The state veterinary services on Saturday released a statement saying that cases of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, have been identified at two locations in Cyprus.

Avian influenza is a viral, contagious disease that affects birds caused by the Influenza A virus.

Healthy birds become infected either directly, through direct contact with other infected or sick birds, or indirectly through contaminated objects.

Bird flu is usually carried from one country to another by migratory birds.

“The cases were detected in two private collections of waterfowl in the Famagusta district and the premises where the disease manifested itself have been immediately placed under restriction,” the services said.

“From the first moment of diagnosis, owners of poultry farms and veterinarians were informed and attention has been drawn to take strict biosecurity measures to prevent the risk of spreading the virus and protect poultry farms,” the statement added.

At the same time, the veterinary services said that they are in contact with the local reference laboratory, in order to send materials to determine the virulence of the virus that has been identified.

“We inform the owners of domestic poultry that they must limit their birds to closed covered areas to avoid their direct and indirect contact with wild birds,” the services said, noting that this is especially true for communities adjacent to wetlands.

In addition, the services stated, it is strictly forbidden to keep poultry in the open, to provide food and water outdoors, and to avoid giving and making available food in a way that would encourage the opportunity to feed wild birds from the food left for domestically raised birds.

It is also prohibited to give poultry water from surface water reservoirs to which wild birds have access.

Any owner who sees increased morbidity or mortality of poultry which raises suspicion that the disease may be present is obliged, based on the animal health laws, to immediately inform the official veterinary officer of their respective district or their nearest police station.

Below are the contact details of each district veterinary office:

District Veterinary Office of Nicosia, tel: 22 805241

Districtl Veterinary Office of Larnaca, tel: 24 821275

District Veterinary Office of Famagusta, tel: 24 824555

Limassol District Veterinary Office, tel: 25 819512

District Veterinary Office of Paphos, tel: 26 821261