Belgian food safety authorities have announced a 3rd commercial poultry farm in the country has been infected with Newcastle Disease, marking the 17th case in the country since April.
Measures to control the disease are similar to those for avian influenza, with a 3km protection zone, and a wider 10km surveillance zone in around the site near Waregem, in the north west of the country. An additional measure ordered by authorities will see all birds kept within 500m of the site culled as a precaution.
It is understood the birds were vaccinated against Newcastle Disease, but the infection was able to overcome the protection this afforded. Belgium has been battling a number of outbreaks of ND in backyard flocks, but in July 3 commercial flocks were also infected.
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Newcastle Disease is highly contagious, and can infect all species of poultry and birds. A virulent strain will first see birds showing respiratory distress, with tremors, paralysis and twisting of the neck also common. Extremely high mortality is also common, and the disease is spread by contact with other birds.
FASFC, the Belgian food safety authority, insisted there was no risk to humans through the consumption of poultrymeat or eggs, and said vaccination – alongside strict biosecurity – remained the most effective way to control the disease.