SOFIA (Reuters) - A bird flu outbreak in Bulgaria has spread to at least 26 farms, the Agriculture Ministry said, nearly double the figure announced on Dec. 30.
A nation-wide ban on hunting of game birds would take immediate effect and a mass cull of birds would be launched in a bid to contain the outbreak, the ministry said in a statement.
"By Thursday, the veterinary authorities will cull more than 110,000 birds, mainly ducks," Food Safety Agency spokesman Martin Radev told Reuters.
The southern region of Plovdiv was most affected by the highly pathogenic virus H5N8, Radev said.
Bulgaria has already introduced a nationwide ban on poultry markets and has banned fishing in lakes and wetlands inhabited by wild migrating birds.
Germany, France, Ireland, and Israel are among countries to have found cases of the strain in recent weeks. The Czech Republic announced its first outbreak in a decade on Wednesday.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova and Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky