An outbreak of H5N8 avian influenza has infected birds at a fattening turkey holding in Porto Viro, Italy. The outbreak marks the first time since August 2013 that the virus has been found in Italy.

According to a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), high mortality rates were found at the holding, with 1,219 turkeys dying. A total of 31,985 birds were susceptible.

Culling was scheduled to begin on December 16. Other control measures implemented include movement control inside the country and zoning. The infected premises will be vaccinated.

While reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction tests proved positive for avian influenza, the results of intravenous pathogenicity index and gene sequencing tests are pending. All tests have been performed at a national laboratory.


The exact cause of the Italian avian influenza outbreaks has not yet been determined.

With the outbreak, Italy becomes the latest in a series of European countries to be affected by avian influenza in recent months, as outbreaks have also been reported in the Netherlands, U.K. and Germany. Outside of Europe, recent avian influenza outbreaks have occurred in Canada, Japan, India and Japan.

OIE stated that it would submit weekly updates on the avian influenza situation in Italy until it is resolved.