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FAQ – Avian Influenza (bird flu)

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) is working to ensure that Danish birds and poultry are not infected with bird flu. Therefore, our FAQ focuses on bird flu in birds, poultry and other animals, and how humans can avoid bringing infection to animals in Denmark.

Am I allowed to inoculate my backyard chickens against bird flu?
No, you are not. Until further notice, inoculation against bird flu is generally forbidden in the EU. Inoculation cannot prevent infection of the animals inoculated, but will suppress any symptoms and reduce the amount of virus discharged by the infected animals. In this way, inoculated animals may act as germ carriers, and there is a risk that they will spread the infection to other poultry.
 
Is it safe to eat poultry meat?
Yes, there is no risk involved in eating cooked poultry. As always, when you have been in contact with meat, you must wash your hands thoroughly and cook the meat well. Similarly, eggs should be boiled/fried thoroughly. Virus is killed at 70°C.
 
Is it safe to eat poultry eggs?
Yes, there is no risk involved in eating eggs from healthy chickens. As always, when you have been in contact with eggs or other raw products from animals, you should wash your hands thoroughly, and eggs must be boiled/fried thoroughly. Virus is killed at 70°C.
 
Is it safe to eat pasteurised eggs?
Yes, there is no risk involved in eating pasteurised eggs, pasteurised egg whites or yolks.
 
We keep chickens in our backyard. How do we protect our chicken yard?
  • Purchase chickens from stocks tested free of bird flu within the past two months. 
  • Keep the chickens in an enclosure covered with permanent roofing. 
  • Do not let strangers go near the chickens and do not go near other chickens yourself. 
  • Keep the entry to the chicken yard clean. 
  • Feeding shall take place indoors. 
  • Watering shall take place indoors and not with caught rain water. 
  • Pools of water or small ponds in the chicken yard should be drained, if possible. 
  • Separate gallinaceans from web-footed birds. 
  • Shoes, etc. worn in outdoor areas where especially water birds rest (marshes, parks, etc.) should not be used in areas with domestic poultry. 
  • Wash your hands after every contact with poultry. 
  • If you go abroad, you should not have contact with poultry within 48 hours after your return.
How is bird flu spread from fowl to fowl?
Infected animals discharge virus through their airways and droppings. Infection is easily transmitted with feed and water containing virus. Infection may also be transmitted passively by clothes and shoes, feed sacks, non-disinfected brood eggs, tools, machinery, etc.
 
How can you see if a bird is infected?
The classic clinical symptoms of bird flu are sudden high mortality, discontinued egg-laying, airways symptoms, inflammation of the eyes with watery eyes, diarrh​oea and possibly fluid accumulation and discolouration of the skin, especially in the head. Web-footed birds, which are not particularly susceptible to the disease, only show weak or no clinical symptoms.
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What do migratory birds do that is dangerous to poultry?
Migratory birds may land in uncovered enclosures with, for example, free-range chickens or ducks. In flight, wild birds can spot any feed put out, which is why there is a risk that they bring infection to the flock through their droppings and by mingling with domestic chickens and ducks before moving on again.
 
What do I do if I see many dead and sick birds in the countryside?
If you find dead birds in the countryside, you must contact the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
 
Have rules been laid down for the destruction of animals if an infectious disease breaks out?
Yes, rules have been laid down ensuring animals that are to be destroyed in connection with public disease control are disposed according to the EU regulation 1069/2009.
 
Last Modified 18. November 2016