Governments in Europe are taking various steps to prevent the spread of bird flu after there were fears that wild birds migrating west from Russia could carry the disease to Europe.

In the Netherlands, which destroyed around 30 million chickens during an outbreak of the disease there in 2003, ordered farmers to keep their free-range chickens indoors in a bid to prevent another outbreak, reported The Guardian. More than 5 million chickens are estimated to be affected by the request. A further 80 million chickens are already reared inside.

The latest H5N1 outbreak was discovered in Siberia in mid-July, and so far the disease is not thought to have crossed the Ural mountain range into Europe.

France said the risk of the disease being carried into Europe by migrating birds was limited, but its Agriculture Ministry said it had urged French poultry producers to be vigilant for any signs of the disease in their flocks, reported Reuters.

Meanwhile, the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was not considering any plans to order UK farmers to keep poultry indoors.