Wednesday, November 23, 2016

FLI Director - H5N8 `A Dynamic Process' & `Has A Strong Tendency To Spread'

Credit FLI


Five days ago Germany's Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) released a Risk Estimation on HPAI H5N8's spread that stated:
Due to the current spread of HPAIV H5N8 in wild birds in Europe and in currently eight affected German States the risk of introduction into domestic poultry holdings through direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry is estimated to be high, particularly for holdings in the vicinity of resting and gathering areas of waterfowl, including agricultural crop land where wild birds gather. 

Since then, the number of affected areas has only grown larger.
Today German media is carrying comments by the institute's president, Thomas Mettenleiter, that compares this outbreak with previous outbreaks of HPAI H5.

First an excerpt from a media report, then I'll be back with a bit more on how this year's H5N8 virus is behaving differently than what we saw in 2014 and 2015.


Bird flu spreading rapidly through Europe, German experts warn
The H5N8 virus currently has a "strong tendency to spread," agricultural experts have warned. The pathogen has been detected in 10 German states, as well as in Denmark and Switzerland.

Since it was first detected in Germany earlier in November, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, a body tasked with animal health issues, warned on Wednesday that a strain of the bird flu virus was quickly spreading across the country and through Europe. 

"We are currently seeing an extremely dynamic process with a strong tendency to spread," said the institute's president, Thomas Mettenleiter.

Compared to the spread of the H5N1 bird flu virus that hit poultry farms 10 years ago, Mettenleiter said the current rate of infections was very high. He said that the disease is spreading rapidly from wildfowl to domestic foul kept in sheds.

Experts suggest that the disease could also be spread by predators killing infected wildfowl, and spreading the ripped contents of their innards.

(Continue . . . )

Nine days ago, in Europe: Unusual Mortality Among Wild Birds From H5N8,  I wrote about how the pattern and behavior of HPAI H5N8 had changed since the outbreaks of 2014-15 in North America and Europe.    
Prior to this fall's European tour, H5N8 had been notable for the lack of wild bird deaths.  Something the ECDC noted in their Risk Assessment released last Friday, writing:
An increased mortality in wild birds in Europe has been observed compared to the first reports of A(H5N8) in 2014/2015. 

Despite this heavy mortality in some species of waterfowl, the H5N8 virus has managed to cover a remarkable amount of territory in a short amount of time, suggesting that some species are able to carry the virus without ill effect.

Where all of this will lead is anyone's guess, but this year's arrival of HPAI H5 to Europe is likely to turn out to be a greater challenge to their poultry industry than any other before it.

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