H5N8 AVIAN INFLUENZA has been confirmed on a small German laying hen farm in the east of the country.

It marks the most western case of the strain in a commercial poultry unit that has established itself across Eastern and Central Europe this winter.

It is the first of its kind in Germany – until now the strain had only been detected in a wild bird earlier this year.

The farm was a smallholding near Bad Lausick, a town in the Leipzig district in the Free State of Saxony.

Local authorities culled birds on the farm and imposed a restriction zone around the site as investigations into the source began.

The H5N8 high-path strain of avian influenza has been discovered on farms in Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, among others, since late 2019.

It is thought that wild birds are behind the disease spread.