In Europe, recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) are confirmed at a Danish poultry farm, and in one backyard flock in each of France and Russia. Meanwhile, new cases in wild birds have been reported in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the same Russian region. Several veterinary authorities have officially reported that earlier HPAI outbreak series are now closed.
In the first week of July, almost 200 poultry died out of a flock of around 38,000 birds at a farm in Denmark. The presence of the H5N8 HPAI virus was detected at the premises, according to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
This was the country’s first HPAI outbreak since April 21, reported the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. Affected was a flock of broiler breeders in Sønderborg, which is in the southeast of the region of Southern Denmark.
The previous HPAI outbreak had affected a commercial duck and goose flock in West Jutland. Just four weeks prior to the latest cases, the Danish authorities had declared the country free of H5N8 HPAI in poultry. As a result, earlier biosecurity regulations had been relaxed, so it was no longer a requirement to keep poultry housed, for example. However, feed and water may be only provided to poultry in the house or under a solid roof.
French backyard flock tests positive for HPAI virus
In France, the agriculture ministry reports that there have been no new HPAI outbreaks in commercial poultry or wild birds since early May.
However, on July 2, presence of the H5N8 HPAI virus was detected in a backyard poultry flock in central France. In the department of Loiret, seven birds died out of a flock of 25 birds, according to the OIE report. The chickens, ducks and geese were for the owners own use, and had not been in any recent movements of bird. As a result, the outbreak is officially included with those registered in wild birds in French territories.
Between November of 2020 and May of this year, the ministry registered 492 HPAI outbreaks in poultry in France. These include 475 in the southwest of the country, and 17 in other regions. Furthermore, there were 20 cases in wild birds, and two in captive birds (including the latest outbreak). Around 3.5 million poultry — mainly ducks in the south-west — have been culled.
HPAI situation 'resolved' in poultry in Germany, The Netherlands
Starting between December last year and March of 2021, several German states registered with the OIE outbreaks in poultry linked to the H5N8 HPAI virus variant. Following a period with no new cases, the situation is reported as “resolved” in the regions of Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. Furthermore, the outbreak series involving the H5N5 virus subtype has closed in Bavaria and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, as well as the H5N1 events of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.
After just one outbreak linked to the H5N1 HPAI virus variant in poultry back in December of 2020, authorities in the Netherlands have informed the OIE that this disease event is now closed.
Since the start of July, the OIE has received confirmation of no new avian flu cases in poultry from the veterinary authorities of Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (U.K.).
New cases of HPAI in wild birds reported by Russia, Scandinavia
In Russia’s Tyumen oblast, a number of wild birds tested positive for an HPAI virus of the H5 family at the end of June. According to the official report to the OIE, the outbreak involved 62 pelicans in a nature park in the Armizonsky district. More than 50 of the birds died. On July 7, a backyard poultry flock in the same district tested positive for the same virus variant. Eight of the 64 birds at the premises died.
HPAI was last detected in this region in October of last year. Tyumen oblast is located in the Urals federal district.
Over the past week, OIE has been informed of new cases of HPAI linked to the H5N8 virus variant in wild birds in Norway (seven birds at four locations) and Sweden (four individuals at two locations). In Finland, an eagle tested positive for the H5N1 virus subtype at the end of June.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Netherlands have declared to the OIE that earlier outbreak series linked to the H5N1, H5N3, H5N4, and H5N8 virus variant in Dutch wild birds have been “resolved.”
View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.