Thursday, October 29, 2020

More HPAI H5N8 Outbreaks and Reports From The Netherlands, South Korea & Russia



In the Northern Hemisphere billions of migratory birds are well into their southbound migration for the winter, and this year we are once again seeing environmental detections, and outbreaks in wild birds and domesticated poultry, of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) along these global flyways.

The world's major migratory bird flyways - depicted in the above graphic - serve as a global highway for avian influenza viruses. While primarily north-south conduits, there is enough overlap to allow for east-west movement as well.

Since early August we've been following reports of a resurgence of HPAI H5N8 in Russia, northern Kazakhstan, and more recently in the Middle East (see UK: DEFRA Warns On Avian Flu Threat). A week ago, the Netherlands reported HPAI H5N8 In Two Dead Mute Swans, while over the weekend South Korea reported HPAI H5N8 Detected In Environmental Samples (Bird Feces).

While bird flu has been somewhat subdued globally the past couple of years, these recent reports have elicited a number of warnings from agriculture departments around the world, including DEFRA in the UK,  MAFRA in South Korea, and FLI in Germany

While HPAI H5N8 has yet to have an impact on human health, we've seen devastating epizootics in both Europe and North America since it first emerged in 2014. 

Today we've new reports from three different countries on HPAI H5N8. First stop, this report from The Netherlands Rijksoverheid (National Government) website.

News release | 29-10-2020 | 7:00

In Altforst (municipality of West Maas en Waal) bird flu (H5) has been diagnosed at a company with broiler parent animals. It is a highly pathogenic variant of bird flu. There are no other companies within a radius of 1 kilometer around the company. The company is being culled to prevent the virus from spreading. In total, this concerns approximately 35,700 animals. The culling is carried out by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).

There are nine other poultry farms in the area of ​​3 kilometers around the infected farm in Altforst. These companies are sampled and examined for avian flu. There are also 25 other poultry farms in the 10-kilometer zone around this company. The transport ban applies to this zone.

Transport ban

Minister Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality has immediately declared a transport ban for poultry farms in a zone of 10 kilometers around the company in Altforst. A transport ban covers poultry, eggs, poultry manure and used bedding, as well as other animals and animal products from farms with commercially kept poultry.


All current national measures, such as the obligation to house commercially kept poultry, will remain in full force. In addition, zoos, petting zoos and hobby bird owners are required to shield their poultry and waterfowl so that these animals do not come into contact with wild waterfowl and their droppings. This can be done, for example, by keeping the animals in an aviary or by placing them in a run. The zoos and children's farms can be visited. The existing hygiene protocol for visitors to visit commercial poultry farms is being expanded. This means, among other things, that visitors are only allowed to enter the stable or yard after taking strict hygiene measures. 

Furthermore, a ban has been imposed on the display of ornamental poultry and water birds.

From Russia are also reports from Kostromskaya Oblast and Rostov - nearly 1,000 km further north and west from earlier reports, and much closer to Europe - of HPAI H5N8 in a poultry farm (See OIE Report #36252),  and of detections in wild birds (see translated media report below) from Semikarakorsk, Rostov.

Caution! Avian flu

10/28/2020  →  Civil Defense and Emergencies

Caution!  Avian fluBird flu was found in several districts of the Rostov region. This is confirmed by the research of the Rostov Reference Center of the Rosselkhoznadzor on samples of poultry (chicken) material.

Avian influenza is an acute infectious viral disease characterized by damage to the digestive system, respiration and high mortality of domestic and wild birds of various species. However, the bird flu virus can be transmitted from sick birds to humans.

Dear citizens, in order to protect yourself from bird flu, you must take preventive measures. If you keep poultry or ornamental poultry, do not forget to vaccinate it, try to exclude contact of poultry with strangers, store feed in closed rooms. Bird care should be carried out only in special clothing and shoes, which must be washed and cleaned regularly. If you find a dead bird, notify the veterinary service immediately.

South Korea, meanwhile continues to report additional environmental detections for H5Nx in bird feces, with HPAI status confirmed in a couple of them.  The following are avian flu reports from the Ministry of Agriculture over the past two days. 

Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Hyun-soo inspects avian influenza quarantine site in Gochang, Jeonbuk

In the feces of wild birds in Yongin, Gyeonggi (Cheongmicheon)

Detection of H5 (H5) type avian influenza (AI) antigen in wild bird feces in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province (Sangpaecheon)

While poultry outbreaks and detections in the wild remain sporadic, it does appear that HPAI H5N8 activity is increasing in Russia, Northern Europe, and Asia.   

Stay tuned.