TALLINN - Wild pigeons could be responsible for spreading a bird disease that has affected one of Estonia's largest poultry farms.
Over 200,000 hens may have to be culled at the Tallegg egg-laying farm near Tallinn after veterinary authorities declared a suspected outbreak of Newcastle disease.
The disease can wipe out bird stocks but has little impact on humans. Nevertheless, it is considered a serious disease because of its potential to impact the poultry industry.
Blood samples taken from the Tallegg farm will be analyzed at the Veterinary and Food Board laboratory, with results expected on Oct. 26. Further tests could be conducted and sent to the United Kingdom for deeper analysis.
It is the second case of Newcastle disease in Estonia in recent months. In August a farm in south Estonia culled more than 5,000 hens after an outbreak was identified.
Veterinary and Food Board director Ago Partel said, if confirmed, the Tallegg outbreak could be traced to wild birds.
"It is found in natural birds, such as wild pigeons. There is no risk to human health, it is purely a poultry disease," Partel said.
Tallegg, which is Estonia's largest producer of chicken meat and eggs, refused to respond to media questions.