Earlier this month, Europe is in a state of alarm as news of the contagious bird flu arrives in the continent. Just this week, a case of this highly contagious bird flu has been confirmed at a farm in the Czech Republic. According to the spokesman of the State Veterinary Administration Petr Vorlicek, the highly contagious H5N8 subtype that is lethal for birds is found at a small farm 150 kilometers southeast of Prague. 

Vorlicek explains that the infection at the farm located in Stepanov nad Svratkou was most likely carried and imported by the migratory water birds. The SVS clarified early on that the H5N8 has never been reported to infect and spread to humans. The farm where the case was reported bred three ducks and 12 hens -- six of which are infected with the virus and immediately died two days after. The rest of the poultry that the farm owns were collected on Saturday morning to ensure safety. According to the head of the State Veterinary Administration Zbynek Semerad, the agency will have to create a ten-kilometer protected area around the farm to prevent further contamination or the spread of the virus.

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Last Friday, the French farm union, Coordination rurale, declared that H5N8 has been detected in farms in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania as well as migratory birds in Poland. The union immediately warned the authorities to halt shipments from infected countries and alert the agents in Customs about the risk. 

The union also reminded everyone of the dire consequence of the 2017 epidemic when French poultry farms and produces of foie gras were directly affected when millions of poultry were culled in the continent. In a report by The Associated Press, authorities in western Poland, they have already ordered the culling of at least 65,000 hen at a farm affected by bird flu. Experts theorized that the infection may have spread from the east. 

Andrzej Zarnecki, the regional veterinarian, said that a crisis team will be meeting on Friday in the city of Poznan to decide containment measures while the laboratory experts are working to identify the virus at the hen farm. Unfortunately, the order to kill the poultry and destroy the carcasses was a big blow to the ones who run the farm like Krzysztof Borowczyk (he runs the farm affected by H5N8 in western Poland). 

The authorities in eastern Poland had confirmed that itas the H5N8 virus that killed 40,000 turkeys and geese at a poultry farm near the Polish borders in Ukraine and Belarus. 


Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 is considered to be the less pathogenic subtype towards humans compared to the earlier H1N1 virus. Its common symptoms are described as flu-like: infected individuals may exhibit fever, chills, headache, coughing, and weakness. It was also reported that conjunctivitis may occur to those who are infected with the virus. It is common practice that when a poultry farm is confirmed to be infected with H5N8, the birds will undergo a selective slaughter or more commonly known as culling. Neighboring areas should be inspected as well. 

However, experts clarify that the H5N8 subtype of influenza is not transferrable to humans.