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Vets declare bird flue protection zone in Bratislava's Devin area

THE REGIONAL Food and Veterinary Administration has declared a protection zone in Devín and Devínska Nová Ves near Bratislava due to the suspected presence of bird flu in the Austrian border town of Hainburg.

Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon told the TASR news wire on Tuesday that the state veterinary authority had banned free-range poultry farming throughout Bratislava, meaning that all poultry had to be kept under shelter until further notice. The hunting of wild birds is also prohibited.

The veterinary authority also ordered farmers to report any changes in their poultry stocks, such as a drop in feed intake of over 20 percent, or a weekly mortality rate of at least 3 percent.

According to the minister, there is no serious threat.

None of the 1,600 bird-flu samples taken since February when bird flu was confirmed in Slovakia for the first time have tested positive for the particularly dangerous H5N1 virus.

"Slovak territory is clean, and the virus has only been discovered in wild fowl," the minister said.

Slovakia confirmed the presence of H5N1 avian flu in two samples taken from dead birds in the country on February 23.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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