ROME, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Italian authorities on Monday ordered the cull of some 20,000 turkeys, after an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza was confirmed in a farm in the northeast of the country.
The outbreak was discovered in the farm at the outskirts of the town of Mira in Venice province on Saturday, according to the epidemiological surveillance service of the Veneto region.
Preventative seizure of the farm was adopted immediately to avoid the spread of the disease, and the presence of the highly contagious H5N8 virus was confirmed by health authorities on Monday.
Of the 20,500 turkeys overall at risk in the commercial farm, some 6,000 were infected, and 600 died of the virus, the Italian health authority for animal health and food safety (Izsv) said.
As a result, it was ordered the "immediate slaughter of all captive turkeys on the site," the mayor of Mira said in a statement.
City authorities also upheld the seizure of the factory, and imposed a strict sanitary surveillance zone around it.
As due in such cases, the Italian government has reported the outbreak to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris.
The outbreak is the first detected among poultry, the Izsv stated.
Also on Monday, the H5N8 virus was confirmed in a wild swan, which had been found dead in the province of Gorizia at the border with Slovenia.
Italy had already reported three bird flu cases (with different variants of the virus) in wild birds in the northeast on Dec. 28, Jan. 5, and Jan. 10.