The dominoes continue to fall as H5N8 continues its expansion in Europe and the Middle East (while H5N6 seems on a similar course in Asia). Today, just one week after we saw the OIE Notification: HPAI H5N8 In Israel, we learn of two outbreaks of H5N8 in north central Iran.
First the OIE notification, then I'll return with more.
Source of the outbreak(s) or origin of infection
Unknown or inconclusive
1- The event was reported according to the Iran Passive surveillance in place 2- A post outbreak investigation to trace the source of infection is ongoing to detect the probable spread and circulation of this subtype. 3- Active surveillance is ongoing.
Two weeks ago the in the FAO On HPAI H5's 4th Intercontinental Wave, we looked at the rapid expansion of H5N8 in eastern Europe and warnings that other areas could see encroachment of the virus as well. The FAO specifically mentioned:
Places at Risk:
Countries in the Middle East;
Countries in the EU;
Countries in the former Soviet Union;
Countries in South Asia.
So, its discovery in Iran is not totally unexpected. This does confirm that the virus is more widespread in the Middle East than the one outbreak in Israel would indicate, and suggests other countries (Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.) could see outbreaks as well.
It is also worth noting that the migratory bird pathways (see map below) that have funneled - first H5N1 and now H5N8 - from Asia to Western Europe and the Middle East, also extend well into Africa as well.
H5N8 (and to a lesser extent, H5N6) continue to demonstrate impressive traveling skills by way of migratory birds.