After a brief absence, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has returned to the Italian poultry sector, while veterinary authorities in Taiwan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have reported new outbreaks.

Europe: Two confirmed outbreaks in Italy

Last week, the Italian health authority and research organization for animal health and food safety (IZSVe) reported two new outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 virus had been confirmed in the province of Mantua in Lombardy. Affected were a flock of 18,900 three-month-old female fattening turkeys, which had experienced a sudden increase in mortality, and backyard flock of three ducks.

A third suspected outbreak in a commercial layer flock in the same area was still to be confirmed.

Only at the beginning of July were control measures lifted following a previous HPAI outbreak in a turkey flock in the same province that had started at the end of May.

Asia: New cases reported in Taiwan

Taiwan’s veterinary authority has informed the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about six new outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 virus in recent weeks. Affecting a total of almost 96,000 native chickens, the cases were identified at a slaughterhouse in Kaohsiung city and at five farms in Yunlin county.

Africa: Further outbreaks in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) village flocks

Since the H5N8 HPAI virus was first detected in poultry in DRC in May, a further three outbreaks have been confirmed. All were in village flocks in the Ituri region. The number of birds involved is not recorded, but 348 are known to have died. The latest outbreaks bring the total in the region to 26.

One new human cases of H7N9 influenza in China

According to the latest weekly figures from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) in Hong Kong, the total number of confirmed human cases of influenza A(H7N9) since early 2013 remains at 1,556. The figure includes 750 cases recorded in Mainland China since October 2016.

In a later update, CHP announced there has been one new human case of the disease in Nanjing in Jiangsu province. The patient, a woman, is known to have visited a live poultry market.