Germany after bird flu

About 30,000 turkeys and ducks were culled in Germany over the weekend after bird flu was found on two farms, authorities said on Monday.

Some 21,600 turkeys were culled on a farm in Soest in North Rhine Westfalia and 9,500 ducks were culled on a farm in Moeser in Saxony-Anhalt after the virulent H5N8 bird flu strain was discovered on both farms, regional authorities said.

The contagious H5N8 strain has been found in about 540 wild birds in Germany in recent weeks but few cases were found on farms as the crucial Christmas season for poultry sales starts.

The German government has introduced tougher sanitary rules to prevent infection by wild birds including orders to keep poultry indoors in high-risk regions plus immediate culling of birds on infected farms.

A series of European countries and Israel have found cases of H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks and some ordered poultry flocks be kept indoors to prevent the disease spreading.

France has widened high-risk restrictions to the entire country after the detection of several cases of the H5N8 strain in farms. A case of H5N8 bird flu was also reported on a farm in Britain on Friday.

Overall, the trained group found 51 early melanomas during the study, compared to 18 melanomas found by a comparison group of patients and partners who didn’t receive training.

Among people who received the skin exam training, the researchers found a steep increase in their confidence at performing skin exams between the start of the study and four months later.

“Their confidence level goes up and plateaus at eight to 12 months, and it doesn’t go down,” said Robinson.

The exams didn’t become more embarrassing or less comfortable, either.

The new results show people can ask friends or relatives to help examine their bodies for suspicious moles, said Robinson.

“That’s a simple enough statement, and people are not put off by that,” she said.

Bringing this program into the mainstream presents some challenges, however. Each person in the study was trained on how to find melanoma and attended booster sessions every four months.