Infectious Diseases 2007

Infectious Diseases 2007

A Human Chlamydophila psittaci case after culling of H5N1-positive ducks

30 November, 2007

In late August 2007, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus (HPAIV) of subtype H5N1 was reported in a large duck farm in Wachenroth, in the county Erlangen-Höchstadt, state of Bavaria, in Southern Germany (index farm). Daily mortality among ducklings was approximately 2% and the presence of HPAIV H5N1 was confirmed in several samples.  Protection and observation zones were installed according to German legislation, and over 165,000 animals were subsequently culled. The epidemiological contact investigation of the flocks led to the identification of H5 infection of ducks in two other farms in the nearby county of Schwandorf (contact farms 1 and 2). The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health in Germany, confirmed the presence of the Asian lineage of HPAIV H5N1. Culling of another 205,000 ducks was started at these two sites on 7 September, exactly two weeks after the first outbreak. Two days later, low pathogenic avian influenza A virus (LPAIV) of subtype H5N8 was detected in two farms (contact farms 3 and 4) in the two adjacent counties of Rottal-Inn and Dingolfing in Bavaria (approximately 250 kilometres away from the index farm). On these five farms, 438,000 animals were culled. A specialised company from the Netherlands was commissioned to perform the culling.
On 22 September, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment; (RIVM) of the Netherlands informed the Robert Koch Institute, its German counterpart, about a Dutch poultry worker hospitalised with high fever and radiologically confirmed pneumonia who was reported to have been involved in the culling in contact farms 1 and 4.
The case was diagnosed as: Chlamydophila psittaci (www.eurosurveillance.org).