The highly contagious avian influenza virus H5N1 has been detected in three mallards in the Harburg district.

The district administration therefore ordered poultry to be stabled in the area of ​​the Lower Elbe lowlands on Tuesday, an area where wild birds prefer to rest.

The order will apply from next Friday (October 29th).

The migratory behavior of the birds favors the transmission and spread of the virus, said Thorsten Völker, head of the order and consumer protection department of the district administration, which also includes the veterinary office.

"The density of the bird populations in the resting areas will continue to increase sharply in the coming weeks because the bird migration has only just begun."

Protecting poultry is a top priority.

The outbreak of avian influenza could have immense economic consequences for all poultry farmers, slaughterhouses and processing industries, Völker continued.

The area affected by the compulsory stabling includes the entire Elbmarsch community as well as northern parts of the city of Winsen, the community of Stelle and the community of Seevetal.

In the municipality of Brunsbüttel in the district of Dithmarschen in Schleswig-Holstein, the outbreak of avian influenza was detected in a goose fattening farm.

The established 10-kilometer surveillance zone extends into the district of Cuxhaven.

Poultry farmers in parts of the Neuhaus / Oste and Geversdorf areas must therefore house their animals from Thursday, according to the district administration.

Avian influenza is an infectious disease that occurs mainly in water birds.

The epidemic is particularly rampant in the winter months and is therefore closely related to bird migration.

The pathogen is considered to be harmless to humans.