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Bird flu spreads in Czech Republic’s largest outbreak

In this file photo dated July 12, 2007, sanitary workers inspect a poultry farm in Kosorin village, 160 km east of Prague, after two outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is potentially fatal to humans, were confirmed at poultry farms in the centre of the Czech Republic. (MICHAL CIZEK / AFP)

PRAGUE – Czech authorities will destroy all 750,000 hens on a poultry farm at the center of its worst outbreak of bird flu so far as the disease spread between halls.

Bird flu was first detected last week at the farm, located 150 km (90 miles) west from Prague, in one of its three halls, and authorities on Tuesday had begun preparations to cull up to 220,000 birds.

Czech authorities have required poultry farms to keep flocks indoors since November, but it has seen an uptick in cases in recent weeks

But the Czech Republic's State Veterinary Administration (SVS) said on Wednesday a further spread on the farm had led it to decide to cull all the birds there.

"Despite measures taken and other efforts, it was not possible to prevent the spread of the highly contagious poultry disease to further halls and the whole farm will have to be culled," the SVS said.

ALSO READ: France detects bird flu at turkey farm

The virus can be transmitted to humans in contact with poultry, but experts say the health risk to humans is low.

Czech authorities have required poultry farms to keep flocks indoors since November, but it has seen an uptick in cases in recent weeks.

Bird flu is pressuring already high food prices and triggering trade restrictions from countries that import poultry.

READ MORE: Bird flu detected at Dutch farm; 168,000 chickens to be culled

A record number of chickens, turkeys and other birds have died in outbreaks in the United States and Europe, and the virus is spreading in South America, Africa, and Asia.