Infectious Diseases 2021

Infectious Diseases 2021

Germany: H5N8 in dead seals

20 September, 2021

Avian influenza virus has been detected in three dead seals found in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea. First, several dead seals were examined at the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Büsum, announced the Ministry of the Environment on Monday. The virus subtype H5N8 was detected in two animals. The Friedrich Loeffler Institute as the national reference laboratory has now confirmed the infection in three samples. According to initial investigations, there is a great similarity to the avian influenza viruses detected in wild birds in recent months. The ministry said that H5N8 viruses had already spread to mammals in four seals, a gray seal and a fox in Great Britain and in one gray seal in Sweden this year. Since mid-August, a slight accumulation of dead and still living conspicuous seals in the Wadden Sea has been found.According to the ministry, the population of seals in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea was around 15,400 animals last year. No figures are yet available for the current year.
In 2014 and 2015 there was a nationwide seal death caused by an influenza virus of the subtype H10N7.