Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Europe: Stronger Messaging On H5N8 Safety
Foto: Martin Mooij  - Off Twitter


The reassuring mantra over the past couple of weeks out of H5N8 affected Europe is that the virus has never infected humans, and therefore risk of human infection is considered low.

Not zero, perhaps.  But very low nonetheless.

Our own CDC, however, maintains a cautious stance. Since the virus is closely related to viruses that have infected humans (H5N1 & H5N6), they have issued guidelines for dealing with HPAI H5 Exposure, Human Health Investigations & Response.
The simple truth is, viruses are constantly changing.  And so we can't be absolutely positive that their behavior tomorrow will match their past behavior.  As an example, on Monday I wrote that we are seeing Unusual Mortality Among Wild Birds From H5N8 compared to past years.

This small change has led to thousands of dead or dying birds ending up in public spaces across Europe, and we are starting to see stronger warnings to the public to avoid contact (for people, and their pets)  with potentially infected birds.

First, this from the Netherlands' Landschappen website.
Avian influenza in wild birds in the Netherlands
16-11-2016 -
The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 was identified last week in several places in Europe. Last weekend kept Landscape Noord-Holland therefore additional monitoring in its wetlands.
Employees of Landscape North Holland found ao no sick birds in the Ilperveld and Eilandspolder to. Our staff and supervisors have been instructed to information from the Regional Implementation Service how to deal with (potential) cases of bird flu.
This variant of avian flu is potentially dangerous for people.
We give you therefore the following advice:
- Do not touch any findings birds not to. 
- Do not transported birds (dead or alive).
- Do not visit poultry farms unless this is unavoidable. Row NOT with a car in the workplace.
  Use disinfectants boots, clothes etc etc. Exercise caution and disinfected  before and after the visit.
- Be careful when hobby holders (touch the animals not to), also before and after  disinfecting the visit.
Report dead birds

in the context of bird flu monitoring is now additional important discoveries of dead wild birds are reported. For this monitoring, the European Union set up a list of "target species". Broadly speaking, these are the following birds: ducks, geese, swans, grebes, water rails, herons, gulls, waders, raptors and corvids
Several dead waterfowl

If you find multiple dead waterfowl (3 or more ducks, swans and geese) in one place, please directly contact the Dutch Food Safety Authority via the hotline animal diseases (045-546 31 88). To get a good picture of the mortality in the Netherlands, we ask you to also report these animals by Dutch Live Wildlife Health Centre  DWHC  (030-2537925) and / or  Sovon  and give in to note that you have had contact with the NVWA.
Keep birds indoors Duty

Thanks to the reporting and investigation of the dead crested grebes and ducks with bird flu in the surroundings of Monnickendam has become clear that there is currently an increased risk for the Dutch poultry sector. The Secretary of State has among other things established a nationwide ophok- and guard duty for all commercially kept birds in the Netherlands.  More about this in the letter from the Secretary to the second chamber .
Central government current information
The most recent information from the Dutch government can be found  here 

In Germany, media are reporting on potential risks to pets (dogs & cats) from the virus.  Some media reports are mistakenly saying that H5N8 has never infected animals, but we've seen multiple reports of dogs infected during South Korea's outbreak (see MAFRA: H5N8 Antibodies Detected In South Korean Dogs (Again)).

Response to bird flu Here reigns leash for cats and dogs

15:11:16, 11:58

Leipzig -

To the spread of bird flu to prevent the city of Leipzig to pet owners appealed certain precautions to take. So there is in the affected prohibited areas and in the wider area of observation leash for dogs and cats.

As the " Leipziger Volkszeitung" reports gave the Veterinary and Food Inspection Office in a statement following recommendations:
Bird flu in Saxony - The need to consider pet owners

    Dogs and cats must not be locked, but should not roam freely.
    Pay particular attention near the shore that no animal waste is introduced at the paws of the animals.
    Dogs and cats away from dead birds.
    Whoever finds fallen water or raptors, necessarily report the competent veterinary authority.
    The authority is in Leipzig phone under (0341) 123-3791 or -3792 reachable.
While we've no indication that the risk to humans, or pets, has increased, given the amount of potential exposure, this shift in messaging is probably well advised.

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