Yesterday the OIE announced that they had been notified of a small outbreak of LPAI (low path) H5N2 on a farm in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. LPAI viruses are commonly found in wild and migratory birds, and occasionally jump to poultry, where they generally produce mild symptoms.
The concern is - when LPAI H5 and H7 poultry outbreaks are not quickly controlled - they have the potential to mutate into highly pathogenic strains.Over the summer, in Arch. Of VIrology: Rapid Virulence Shift Of An LPAI H5N2 Virus During A Single Passage In Mice, we looked at a lab experiment which showed somewhat surprisingly that LPAI H5N2 viruses could - through host adaptation - acquired enhanced pathogenicity after just one passage through mice.
For these reasons, all H5 and H7 outbreaks - regardless of pathogenicity - are reportable to the OIE, and immediate containment and eradication are required.