After going 3 months (Dec, Jan & Feb) without reporting any outbreaks, Italy's IZSV (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie) today has announced their third H5N8 outbreak in commercial poultry in a week.
First details from today's report, then I'll return with more on the spring resurgence of HPAI H5 around the globe.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Italy
2018 – H5N8
Outbreaks | PDF (last update: 13/03/2018)
Maps | PDF (last update: 13/03/20187)
13/03/2018 – On 12 March, the National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease characterised as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N8 the virus isolated in the last outbreak.
On the following day, NRL confirmed as positive for Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 a fattening turkey farm in Bergamo province (Lombardy region). At the time of confirmation, the farm hosted about 155.000 end-of-cycle male birds. The farm is located inside the first Bergamo outbreak protection zone and, as such, had been consistently subjected to the mandatory clinical and virological controls, testing negative for AI. Further samples were collected on 12 March, after a mortality increase was observed on the previous day.
Culling procedures are ongoing. Further information will be provided as soon as available.
Although HPAI H5 activity around the world has been surprisingly subdued this winter (and H7N9 in China almost non-existent), this isn't the first time we've seen (what turned out to be) temporary lulls in avian flu activity.
In the past few weeks, however, we've started to see an uptick in HPAI H5 outbreaks around the globe.Last night CIDRAP News reported on H5N8 outbreaks in South Africa and Pakistan, and H5N1 in Bhutan (see Bhutan reports H5N1 outbreak; Pakistan notes first H5N8 detection).
Japan's Ministry of Environment has reported the recovery of nearly 40 dead wild birds since the 1st of March - across multiple prefectures - with either preliminary field test positive Influenza A or lab-confirmed H5N6 infection.
This week the FAO is also reporting the recovery of an H5N1 positive duck near Tokyo, which is the first H5N1 report I can find from Japan in seven years.HPAI H5N8 continues to spread widely in the Middle East, with Iran reporting 40% Of Nation's Poultry Lost To Avian Flu over the past 12 months.
We've also seen outbreaks recently in Bulgaria, a spate of outbreaks in Cambodia, dozens of H5N6 infected wild birds in Britain, and yesterday a fresh report of a new outbreak in the Netherlands.
Bird flu identified in poultry in Kamperveen
release | 13-03-2018 | 16:14
In Kamperveen (Kampen) was adopted by a company with duck meat bird flu (H5). It is probably a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu. To prevent spread of the virus, the company is cleared. In total there are approximately 29,000 meat ducks. The adjacent business with poultry culled preventively. The clearing are performed by the Dutch Food Safety Authority (NVWA).
Schouten Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality has immediately announced a ban on transporting poultry farms in a zone of 10 kilometers around the holding in Kamperveen. A movement ban applies to poultry, eggs, poultry manure and used bedding.
All existing national measures, such as the indoor confinement, remain unimpaired.
Although we've not seen the kind of bird flu losses, or drama, we were seeing a year ago in Europe - HPAI H5 (and H7) viruses continue to circulate widely in the environment - and while this winter's lull in outbreaks has been welcome, it isn't guaranteed to last.