While concerns over human infections with H7N9 in China continue to rise, the juggernaut that is H5N8 avian flu - currently only considered a serious health risk to birds - continues to gain territory in both Europe and the Middle East.
Today it is Kuwait reporting their first detection to the OIE, while Italy reports a new outbreak in Veneto.
First the OIE report from Kuwait.
Suspicious clinical cases as well as dead birds comprising ducks, geese and pheasants were detected for H5 subtype of avian influenza virus in the National Veterinary Laboratory. For further investigation, specimens were submitted to the Animal & Plant Health Agency, OIE Reference Laboratory, UK. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 was confirmed by the molecular sequencing method in the OIE Reference laboratory. As soon as H5 subtype was detected in the national laboratory, sick and contact birds kept in the affected premises were culled. Carcasses were deeply buried by applying appropriate disinfection procedures. Active clinical and serological surveillance were enhanced in surrounding areas of the affected premises. New cases or new outbreaks if any will be updated in the follow up reports.
This comes after reports of large outbreaks in Iran, plus scattered reports of H5N8 in wild birds in both Egypt and Tunisia.
Meanwhile Italy reports a second outbreak of H5N8 this month, this time in a Turkey Farm in Veneto, in the northern part of the country. Italy also reported an detecting HPAI H5N5 in wild birds 10 days ago.