A new outbreak of bird flu has been detected along the Belgian coast. A number of sick birds, from various coastal municipalities, have been taken care of by the Ostend bird sanctuary, reports the City. These include seagulls, terns and cormorants, all birds that breed in close proximity to each other.
For several weeks now, dead birds have been discovered in various coastal towns. After analysis of several samples, Sciensano Institute of Public Health confirmed the presence of avian flu on the Belgian coast.
Hikers who discover sick birds on their way are invited to contact the center for wild birds and animals (Voc) in Ostend. Dead birds can be reported to thefederal agency for the safety of the food chain (Afsca).
The Ostend visitor center for birds and wild animals “plays an important role in the ‘passive surveillance’ of the bird flu virus“, explains Claude Velter, its director. “Under the supervision of Afsca and on behalf of the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests, we are working with quarantine measures for suspicious animals so that biosecurity for humans and animals in the center remains guaranteed.“
The bird flu virus is only rarely pathogenic for humans, “so there is no reason to panic“, indicates for his part the alderman of the Environment in Ostend, Silke Beirens. “Only people who come into close, repeated and prolonged contact with sick animals or their excrement are at risk of being contaminated“, she underlines.