Three recent Outbreaks Of H5N8
From the OIE today, a press release in Q&A format which – among other things – characterizes the recently detected H5N8 virus outbreaks in Europe as belonging to the same clade as the outbreaks in Europe. This supports – but doesn’t necessarily prove – the notion that the virus may have been imported to Europe via migratory birds.
The entire press release may be accessed at the link below: I’ve included some excerpts:
What is the source of influenza A (H5N8)?
Based on the partial sequence data of the HA gene segment, the German, the Dutch and the British viruses were identified as closely related to the Republic of Korea H5N8 viruses. Investigations are continuing to determine the source. The viruses belong to the clade 188.8.131.52.
Have wild birds been identified as a carrier of the influenza A (H5N8) virus?
Wild birds can normally carry avian influenza viruses in their respiratory or intestinal tracts but they do not commonly get sick. They have historically been known as reservoirs and vectors of AI viruses. Around the world, surveillance measures have been put in place to monitor occurrence and characteristics of AI viruses in wild birds. To date, the infection with avian influenza viruses subtype H5N8 has been detected in wild birds in China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. The majority of avian influenza viruses does not cause disease in wild birds, but is very likely that wild birds might spread the virus via their migratory flyways.
How is influenza A(H5N8) transmitted and spread among birds?
All AI viruses can be transmitted among birds through direct contact with secretions from infected birds, especially faeces or through contaminated feed, water, equipment, and human clothing and shoes.
They are readily transmitted from farm to farm by the movement of domestic live birds, people (especially when shoes and other clothing are contaminated), and contaminated vehicles, equipment, feed, and cages. Highly pathogenic viruses can survive for long periods in the environment, especially when temperatures are low.
Several factors can contribute to the spread of all AI viruses including: the movements of people and goods, marketing practices (live bird markets), farming practices and the presence of the viruses in migratory wild birds.