Data from EU authorities Europes worst bird flu epidemic

Data from EU authorities: Europe’s worst bird flu epidemic

According to data from the EU health authority ECDC, the latest epidemic of avian flu is the worst epidemic ever recorded in Europe.

According to a report published on Monday, nearly 2,500 outbreaks were detected on poultry farms during the 2021/2022 season. 48 million animals were killed in the attitudes.

More than 3,500 cases have been identified in wild birds. The geographic extent of the outbreak is also unique and stretches from Svalbard to Portugal and Ukraine. 37 European countries are affected. Nearly 190 cases have been reported in animals kept elsewhere, such as zoos.

Turkey shortage

After a large number of bird flu outbreaks in Britain too, poultry farmers fear for their turkeys, which are particularly popular around Christmas time. There have already been a few cases of bird flu among poultry farmers this year, James Mottershead of the National Farmers Union told Sky News on Monday. Such cases in the run-up to Christmas can lead to bottlenecks. “If you have an outbreak on your farm and the farm is classified as an infected site, that’s serious.” This could mean that you will have to suspend production for up to twelve months.

Serious diseases also in humans

Animal flu viruses can sporadically infect humans and cause mild to severe illness, according to the ECDC. Viruses have the potential to have a major impact on the health of the population, as examples from the past have shown. Despite the strong spread and despite the avian influenza infections in mammals, there has been no transmission to humans in the European Economic Area in recent years.

Worldwide, there were only a small number without symptoms or with a mild course. Therefore, the risk to the population is low, although slightly higher for people occupationally exposed to infected birds.

The EU authority underlined the importance of testing people with respiratory diseases and recent contact with potentially infected animals or animals of unknown origin. It is extremely important to detect possible transmissions early.

The head of the national reference laboratory for avian influenza at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) near Greifswald recently spoke of a completely new quality in relation to avian influenza. An infection on this summer’s scale is being observed for the first time, Timm Harder said. While in previous years outbreaks were mostly seasonal due to bird migration, now they occur throughout the year. All of North America is also affected. One can speak of a true pandemic in wild birds, said the expert.