There's been a cryptic report in the Tunisian press today about the closure to the public of a local bird sanctuary, which is cleared up by the following notification from the OIE of HPAI H5 found in Eurasian wigeons (Anas Penelope) and common coots found dead at the Ichkeul Natural Park.
The subtype is not listed, but as everything else we've seen this fall in Europe, it is likely H5N8.Tunisia lies under the main migratory flyway that runs from Europe to Africa. Today's report highlights the risks that we could see the virus spread across North Africa and into West Africa, where H5N1 is already well entrenched.
- Tunisia is located in the main migratory corridor for wild birds going to Africa from Europe during winter migration. Migration is ongoing and this viral strain must have been carried over by migrating birds. - According to the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, article 10.4.1, provision 8, this outbreak does not modify the sanitary status of the country as affected birds are wild and thus are not included in the OIE definition of poultry. - A 3-km protection zone and a 10-km surveillance zone were implemented. There is no industrial poultry farm within the protection zone, and eight broiler farms within the surveillance zone. - Surveillance measures strengthened within the surveillance zone and the whole country. - Access to Ichkeul Natural Park was suspended.