The avian flu virus has been confirmed at a poultry farm in Germany for the first time.
The virus was found at one of Saxony's largest poultry farms, the Ministry for Social Affairs in Saxony said Wednesday.
A nearly 2-mile protection zone was established around the farm, located east of Leipzig, Deutsche Welle reported. Officials said they have slaughtered 700 turkeys at the farm and plan to kill some 16,000 more.
A high death rate among turkeys at the farm alerted authorities to the danger, Germany's Friedrich Loeffler Institute for Animal Health said.
State veterinarians say the birds have been regularly checked for bird flu and did not show any signs of the virus or virus anti-bodies during tests at the farm two weeks ago.
The H5N1 virus has been found in wild birds in seven of Germany's states, reaching Berlin late last month when a dead buzzard found in the city was confirmed to have had the virus.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: USDA: Many factors considered amid animal disease outbreaks