While most of the rest of Europe has enjoyed a break from HPAI reports the past month or so, Italy continues to deal with numerous outbreaks of H5N8 in wild birds and in their poultry sector. This latest announcement of 4 additional outbreaks raises to ten the number of affected farms reported over the past week.
Since Italy's summer resurgence of bird flu began in mid July, they've reported 34 poultry outbreaks, resulting in the loss of more than 2 million birds.This continued persistence of H5N8 over the summer in Italy, and to a far lesser extent in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK (see DEFRA: Outbreak Assessment On H5N8 In Europe - Summer 2017) has raised concerns that avian flu may be becoming more of a year-round threat (see DEFRA Warns Of `Constant Risk' From Avian Flu).
This report from Italy's IZSV (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie).
2016/2017 - H5N5, H5N82016 - H7N72014/2015 - H5N8, H5N12013 - H7N7
2016/2017 – H5N5, H5N8October 2017
13/10/2017 – On 11 October, the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 a fattening turkeys farm located in Padua province (Veneto region). Approximately 9.000 female turkeys were present in the farm, at the time of confirmation. Increase in mortality and nervous symptoms were reported on the morning of 11 September. In close proximity to the outbreak, there is another fattening turkeys farm, which hosted about 3.600 birds, at the time of confirmation. Due to proximity and lack of a clear separation, the two farms are being treated as a unique epidemiological unit. Control and eradication measures were applied to the whole epidemiological unit. The next day, the virus had been characterised by the NRL as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N8.
On 11 October, the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 a grower farm in Bergamo province (Lombardy region). The mixed species farm consisted of 365 birds.
The next day, NRL characterised as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N8 the viruses isolated in the last outbreaks.
On 13 October, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell’Emilia-Romagna confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5 an agritourism in Bergamo province (Lombardy region). Approximately 20 birds were present in the premise. Epidemiological investigations revealed an epidemiological connection with the grower farm in Bergamo Province confirmed as HPAI H5N8 case on 11 October.
On the same day, IZSLER confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5 a fattening turkey farm in Mantova province (Lombardy region). The farm had about 6.500 male turkeys. Further information will be provided as soon as available.
As Italy and the rest of Europe continue to deal with what are presumably remnants from last winter's epizootic, we are rapidly approaching the start to this year's fall migration (see 2016's Sci Repts.: Southward Autumn Migration Of Waterfowl Facilitates Transmission Of HPAI H5N1).
Exactly what that will bring to Europe, North America and Asia this fall is unknowable, but given last year's impact, poultry interests throughout the Northern Hemisphere are being urged to take steps to enhance their biosecurity before their arrival.