Update on Avian Influenza: November, 2016

free range chickenThere are no US outbreaks of AI at the moment, but the situation in Europe and Asia is troublesome. The world Organization for Animal Health (OIE) keeps a running tally of where/when highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI; H5 and H7 serotypes) occurs. As of now, they list 12 European/Northern Asian countries with current (November 2016) reported outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI. The affected countries are Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland. There are also other non-European countries (India, Israel, Iran) with the same strain of HPAI. As well, other strains of HPAI are currently present in Algeria, (H7N1), Japan, and South Korea (H5N6). Activity to contain and control HPAI is ongoing, via eradication, cleaning, and confirmation of clearance. Migratory waterfowl are important as reservoirs of HPAI worldwide, but farm-to-farm spread has been thought to be due to human error, and occasionally due to airborne transmission from fields visited by waterfowl. As ever, prevention of spread by the use of biosecurity practices is paramount; see USDA’s Biosecurity for Birds to review.