MILAN, Italy, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- A new virulent strain of bird flu, or avian influenza, was detected on a poultry farm near the Italian city of Bologna, the second in the country this month, the health ministry reported on Wednesday.
The ministry said in a statement that it was stepping up controls in coordination with the European Commission. All chickens on the farm -- around 500,000 -- will be culled, according to European rules.
Local media said it was a mild H7 version of the bird flu virus which was not dangerous to human health but could mutate into one that is highly contagious and deadly for chickens.
A transport ban was established in an area of over 10 km around the farm, while control measures and veterinary supervision on farms as well as bio-security measures were also further intensified as a precaution.
According to the health ministry, it was the second time in August that bird flu was detected in Italy. Last week, nearly 130,000 chickens were culled in another farm belonging to the same group in the nearby city of Ferrara.