Over the past five months we've watched as Europe has battled its biggest, most widespread, and most persistent outbreak of bird flu in their history. The virus - a newly reassorted HPAI H5N8 - entered early last fall from China/Russia, funneled in via one of the main migratory bird flyways from the east (likely the Black Sea / Mediterranean flyway).
These H5N8 viruses - and their offshoots (H5N5, H5N6) - are collectively called H5Nx, and have struck everywhere from Central Africa, to the Middle East, to nearly all of Europe.
With the arrival of spring, the surviving migratory birds will be returning north to their high latitude summer roosting grounds.
While many will travel east and north, retracing the route that originally brought the virus to Europe, the East Atlantic Flyway also funnels birds westward - to Iceland, Greenland, and North America.
Just as the overlap between the East Asian and Pacific America flyway facilitated the spread of H5N8 from Asia to North America in 2014 - the North Atlantic Flyway is viewed as capable of bringing bird flu strains to North America from Europe (see PLoS One: North Atlantic Flyways Provide Opportunities For Spread Of Avian Influenza Viruses).
This is a scenario we've discussed before (most recently in H5Nx: Why North America Must Remain Alert), and while the potential has always been there, this winter's unprecedented level of bird flu activity in Europe, combined with the unusual persistence of this newly reassorted H5 virus in wild birds - would seem to make this year's migration particularly risky.
Iceland is the first major landing spot for wing-weary travelers, followed by Greenland (see 2016's Avian Flu Surveillance In Greenland).
While no bird flu reports have been filed with the OIE, Icelandic government agencies are saying it now appears likely that infected birds either have or will arrive, and are already ordering stringent precautions be taken by poultry interests.
03.23.2017 News - Animal healthThe degree of preparedness of defense against avian influenza has been increased. It means that all captive birds have to be temporarily held in a covered models that wild birds can not access or bird-proof houses. Infection Prevention should be taken aimed not communicable infection from wild birds to poultry. All poultry should be included in the database Livestock .
Industries and Innovation Ministry has published an advertisement on temporary protection measures to prevent bird flu spreading in poultry and other captive birds . This was done on the basis of a proposal to the Ministry of Food because of the high spread of avian influenza caused by severe variant of avian influenza virus type H5N8 activities in Europe since October last year. Severe variant H5N8 has been detected including in the areas where the Icelandic migratory birds stay during the winter.
The working group, appointed experts MAST, University, Experimental University of the springs and Epidemiologist, has assessed the situation and concluded that considerable chance that this severe variant of avian influenza virus transmission of migrant specifications now have begun to stream into the country. In the epidemic that rages in Europe now is infection from wild birds considered the main route of infection in poultry.
There is the risk of poultry in the country infected with the migrant that occur from the affected areas, especially those that are held outdoors and where protection against infections is lacking. The consequences of the disease are severe, since a large proportion of the birds can die and order requires the killing of all birds on the estate of bird flu detected in, as well as various kinds of restrictions that are to be in operation in a large area around the affected farm. It is considered a virulence for the people of this variant of the bird flu virus and not due virulence of consumption of poultry. It is uncertain what will increase the degree of preparedness products for a long time the working group reviews the infection risk regularly.
The following rules of biosecurity have been published:
a) The birds shall be kept inside the enclosed models or houses.
b) Ensure a good separation between poultry and wild birds. House and made must think birds.
c) Ensure that no environmental bird houses attract wild birds.
d) Feed and drinking water birds should not be accessible to wild birds.
e) Ducks and geese must be separated from poultry birds.
f) A hats of all vertical and loftræstitúður Optional bird for all loftræstitúður, opening a window on a bird house.
g) Any unauthorized shall be refused access to bird houses.
h) Any conduct that the birds should use protective clothing (bugs and boots), used exclusively there, and they also wash and disinfect hands before and after care of the birds.
i) Before the birds are brought in from other farms must ask if the health of birds on the farm have been normal. Birds shall not be included into the estate from farms where the disease status is unknown, something seems to be wrong with your health.
j) It is' all in - all out "system, ie all the birds are removed from the estate before the new are taken.
k) House and did well shall be cleaned and disinfected between groups.
l) Dispose of dead birds, the capability and shit safely.
m) Ensure good biosecurity of water wells.
n) Exhibition and other gatherings of birds is prohibited.
For owners alifuglabúa 250 birds or more values besides the provisions in Articles 20 and Article 21 on the biosecurity of the Regulation. 135/2015 for the welfare of poultry.
Consideration should be given to the welfare of poultry in leisure detained while they are held in more restraint than they are accustomed, see instructions Food that effect .
It is important that all poultry be registered in the database Food, Livestock , also in the few poultry case. Those who have not already done so are requested to inform their poultry kept for Food, by email at email@example.com . Food goes from such registration. This information is important so the Food can contact with poultry owners in certain areas, if necessary.
Forward it is important for the Food and get notification of dead birds , the cause of death is not obvious (such as when flying on power lines, on windows or cars). As already pointed out, this variant of the bird flu virus H5N8 not dangerous to humans, but it is best not to touch the bird and immediately report on the meeting.
Food will increase the monitoring of the presence of avian influenza virus in wild birds in the spring with a sampling of the birds are most likely to carry bird flu viruses.
A follow up from the Icelandic Directorate of Health reads:
Because of the news on the web Food on the 23/03/2017 increase the degree of preparedness of bird flu in the country is it proper to remind of that for a very small chance that avian influenza spreading to humans, but it can be dangerous to birds.
Many types of influenza virus can infected animals, mainly birds, but rarely infect humans. The bird flu preferably expect can be sent to the country now is of type H5N8, but has never been detected in humans that we know of. Another type of bird flu has also been in the international debate is of type H7N9 and only in rare cases, the virus detected in humans and then in individuals in close contact with infected birds.
Epidemiologist do not call for any specific action at this time in this country to prevent infection in humans. However, it should warn people to handle dead birds without proper protective equipment keeps in touch with Food for further action.
While a late spring arrival of HPAI H5 from Europe is always possible, the bigger threat to North America likely comes next fall, when birds begin heading south again after having shared the virus in their summer roosting grounds. It is always possible new reassortants will emerge.
Another unknown is how much of a toll this more virulent reassorted H5 virus will have on immunologically naive juveniles that are born over the summer. A major die off could have far-reaching effects.
About all we can say with any certainty is that HPAI H5 avian flu viruses continue to evolve - and have made substantial territorial gains over the past year - making them a very unpredictable and potentially formidable foe.