The pace of HPAI H5 outbreaks in Italy continues to rise, with 15 outbreaks reported in the first half of November. Nearly as many as were reported in the first half of the year (n=17).
In mid-July we began to see a resurgence in H5N8 in northern Italy, with monthly totals to date running:
In addition to these poultry outbreaks, there have been a number of detections in wild birds as well. Today, we've three more outbreaks reported by Italy's IZSV (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie), bringing the total for 2017 to 79.Jan-Jun - 16 Outbreaks
July - 6 Outbreaks
August - 13 Outbreaks
September - 6 Outbreaks
October - 23 Outbreaks
November - 15 Outbreaks (thru 15th)
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Italy
2016/2017 - H5N5, H5N82016 - H7N72014/2015 - H5N8, H5N12013 - H7N7
2016/2017 – H5N5, H5N8
Outbreaks | PDF (last update: 15/11/2017)
Maps | PDF (last update: 15/11/2017)
16/11/2017 – On 10 November, IZSLER confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5 a laying hen farm in Brescia province (Lombardy region). At the time of confirmation, the farm housed 54,664 birds. The farm is located at approximately 500 m from the duck farm confirmed as positive for HPAI on 3 November (67th outbreak). Samples were taken after observing an increase in mortality on 9 November. The outbreak was extincted on 14 November.
On 10 November, IZSLER confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5 a broiler farm in Brescia province (Lombardy region). At the time of confirmation, 13,335 birds were present in the farm. On 10 November, an increase in mortality was observed and reported to the Veterinary Services. The outbreak was extincted on 14 November.
On 10 November, IZSLER confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5 another laying hen farm in Brescia province (Lombardy region). The farm is located within 600 metres from 75th outbreak, confirmed as positive earlier on the same day. The farm hosted 17,199 birds at the time of confirmation. On 10 November, an increase in mortality in one shed out of two was observed, together with a slight decrease in feed intake and a marked drop in egg production. On 15 November, the outbreak was extincted.
On 14 November, the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease characterised as Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 the viruses isolated in the last three outbreaks.
This heavy persistence of avian flu in Italy over the summer and into the fall - and at much lower levels across other parts of Europe - is in sharp contrast to previous years when H5N8 all but disappeared in Europe and North America once spring ended (see PNAS: The Enigma Of Disappearing HPAI H5 In North American Migratory Waterfowl).
As we discussed in Avian Flu: That Was Then . . This Is Now, HPAI H5N8 has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes since 2016, and additional changes in its genetics and behavior are always possible.