Poland’s avian flu outbreaks in poultry pass 200

In Poland, the number of new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) shows no sign of easing.

Avian Flu Illustration

In Poland, the number of new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) shows no sign of easing. 

Over the past week, the nation’s chief veterinary office has confirmed a further 59 outbreaks in poultry starting in the period April 9-19. All were linked to the H5N8 HPAI virus subtype, and they included 17 outbreaks in non-commercial flocks.

Involving more than 2.06 million birds in these outbreaks alone, the virus was detected in poultry flocks in 10 different provinces. Worst affected in terms of outbreaks is Mazovia with a total of 36, many in the counties of Mlawa and Zuromin. Among the affected premises were one with 156,000 breeder hens, another with 271,000 broiler chickens, and a third with 305,000 laying hens — all in the province of Mazovia. 

The latest outbreaks bring Poland’s total so far this year to 202, and directly related poultry losses of more than 3.48 million.

According to the European Reference Lab for avian influenza, IZSVe, 167 wild birds have also tested positive to HPAI in Poland since the start of winter. 

Outbreaks of HPAI in European poultry approach 900

As of April 18, the number of HPAI outbreaks in poultry in 18 European states so far this year stands at 893. This is according to the Animal Disease Notification System of the European Commission (EC) in its latest update. This is an increase of 109 since the previous update two weeks earlier. 

Worst affected has been France with 429 outbreaks, but just one has been added to this total. Poland’s total stood at 190 on that date, and Germany’s at 185 — 15 more than previously registered. Seven more outbreaks were recorded by the Czech Republic, bringing its total so far this year to 33. Hungary also registered one new outbreak. 

During the whole of 2020, 16 European states reported a total of 442 HPAI outbreaks in poultry to the EC system.

Romania, Sweden register new HPAI outbreaks

After a brief hiatus, Romania has reported the return of the H5H5 HPAI virus in its poultry population. According to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), this variant was detected in a backyard flock in the westernmost county of Timis in mid-February.  All 14 of the birds died.

In the south of Sweden, the H5N8 HPAI virus subtype has been detected in an organic laying flock of 18,000 birds. The affected premises was in Eslov in the county of Skane. This brings the region’s total outbreaks so far this year to seven. 

European countries reporting to the OIE that there have been no new cases of HPAI in poultry are Croatia and Finland.

HPAI situation in Europe’s wild and captive birds

The number of confirmed outbreaks of HPAI among wild birds in Europe has reached 1,262. This is the total for the year to April 18, according to the EC’s notification system. Compared to the previous edition to April 4, this represents an increase of 107. 

Recording by far the most cases so far has been Germany, with a total of 661 outbreaks — 62 more than two weeks earlier. Now with 215 confirmed outbreaks in wild species is Denmark. Also registering new cases through the EC system over the previous two weeks were Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Sweden. 

So far this winter, nine European states have reported HPAI in captive birds. Total outbreaks for the year so far stand at 50, which includes 35 in Germany.

Reporting to the OIE new HPAI cases among their respective wild bird populations over the past week were Estonia (H5N8 variant), Finland (H5N8), Greece (H5N8), Sweden (H5, H5N5, and H5N8 variants), and the United Kingdom (U.K.; H5N8).

In Belgium, the H5 HPAI virus has recently been detected in captive birds for the first time since 2017. 

Following the deaths of around 50 wild geese at three locations in Iceland, Reykjavik Grapevine reports that the cause may have been HPAI. There are insufficient remains to ascertain the actual cause.

This past week, Spain’s veterinary authority has declared the HPAI situation in its wild birds “resolved.” Wild birds in three regions tested positive for the H5N8 HPAI virus subtype between November of 2020 and the end of January, but there have been no further cases since that time.

In recent days, Russia’s veterinary authority has reported to the OIE a recurrence of H5 HPAI virus in wild birds in the Kizlyarsky district of the Republic of Dagestan. In this region of the North Caucasian federal district, this virus variant was last detected 15 years ago. 

Easing of restrictions on bird gatherings in the U.K.

The Restricted Zone set up surrounding a farm near Winsford in Cheshire was revoked on April 21 after disease control activities and surveillance were completed within the zone. 

From the same date, the total ban on some bird gatherings in the UK has been partially lifted in Great Britain. The agriculture department Defra announced that these events may resume under certain restrictions. These include markets, shows, sales and exhibitions of pigeons, pet bird species, and birds of prey. Seven days’ notice is required by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, and all requirements must be met under the General Licence.

Easing of the restrictions does not apply to chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese or game birds kept commercially as poultry, as pets of any other purpose. 

For all poultry, conditions under the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone remain in place across the U.K.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.

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