more than 665,000 birds and there are still two months of epidemic

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First there were four wild swans and a common stork killed along the Segre riverbed. Then came the disaster. Spain has slaughtered more than 665,000 birds in a single month. The H5N1 flu has crept into poultry farms (hens and turkeys) in Castilla y León and Andalusia. Only in Carmona (Seville) 292,000 have been sacrificed; in Íscar (Valladolid) they have 163,000 laying hens.


The worst outbreak in the history of Spain. Until now, the country had managed to emerge unscathed from most major outbreaks of bird flu. However, this time things have changed. Nine provinces have already detected wild birds with the virus and four (Seville, Huelva, Valladolid and Segovia) have had outbreaks on farms; there are some that work in the open sky, but also (and this is more worrying) those that keep the animals in ships.

The day France slaughtered 800,000 ducks: what Spain is trying to prevent by forced marches by confining poultry in half the country

And we are not at the end of the epidemic Avian flu, like the rest of the flu, is a very seasonal virus. That may be the real problem right now: we still have two cold months to go before the weather turns in our favor and the epidemic fades. Meanwhile, especially if the drought persists, outbreaks will continue to occur until the entire poultry sector is on the ropes.

The drought? Yes, one of the key factors in this outbreak is drought. When water flows are scarce, wetlands dry up and riverbeds thin, wild birds tend to congregate where they can to stay hydrated. That overcrowding causes flu outbreaks to grow and spread faster.

The dimension of the problem. Economically, the problem is quite serious and the massive sacrifices give a good account of it. In the health aspect, fortunately and for now, the risk of transmission to humans is very low. In recent years, we have seen more and more avian strains jump to humans, but they have been isolated cases that have come to nothing. In that sense, as long as the monitoring systems are working, we can rest easy. Never forgetting that the next pandemic flu is yet to come.

Image | Brooke Cage

First there were four wild swans and a common stork killed along the Segre riverbed. Then came the disaster. Spain…

First there were four wild swans and a common stork killed along the Segre riverbed. Then came the disaster. Spain…

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