dead animals, a small number of families has been evacuated from the village as reported volcanologist Marco Pistolesi on his twitter account.

The volcano observatory INGV raised the alert level for the volcano to “yellow” about two weeks ago, as increase of volcanic tremor and elevated fumarolic activity has been recorded.

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9.8 MILLION birds killed due to bird flu in Japan

Bird Flu

Animal health authorities in Japan have culled a record 9.87 million birds, mostly chickens and ducks, to stop the spread of highly pathogenic bird flu.

Japan has been contending with outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu since November 2020. Recent reporting in the Japan Times and JiJi Press says that the outbreak spread to 18 prefectures, including Chiba and Ibaraki, the country’s main poultry producing areas.

As of Saturday 8 May, veterinary authorities culled around 9.87 million birds as part of biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the virus. This number is a dramatic increase from the previous record cull of 1.83 million birds in the 2010-2011 outbreak.

The Jiji Press reports that the widespread culls are behind the recent spike in egg prices.

Poultry farmers and backyard keepers are being encouraged to adopt stringent biosecurity measures to prevent further outbreaks of bird flu.

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Thousands of dead fish appear in two lagoons in Petén, Guatemala

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of fish are dying in natural tributaries of the Mirador Río Azul National Park and Biotopo Dos Lagunas in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (RBM), in Flores, Petén.

It is believed that one of the causes is the lack of oxygen and that the tributaries are drying up. Among the species that die are the native ones, tilapias and devil fish, according to the authorities.

Large numbers of dead fish and others dying were found in the area. So far the cause of death of fish of all species and sizes has not been reported with certainty.

“It is striking that it is a protected area far from the populations, until there are invasive species such as the Devil Fish and the Tilapia,” said Francisco Asturias, of the Foundation for Eco-Development and Conservation (Fubdaeco).

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90,000 birds killed due to bird flu in Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Bird Flu

The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, has confirmed avian influenza in samples of birds sent from a poultry farm at Kila Raipur, prompting the administration to order culling of 90,000 birds.

The samples were collected on Wednesday after owner of Suba Singh poultry farm informed the administration about the mysterious death of 1,500 birds.

As the report confirming presence of bird flu arrived on Friday evening, deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma declared the area within a kilometre of the epicentre as infected zone and 1-10km as surveillance zone.

Ordering culling of 90,000 birds at the farm, he also constituted a nine-member committee to oversee the process and ensure that no bird, unprocessed poultry meat, eggs, feed or any other material was taken out from the poultry farm.

The committee headed by Khanna additional deputy commissioner Sakatar Singh Bal took stock of the situation at the farm on Saturday.

Bal said 20 teams of the animal husbandry department will start the culling operation in two shifts from Sunday. With a target of 4,000-6,000 birds a day, the process should be completed in around three weeks, he added.

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Tens of thousands of dead fish washing up in New Jersey, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Just over a month ago, a fish was spotted by New Jersey-based nonprofit group Clean Ocean Action as it was in a death throe, spinning in circles in the Navisink River.

Now far more dying menhaden, also called bunker fish, are spinning in circles, this time in the Shrewsbury River. Those fish clinging to life are are surrounded by tens of thousands of other dead fish spotted up and down both rivers that empty into Sandy Hook Bay. The dead menhaden float in the rivers, sink to the bottom, line the shore, litter boat landings and rot next to bulkheads — providing a pungent and overwhelming odor.

Every town on both rivers has been dealing with the smell for weeks now, as the massive die-off in menhaden continues. The stench not only makes makes life unpleasant for residents, but can hurt business. One of the owners at the Bacon Beach Grill in Long Beach said it all depends on which way the wind blows, and if it’s going the wrong direction, it’s bad news for outdoor diners.

“It’s been very difficult with the pandemic and now the fish smell. You don’t know when (the smell) is going to come this way” said Fran Schults.

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Dozens Of Dead Turtles Discovered In Big Stone Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, USA

Turtle Alert

Photo Illustration

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service says as many as 200 turtles have been found dead in the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge near Ortonville.

The discovery was made on April 30 on a half-mile section of the Minnesota River, both on the banks and in the water. Crews are still counting the dead, which include species such as the snapping and painted turtle.

USFWS officials say some of the turtles have been sent to Madison, Wisconsin for testing at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

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Thousands of dead fish floating in lake Maninjau, Indonesia

Fishermen pass near thousands of floating net caramba fish that died in Lake Maninjau, Agam Regency, West Sumatra, Thursday (04/29/2021).

The death of the floating net caramba fish was caused by a lack of oxygen levels at the bottom of the lake and bad weather that hit the area.

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TONNES of dead fish wash up in a lake in Lebanon

Fish Kill Alert

Tonnes of dead fish have washed up on the shore of a highly polluted lake in eastern Lebanon in recent days, an official said Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the dead fish in Lake Qaraoun on the Litani river, which several local fishermen said was unprecedented in scale.

A preliminary report said a virus had killed only carp in the lake, but a veteran water expert said their deaths could also have been caused by pollution.

Hundreds of fish of all sizes lay dead on the banks of the more than five kilometer long lake Thursday, and the stench of their rotting flesh clung to the air.

Men shoveled carcasses into a wheelbarrow, as a mechanical digger scooped up more into the back of a truck.

“It’s our third day here picking up dead fish,” said Nassrallah el-Hajj, from the Litani River Authority, dressed in fishing waders, adding they had so far “carried away around 40 tons.”

On the water’s edge, 61-year-old fisherman Mahmoud Afif said it was a “disaster.”

“In my life I’ve never seen anything like it,” said the father-of-two.

The Qaraoun lake was built as a reservoir on the Litani river in 1959 to produce hydropower and provide water for irrigation.

But in recent years experts have warned huge quantities of wastewater, industrial waste, and agricultural runoff containing pesticides and fertilizer flooding into it have made it increasingly toxic.

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