Avian flu persists in Europes top poultry raising nations
Flavio Takemoto, Freeimages.com
France, Germany, Poland, Italy and UK confirm new cases of avian influenza
In the last week, national veterinary agencies have confirmed new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry in France, Germany, Poland, Italy and the United Kingdom (U.K.).
France: Number of outbreaks exceeds 260
There have been 263 confirmed outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 virus in French poultry flocks, according to a ministry of agriculture report dated February 16. That is an increase of 36 for the week.
According to the ministry’s latest weekly report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), a further 32 new outbreaks have been confirmed. These involved at least 65,000 poultry, and more than 54,000 birds have been culled preemptively in an attempt to gain control over the spread of the disease in selected regions in the south-west of the country.
As part of the procedure for testing wild and domestic poultry for the H5N8 HPAI virus, the veterinary service has also detected a low-pathogenic H5N2 virus in three poultry flocks, affecting almost 5,000 birds, which have all been humanely destroyed.
New HPAI outbreaks in commercial poultry in Germany, Poland, the UK and Italy
According to Germany’s federal ministry of food and agriculture (BMEL), the number of HPAI outbreaks has reached 66, including zoos and animal parks – an increase of eight from the previous week.
The ministry reported 23 new H5N8 outbreaks to the OIE in its most recent weekly report - four of these were in commercial poultry. All these were in turkey flocks, and more than 48,000 birds died or were destroyed as a result. Two backyard flocks also tested positive for the virus.
In Poland, four farms – two in the same community - and three backyard flocks have been confirmed with HPAI, according to the latest OIE report. More than 12,000 poultry died and a further 308,000 have been destroyed.
Culling is underway of a flock of more than 23,000 broiler breeders at Redgrave in the county of Suffolk in eastern England. Mortality increased in two of the three poultry houses on this farm, and the H5N8 virus was subsequently detected in the birds.
Italy’s Ministry of Health has reported to the OIE one new HPAI outbreak in a flock of more than 14,000 fattening turkeys at Mantua in the Lombardy region in the north of the country.
According to the Italian health authority and research institute for animal health, IZSVe, the birds showed symptoms of HPAI over previous days, and culling of the flock will take place shortly.
Over the last week, one or more backyard poultry flocks have tested positive for the H5N8 HPAI virus in Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
HPAI virus detected in wild and captive birds
According to reports sent to the OIE by the national agencies in the last week, the H5N8 virus has also been confirmed in one of more wild birds in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK.
Highly pathogenic H5N5 avian influenza has been detected for the first time in the Czech Republic - in a dead swan and a small flock of poultry at a zoo.
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