Two deadly viruses discovered in animals in the Czech Republic

While humans need not worry about catching the viruses, the discovery will affect the operation of farms and ranges in certain areas.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 02.12.2022 13:00:00 (updated on 02.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Two separate cases of serious animal diseases – African swine fever and bird flu – were confirmed by the State Vetinerary Administration (SVS) in the Czech Republic yesterday. The sites of detection are currently being monitored and there is no reason for undue alarm.

Novinky.cz reports that African swine fever was detected Thursday in a dead wild boar in a north Bohemian nature range on the border with Poland. The virus is deadly in the vast majority of cases, and cannot be transmitted from animals to humans.

African swine fever first appeared in Czechia in 2017. Between 2017 and 2018, over 200 boars infected with the virus had been reported, before stringent restrictions on movement and breeding led to the country being announced free of the virus in 2021.

According to SVS Director for the Ústí nad Labem region Daniel Macháček, the boar most likely traveled from Poland. The movement of the wild animal population and domestic pig farms will now be controlled in the area where the animal was found, in Frýdlant. Both Germany and Poland have also reported cases, which are now spreading in both countries.

Bird flu strikes again

A few hundred kilometers away on a duck farm in Jindřichův Hradec, South Bohemia, thousands of ducks have recently died from the bird flu (H5N1) virus. “The source of infection is apparently wild waterfowl. The breeder did not rule out that the poultry in the farm came into contact with wild water birds,” were the words of SVS press spokesman Petr Vorlíček in Seznam Zprávy.

Veterinarians at the farm will also define “a 3-kilometer protective zone and a 10-kilometer surveillance zone” around the confirmed outbreak. The movement of poultry will be restricted (as will breeding), and a ban on the organization of mass events, such as stock exchanges or poultry exhibitions, will be imposed.

Although very rare, bird flu can spread from animals to humans. Data from the World Health Organization shows that a total of 868 cases have been reported worldwide from 2003 (the year that this particular strain was detected) to October 2022. Of those, over 50 percent died.

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The Czech Republic has faced repeated outbreaks of bird flu in recent years. In the first half of this year, 10 had been announced in the country. Late last year, a farm in the country culled 80,000 following an outbreak. 

"If you look at the map of Europe, it was to be expected. The situation is better this year than it was last year, we were waiting for when it would [get worse], but we didn't expect it to be today," were the words of František Kouba, the director of the South Bohemian Veterinary Administration in iDnes

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