Denmark on Monday began culling 36,000 turkeys at a farm where the birds have been infected with the highly contagious Avian influenza H5N1, also known as bird flu, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration announced.
The farm, where the virus was first confirmed on Jan. 1, is located near the town of Stokkemarke in Lolland municipality.
In a statement, the department which comes under the Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, said the outbreak has hit turkeys in one of the farm's seven buildings and the entire herd must be killed to prevent the spread of infection.
"We have no cure for bird flu, so we have to kill all the turkeys to stop the outbreak and prevent the spread of infection,” said Charlotte Vilstrup, veterinarian and office manager at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. “It is sad that we now have to kill so many animals again and at the same time a great loss of resources for society.”
The task will take several days to complete, and the work is being carried out in a collaboration between the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the Danish Emergency Management Agency.
Once the task is completed, the entire property will be cleaned and disinfected, the press release added.
Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a type of zoonotic (or animal) influenza that affects wild birds and poultry, according to the World Health Organization. It has occasionally infected humans; however, it does not easily transmit between humans.
The majority of human cases of avian influenza have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry.
Since it was first reported in Hong Kong in 1997, the disease has been responsible for human outbreaks and deaths in 16 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.