Friday, March 16, 2018

Sweden: HPAI H5N6 Detected In Backyard Flock

Uppsala County


Just two days after Sweden reported their second detection of HPAI H5N6 in wild terrestrial birds (see March 14th OIE report), the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) today announced their first outbreak in poultry by this recently reassorted virus.


New case of bird flu in backyard holding

Bird flu has been found in a small backyard holding Östhammar Uppsala County. After analysis of the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) was found to have the type of bird flu H5N6. It is the first time the virus of the type discovered in poultry in Sweden. This virus circulating in Europe and in Sweden, has never infected humans.

- To avoid spreading to poultry, it is important to poultry producers and hobby bird owners have good infection control procedures, and in the extent possible, preventing contact between domesticated and wild birds, says Karin Ahl, deputy head of the unit for the horse, poultry and game. We recommend that you avoid feeding wild birds near their tamfjäderfän.
Found naturally in wild birds

Bird flu comes in many varieties and is very contagious among birds. Milder variants of the virus occurs naturally among wild birds, especially of seabirds. Level 1 applies in Sweden, which means that poultry must go out, but to feed and water should be under a roof
or under a shelter outdoors.

- Although H5N6 has not been associated with the same mortality rate as last year's virus, H5N8, it is clear that it is circulating among wild birds. Avoid special contact with waterfowl, says statsepizootolog Ann
Lindberg, SVA.

It is important to have good management practices and to the extent possible, preventing direct and indirect contact with wild birds.
Pet owners should be alert and to contact a veterinarian if the poultry show increased mortality, changes in food and water consumption, drop in  egg production or debilitated.
General hygiene rules
  • Make sure that only those who care tamfåglarna have access
  • to animal areas.
  • Keep the area around the house and corrals.
  • Be careful hygiene practices at borders.
  • Wash hands after contact with birds.
  • After a stay abroad should not have contact with
  • domestic birds until after 48 hours.
So far this reassorted (from HPAI H5N8) H5N6 virus hasn't produced anything near the impact of last year's record HPAI H5N8 epizootic across Europe.   In many ways, it is acting like H5N8 did the first time it briefly arrive in Europe, during the spring of 2015.  
It wasn't until 18 months later, after H5N8 had undergone further evolution changes (see EID Journal: Reassorted HPAI H5N8 Clade - Germany 2016) that it gained enough virulence and transmissibility to spark a record-setting avian epizootic across all of Europe. 
While past performance is no guarantee of future results, this is a reminder that if you've seen one H5N6 avian flu season . . . you've seen just that . . .  one H5N6 avian flu season.


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