The outbreak of a dangerous African bird disease is killing blackbirds and other bird species in the Czech Republic. The mosquito-carried Usutu virus has spread to Europe from tropical and subtropical Africa and has been raising the bird toll across the continent. I spoke to Petr Voříšek of the Czech Society for Ornithology and I first asked him to tell me more about the disease.
The area of the Zlín region covered by special measures to counter African
swine fever has been reduced sharply.
The area covered from February 1 by special measures now covers just 40 percent of the Zlín district. The reduction was agreed by the European Commission following a Czech request.
Special measures had applied to the whole of the Zlín district from the middle of last year. Czech authorities are trying to stop the spread of the fever, which is fatal for pigs, from the population of wild boar to the livestock being raised on farms.
The Czech Republic should reduce the numbers of its wild boar population by
90 percent in order to prevent the spread of the highly infectious African
swine fever, Agriculture Minister Jiri Milek said on Friday. He said the
wild boar population should be reduced across Europe for the measures
approved to be successful.
The Czech authorities have ordered a cull on wild boar in the affected area of the Zlin region and a ban has been issued on keeping domestic pigs. The country is expected to spend 200 million crowns this year on measures aimed at containing and eliminating the infectious disease.
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The popular pig-slaughtering feasts which usually take place in February are going to start early for some pig-breeders this year. Farmers living in the area infested with swine-fever have been ordered to cull their animals in view of a growing risk of the disease spreading from wild boar to pigs in the region.
A ban on keeping domestic pigs has been ordered by the state veterinary
service in a bid to prevent the spread of the highly infectious African
The ban applies to a high risk area of the Zlín region where the battle to contain the infection spreading from the wild boar population has been raging for the past four months. In addition, the state office has tightened its rules for the transport of pigs across the region.
The tightened rules have been ordered because of the risk of the disease spreading as wild boars usually migrate in the late autumn.
The veterinary office said that in spite of a cull on wild boar in the affected area, 15 new cases of the fever have been found in dead animals since the start of November. Once of the chief concerns is that the fever could spread to commercial pig farms in the pork eating country.
The Czech veterinary authorities have started destroying thousands of
laying hens at a farm in Pohořelice, southern Moravia, following a
35,000 of around 60,000 hens have so far been destroyed and the market chain Lidl has taken all egg deliveries from the farm off its shelves.
People have been asked to return eggs already purchased at the market chain. This concerns eggs with an expiry date up to September 11th. The salmonella was detected due to health problems at a children’s camp.
A Czech university has announced the discovery of a new strain of rabbit fever. The discovery has been announced by the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno after the sudden deaths of scores of rabbits across the country in July. They found a previous version of the fever as well as a newer once which often lasts longer but appears to have a reduced death toll of up to 70 percent compared with the 90 percent death rate of the older fever. A vaccine against the new version is expected to be ready in August.
The Czech Republic has filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice against a new European Union directive restricting possession of firearms. The stated aim of the directive is to prevent terrorists gaining weapons easily, but Prague claims it will only hurt responsible arms holders and hunters.
Zlín governor Jiří Čunek has issued further measures in connection with the incidence of African swine fever in the region. The measures include a ban prohibiting people from entering fields and wooded areas where infected wild boar may be present. These areas will only be accessible to hunters and veterinary officials who are working to contain the spread of the disease by gradually eliminating all the wild boar in the region. There are believed to be some 400 animals in the given area. A 45km long electric fence has been put up to prevent them migrating.