*** UPDATED: *** 0900 hrs
At least 1 media report now identifies the subtype as H5N1
The Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture & Food website remains silent, and nothing has appeared yet on the OIE Alerts page, but the Bulgarian press is rife this morning with reports of the discovery of bird flu (subtype not named) in a dead pelican in or near the Poda Protected Area located south of the port city of Bourgas on the Black Sea.
Poda is described on Wikipedia as:
. . . a biologically important area as a resting station for many of the migratory birds who use the Eastern European migratory route, Via Pontica; as well as an important nesting habitat for many breeding species
Local media reports the Minister of Agriculture either already has, or will hold a press conference later today. The most details I’ve found come from the following short announcement from Focus News Agency:
Sofia. Four days ago in the city of Burgas found dead birds. That said, during a special press conference, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Tsvetan Dimitrov, reporter Agency "Focus" . He explained that they found two dead birds - Pelican and seagull. In his words, after this research has found that the pelican is avian flu. Deputy Minister Dimitrov assured that there is nothing wrong with the situation and had taken all measures.
Although none of this is `official’ until a report has been filed with the OIE, the media reports are consistent and are quoting officials with the Ministry of Food & Agriculture.
There is no word as to what laboratory did the testing, or what variety of avian flu was detected.
Bulgaria (red dot in map below) lies almost centered in the NE/SW oriented Black Sea / Mediterranean Flyway, which runs from northern Russia to western and central Africa. This flyway crosses south central Europe where H5N8 has recently emerged, and across the Middle East and Nigeria – both regions having reported H5N1 recently, and on numerous occasions in the past.
You’ll notice that while these migratory bird flyways run essentially north to south – they overlap – which could allow for the lateral (east-west) movement of avian viruses over time as well. Viruses that are endemic in the East Asia Australian Flyway could conceivably seep into the Central Asian Flyway, and from there move further west into the East African or Black Sea flyways.
Last November, in The North Atlantic Flyway Revisited, we looked at the ability of seabirds to carry avian flu viruses, along with the potential for lateral creep of flu viruses across overlapping flyways.
To finish up, a sampling of some other press reports from Bulgaria:
DARIK News -
A little earlier today the Ministry of Agriculture and Food said in Burgas is a case of bird flu . The ministry called an emergency press conference. It will be attended by Deputy Minister of Agriculture ...
In Burgas is no case of bird flu , officials BTV, citing information from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF). This is the first proven strain of bird flu in Bulgaria. According to the ...
Nova News -
Case of bird flu was registered in Burgas, announced the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The winner of the infection is a pelican bird's corpse was found in the protected area "Poda" near Burgas. This is the first proven ...