Avian flu

German Zoo was closed after an emu was killed by H5N8 avian flu strain.

Health authorities closed a zoo from Northeast Germany after one of the emus that died tested positive for bird flu.

Katrin Toepke, the director of Uerkermuende Zoo, declared for the local press outlets that the zoo is to remain closed until further notice after test performed on a recently dead emu revealed that the bird was infected with the H5N8 avian influenza strain.

Although this flu strain is virulent among birds, it does not infect humans. However, as a precaution, the health authorities have closed down the Uerkermuende Zoo. In addition, several veterinarian teams have been called in order to contain the disease and to find methods of protecting the other birds on display.

Unfortunately, it would seem that this isn't the first case of H5N8 avian flu reported in Germany this year. According to the recent reports, approximately 12 German states have had encounters with the virulent disease. In addition, the health authorities also discovered that the avian bird flu strain also had infected birds from four separate farms.

According to the existing medical literature on the subject, the H5N8 strain is a subtype of the Flu A virus. Despite the fact that the H5N8 strain is considered to be less harmful than other strains of influenza, researchers have discovered that H5N8 strain can act as an incubator for the H1N1 strain.

While the H5N8 is not known to infect humans, it spreads like wildfire among birds. The symptoms associated with H5N8 infection are an overall weakness, coughing, chills, headaches, fever, and, in some rare instances, conjunctivitis.

Unfortunately, if the virus strain is confirmed, all the poultry on a farm must be culled. This method minimizes the risk of spreading to adjoining farms. However, this does not fail proof method, and the 1983 Ireland, avian flu case, stands as proof.

The massive avian flu epidemic of Ireland infected two farmsteads which were nearby. Surprisingly enough, even though the farms were close to each other, there has been no contact prior to the disease.

After the disease had spread among the poultry, the authorities decided to cull more than 300,000 ducks, turkeys, and chickens.

This year, the health authorities from Sweden culled approximately 40,000 birds after H5N8 flu strain was confirmed.

As for the Northeast Germany zoo, it will remain close until the authorities are able to contain the issue.

Image source: Wikipedia