Bulgaria Lies beneath Black Sea / Mediterranean Flyway
*** UPDATED at Bottom ***
Yesterday, in Media Reports: Bird Flu In Bulgaria, we looked at reports of the first detection of H5N1 in Bulgaria since January of 2010 when they reported One fallen common buzzard (Buteo buteo) in Varna (see 2010 OIE report). Prior to that, you have to go back to the great H5N1 expansion of 2006 to find a report in that part of Europe.
Source of the outbreak(s) or origin of infection
- Contact with wild species
Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) real-time PCR positive for HPAI subtype H5N1 was found dead on 22 January in Poda protected area. The samples will be tested for confirmation by inoculation of chicken embryos. The pelican was found dead together with a black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) in the framework of the passive surveillance under the national avian influenza surveillance and control program approved by European Commission. The black-headed gull was tested with negative result for avian influenza.
While rarely reported in this region of Europe, the detection of HPAI H5N1 in wild birds isn’t completely unexpected, as migratory birds, who nest in northern Russia and China during the summer, pass through this area on their overwintering trek south.
This year, in addition to seeing the robust spread of HPAI H5N8 (and H5N2) via migratory birds, we’ve also seen a strong resurgence of H5N1 in the Middle East, India and Africa.
While the threat to humans is relatively small right now, with a growing roster of HPAI viruses emerging out of China – including H5N8, H5N6, H5N3, H7N9, and H10N8 - biosecurity measures for both backyard flocks and commercial poultry operations will need to be strictly followed.
Even in areas like North America, that have been relatively immune to such avian viruses in the past.
*** UPDATE ***
Meanwhile - just after I posted this blog - there is this new media report of dead birds being tested in Stara Zargora, about 160 km west of Burgas where the first bird was found. This may be just a case of post-Burgas jitters, but we’ll keep an eye on it.
Report dead bird in Stara Zagora up emotions and raise doubts about a new case of bird flu after Burgas. The signal was received on the "green" phone in Stara Zagora environmental inspectorate of duty in Radnevo municipality around noon on Wednesday. Immediately after it was informed the Regional Directorate for Food Safety and health inspectors have harvested bird.