Although the losses have not been particularly heavy, it has been a remarkable couple of weeks of avian flu activity in France, with no less than three new strains of a listed disease (H5N1, H5N2, and H5N9) causing outbreaks in poultry. Details have been slow to emerge, with the surprise announcement of H5N9 coming only yesterday afternoon.
While all three highly pathogenic subtypes have been reported in China and elsewhere in the world, the limited characterization we’ve seen of these viruses suggests they are not of the classic `Asian’ origin, and are of European lineage.
The first of these three new strains (see DEFRA: France’s HPAI H5N1 Another Mutated LPAI Strain) was described as a LPAI to HPAI conversion, the third such instance of LP to HP mutation in Europe this year (the others were H7 outbreaks in England & Germany last July).
The lineage of the H5N2 and H5N9 strains are less clearly defined, although the French MOA states: It is important to note that according to Anses, the identified strains are of European origin strains. There is no Asian strains, and that is not the Asian strain detected in the last few years.
Today, the OIE has also posted a notification of two outbreaks of LPAI H5N2 in France, both beginning in the middle of November, slightly pre-dating the discovery of the other outbreaks. Exactly how they fit into this avian flu puzzle isn’t clear, although it’s always possible they may have been the contributor of the H5 component for one or more of these other new strains.
Hopefully we’ll get a more complete analysis from DEFRA, the ECDC, or the French MOA that will answer these, and other questions. In the meantime, we have the following OIE report listing three outbreaks of the HPAI H5N9 virus.
- Unknown or inconclusive
Serotype H5N9 was identified for the first time in France but its presence is limited to a region (departments of Landes and Dordogne, in the same region).
- Movement control inside the country
- Disinfection / Disinfestation
- Surveillance outside containment and/or protection zone
- Stamping out
- Official disposal of carcasses, by-products and waste
- Surveillance within containment and/or protection zone
- Vaccination prohibited
- No treatment of affected animals
Measures to be applied
- No other measures