Infectious Diseases 2017

Infectious Diseases 2017

DEFRA: HPAI H5N8 in the UK and Europe

9 August, 2017

H5N8 HPAI has been confirmed in the UK in a dead wild mute swan in Norfolk. 
In Europe, reports of H5N8 HPAI have continued in a number of countries. Since the 19th July, Italy has reported twelve outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI: three in the Verona region, seven in Mantova, one in Lombardy and one in Parma. All were in fattening turkeys except for one outbreak in Mantova that was in layer hens and one in Lombardy in geese, just 50 km from a recent wild bird finding.
There have been 10 outbreaks in captive birds and 2 in poultry in Belgium. Luxembourg also reported disease for the first time this season, in four captive bird holdings, while France also reported a single outbreak in a holding just over the border from Belgium.
Elsewhere, the H5N8 HPAI virus also continues to be reported in South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreaks reported in Zimbabwe have been rapidly controlled and not led to further spread.
In South East Asia other avian influenza serotypes continue to be reported, including H5N1, H5N2, H5N6 as well as H5N8.
Russia has just recently reported an outbreak in backyard poultry in Moscow region.
The presence of virus in a mute swan in Norfolk confirms that disease has continued to circulate as expected at a very low level in resident wild water fowl for several months, as it is considered very unlikely this bird is anything other than a resident bird. It is certain that the H5N8 virus has not gone away and therefore in the coming months all Member States may see more outbreaks in poultry and cases in wild. For the UK, the main migratory season for overwintering wild waterfowl will usually start in September with some of the early arrivals, and with a peak occurring between November and February. In terms of the other EU MSs, the cases in Belgium, France and Luxembourg were all associated with contact through markets and this reinforces the issue of allowing unlicensed gatherings and markets to take place when the risk of avian influenza is increased. The cases in Italy are still under investigation but given the close proximity to each other and that most are the same type of poultry, there may have been some common contact which has spread disease locally; three of the fattening turkey holdings were within the 10km PZ of the positive layer hen holding.