Saturday, January 18, 2020

Czech Republic Becomes 5th European Nation To Report HPAI H5N8 in 2020


After an absence of nearly 3 years, HPAI H5N8 has reappeared in west-central Europe, and has so far been detected in five European nations since the start of the year.  The latest nation to be struck is the Czech Republic.
While currently considered a low-risk virus for human health - it can be devastating to poultry - and there are always concerns that the virus could evolve over time posing a bigger threat to humans (see  J. Virulence Editorial: HPAI H5N8 - Should We Be Worried?).
 On Wednesday, we looked at  UK DEFRA SitRep #8 : HPAI H5N8 Flu In Europe, which warned:
It is becoming more likely that the source of infection in these independent outbreaks will be contact with wild birds, although there has been some limited local spread in Eastern Poland. Wild bird surveillance in the EU relies on reporting of dead wild birds; the single hawk reported in Poland may have had access to contaminated / infected poultry within the protection zone rather than scavenging dead wild waterfowl. Therefore it may be presumed at present that not finding dead target species of wild waterfowl does not mean there is no circulating virus.
Today's report from the Czech Republic MOA may be on a very small outbreak, but it does confirm the continued spread of the virus across Europe.

The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in the Czech Republic after three years
Press Release - The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (avian influenza) has been confirmed in the Czech Republic after three years. The outbreak is located in small poultry in the village of Stepanov nad Svratkou in the Vysocina Region. Infection into the breeding apparently introduced wild water birds. It is a highly pathogenic subtype of H5N8 fatal to birds, but transmission to humans has not yet been reported.
The infected breeding were 12 hens, of which six died within two days, and there were three ducks. Veterinary inspectors immediately after reporting the death by the breeder began the investigation in breeding, took precautionary measures and sent dead hens for examination to the State Veterinary Institute Prague. This confirmed the highly pathogenic avian influenza in all six pieces.
“Immediately after confirming the disease, we took the necessary measures, the staff of the State Veterinary Administration went to the place and its central director returns from a foreign business trip. My colleagues at the Ministry are ready to help affected farmers with compensation that they are legally entitled to. But most important now is to prevent further spread of infection, c hovatelé should be a precautionary measure to prevent contact between wild and domestic birds, " said Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman.  
' In accordance with the legislation in force, the State Veterinary Administration has taken immediate measures to prevent the further spread of the disease. The remaining poultry on the farm will be euthanized, a three-kilometer protection zone and a surveillance zone of ten kilometers radius will be defined to the outbreak of the outbreak and extraordinary veterinary measures will be declared there , ”said Zbyněk Semerád , Central Director of the State Veterinary Administration.

Emergency veterinary measures will restrict the movement of poultry to and from the zones, produce poultry farms and ban exhibitions or stock exchanges of poultry and birds that pose a high risk of spreading disease.
Bird flu is a dangerous viral infection of chickens, turkeys, water poultry, pigeons, feathered game, exotic birds and wild birds. Avian influenza viruses are commonly found in wild birds and are mainly transmitted through faeces. Therefore, infection is most often caused by ingestion of feed or water contaminated with faeces of infected birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses cause high morbidity and mortality in birds. In poultry farming, they cause significant direct and indirect economic losses.
The basic precautionary measure is (if possible) breeding poultry in enclosed buildings and avoiding contact with wild birds. For holdings where it is not possible to place them in a closed facility, measures must be taken to minimize the risk of contamination of water, feed and litter by the faeces of wild birds, for example, to place water and feed under shelter, to prevent movement on bodies of water . Another possible measure is the networking of enclosures, etc. In case of suspicion of the occurrence of infection, which is an increased mortality of poultry, a sudden drop in laying or feed intake to report to the Regional Veterinary Administration.
More information on avian influenza can be found on the JRC website .
Petr Vorlíček
SVA Press Spokesman