Research has shown that new cases of bird flu are frequently the result of human activity and not direct infection from wild birds.
People carry the virus into premises on contaminated shoes, clothes, machines, animal feed and bedding, according to the results of a 5-year pan-European study.
Professor Thomas Mettenleiter, head of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute for Animal Research in Germany has just completed coordinating the EU-funded DELTA-FLU project, which set out to determine the key viral, host-related and environmental factors that determine the dynamics of avian influenza.
“More care must be taken when handling poultry and biosecurity measures need to be stepped up,” said Mettenleiter.
As an output of the study, the research team have drafted guidelines for higher hygiene standards for personnel working with flocks in lockdown. The hope is that these guidelines will be adopted across Europe.