Berlin, Aug. 1 (EFE) – The Finnish Food Agency on Tuesday ordered the slaughter of all mink from fur farms with confirmed cases of bird flu to prevent the virus from mutating and infecting humans.
The H5N1 strain has been detected in at least 20 fur farms in Finland last week, mainly in the Midbotten and Southbotten districts (middle), and the first orders were issued to eliminate the populations in the affected facilities .
“The slaughter has only just started, so there is no information yet on the number of animals slaughtered. On large farms, the slaughter process takes several days,” food agency chief Terhi Laaksonen said today. The report collected by the public chain “Yle”.
“The spread of the disease varies greatly between different fur farms. The number of sick animals is in the thousands,” Laksonen added.
According to Yle, the current slaughter order affects about 50,000 fur mink.
The agency will also look at what to do with fox and raccoon farms, but will consider them on a case-by-case basis rather than making a blanket decision to cull the animals.
According to the entity, the risk associated with minks is that they have certain receptors in their airways to which both avian and human influenza viruses can attach.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) warned last month, that means these mammals constitute an ideal environment for the virus to mutate, so strains capable of infecting humans could emerge.
Late last year, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza occurred on an American mink farm in Galicia, Spain, which, according to researchers, came from wild birds.