- Title: GERMANY: Bird flu spreads on the German island of Ruegen
- Date: 19th February 2006
- Summary: (EU) SCHWERIN, GERMANY (FEBRUARY 18, 2006) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) GERMAN AGRICULTURAL MINISTER HORST SEEHOFER GETTING OUT OF CAR
- Embargoed: 6th March 2006 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVANBWPDOA45YVCO5KZZU0WHWJ0
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Bird flu arrived in Germany on Tuesday (February 14) when two wild swans discovered dead on a Baltic Sea beach were found to be infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease.
But on Friday (February 17) German television was still showing pictures of dead birds lying on beaches close to the first cases and German local authorities said they did not have the capacity to collect them.
Kerstin Kassner, Ruegen district council chief executive, said that the council did not have enough protective clothing for workmen to gather dead birds, "It turned out that we were not prepared sufficiently for this. I want to tell this to everybody who might be having the same problem. One has to be prepared. We simply did not have enough protective clothing for the helpers, we had not trained enough people and that we had to catch up on. It took about 48 hours before we had prepared enough helpers. On the first day, we only had about 20 people deployed. They were not able to collect all the dead animals." She said the council had asked the German army for help.
Till Backhaus, Mecklenburg-Western PomeraniaÂ´s agricultural minister said on Saturday (February 18) that at least 28 more birds of various kinds tested positive for the bird flu virus H5N1, .
"We have a serious situation here. A very serious one. I have to inform you that further wild birds have been tested positively (for H5N1). Professor Mettenleiter (of GermanyÂ´s federal animal health institute) on the island of Riems) has informed us that further 28 different birds of various kinds have been tested positively. It especially concerns me that the situation is no longer restricted to the area of Wittow (where the first infected dead swans had been found)", Backhaus said at a joint news conference with GermanyÂ´s agricultural minister Horst Seehofer, who visited the Baltic sea island of Ruegen.
Seehofer said that Germany was likely to report more bird flu cases in coming days and that local government authorities had been slow in responding to the disease.
A further 80 dead wild birds are currently being tested for bird flu. Seehofer said he was concerned that district authorities on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had still not collected all dead birds on the third day after the first cases had been confirmed.
Under Germany's strict federal-based constitution, small local district councils have responsibility for animal heath, not the national Agriculture Ministry or state ministries.
This week government brought forward a ban on keeping farm poultry out of doors to today just hours after the ministry had changed the date to Feb. 20 from March 1.
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