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Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in UK and Europe

Christian Fernsby |
Since the last report on 17 November, in the United Kingdom there has been one new outbreak of HPAI H5N8 in poultry, three new reports of HPAI H5N8 in wild birds, and one new outbreak of HPAI H5N8 in captive birds.

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Elsewhere in Europe, H5N8 has been reported: in poultry in Croatia, Denmark, France (Corsica), Germany and Sweden; in wild birds in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands; and in captive birds in the Netherlands. HPAI H5 has been reported in wild birds in Denmark and Italy; and HPAI H5N5 in captive birds in Germany, and wild birds in the Netherlands.

In the United Kingdom, since 17 November, there have been new reports of HPAI H5N8 in poultry, wild birds and captive birds.

Following confirmation of HPAI H5N8 in captive birds, on 20 November 2020 at a wetland centre near Stroud in Gloucestershire, a 3km Captive Bird (Monitoring) Controlled Zone has been put in place around the site.

There has been one new outbreak of HPAI H5N8 in poultry. HPAI H5N8 was confirmed on 23 November in poultry and captive birds at a premises near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire: at a theme park containing multiple species, including domestic and exotic birds. A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been put in place around the premises.

In England, in Lincolnshire (near Boston), HPAI H5N8 was reported in a Eurasian Wigeon, three Brent geese, a Shelduck, a Canada goose and two Greylag geese. In a nature park in Lancashire HPAI H5N8 was confirmed in an unspecified wild bird.

In Northern Ireland, near Lough Beg (on the border between County Londonderry and Country Antrim), a Mute swan tested positive for HPAI H5N8. Lough Beg is a stopping point for migratory birds.

In Belgium, on 20 November, there were three reports of HPAI H5N8 along the north coast in West Flanders; in a European herring gull, a Eurasian Curlew, and a number of captive birds described as mute swans.

On 21 November, Croatia reported one outbreak of HPAI H5N8 in domestic poultry. Increased mortality had been observed on a large commercial premises with approximately 70,000 turkeys. The farm is in Delovi in the county of Koprivnica- Križevci. Implementation of disease control measures according to the Directive 2005/94/EC have been put in place, and epidemiological investigations are ongoing.

Since the last report on 17 November, Denmark has reported one outbreak of HPAI H5N8 in poultry on a commercial poultry farm, containing approximately 25,000 birds. There have also been 20 reports of HPAI H5N8 in wild birds, and two reports of HPAI H5 in wild birds.

While most reports continue to be from Jutland, there were a small number from Sjaelland (Zealand). Eleven of these reports related to dead barnacle geese. Other species included a brent goose, common buzzards, peregrine falcons, a curlew and a herring gull.

France has reported one outbreak of HPAI H5N8 (as reported to the OIE) in poultry. This was in the pet department of a garden centre. This was in the French department of Haute-Corse, in the northern part of the island of Corsica (in total, there were 575 specimens of various species (poultry and ornamental birds).

The birds were culled on 15 November, and the garden centre's pet facility is now closed. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing.

Since the last report on 17 November, in Germany there have been 70 further reports of HPAI H5N8 in wild birds.

While the majority of outbreaks continue to be in the north, and primarily in South Jutland, isolated cases have been identified further south, through Prignitz (in north-west Brandenburg – in a bean goose), Berlin (the federal state, southwest of the city – a greylag goose), and as far south as Nordsachsen (North Saxony – a mallard duck). There have also been three reports of HPAI H5N5 in wild birds.

Also in Germany, three outbreaks of HPAI H5N8 were reported in poultry. One was a premises of 1339 birds (fattening geese, hens and ducks). The second was a premises of 660 birds (laying hens and fattening geese). The third was a smaller, non-commercial premises of 43 birds (layer hens and turkeys). It is reported on ADNS that following a risk assessment (and in accordance with Council Directive 2005/94/EC) restriction zones for this premises have not been put in place.

Ireland has reported two cases of HPAI H5N8 in wild birds. One was in a mute swan in the north-east (in County Monaghan), and the other a curlew in County Mayo, in Ireland’s north-west.

Italy reported two cases of HPAI H5 in wild birds on 21 November. One was in the province of Venice, where a common teal was shot in a hunting area. The other was in Rovigo province, again in hunted wild birds (wigeons and mallards).

The same virus was detected: HPAI H5 viruses belonging to the B clade. The HA sequence surrounding the cleavage site is highly related to that of HPAI currently circulating in Northern Europe. Identification of the NA subtype and characterization of the full genome is in process.

Since the last report on 17 November, there have been six further HPAI H5N8 cases reported in wild birds in the Netherlands. Species included mute swans, barnacle geese, and several buzzards. There were four reports of HPAI H5N8 in captive birds (with no details regarding species on ADNS). There was also one report of HPAI H5N5 in wild birds – in a reed (or bean) goose.

Sweden has reported one outbreak of HPAI in poultry on 18 November. This was in a premises containing 5,100 turkeys. On the premises there were two populated sheds, and only the shed containing 1,800 birds displayed symptoms. All birds on the premises were culled.

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