Never before have there been so many outbreaks of avian

Never before have there been so many outbreaks of avian flu in Europe as in 2021/2022

According to EU health authority ECDC, the worst avian flu epidemic on record took place in Europe in 2021/2022. There have been nearly 2,500 outbreaks in poultry and 48 million animals have been culled.

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

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.

Low risk for the population

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 Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) emphasizes on its website that no human infections have been detected in Austria. In this country, from mid-November 2021 to mid-May 2022, there were a total of four outbreaks in small businesses in Upper and Lower Austria and Styria. A total of 37 cases of avian influenza were found in wild birds in these federal states, as well as in Vienna and Carinthia. Until March 16, stables were mandatory for farms with more than 350 animals.