Germany records new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza

Germany has reported new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in another wild bird (a common buzzard) that has tested positive for H5N8 in the Leipzig region; and an outbreak on a large turkey farm, near the Dutch border.

Germany reported the outbreak of HPAI H5N8 in breeding turkeys on 21 March; in the Aurich region, in the north-west of the country, close to border with the Netherlands, according to the Animal and Diseases Notification System. 

The affected premises is a large turkey breeder farm with 10,579 birds. Of these, 130 were reported to have died from disease, and the remaining birds were culled.

Following an outbreak in a backyard poultry holding on 12 March in Leipzig a wild bird case in a common buzzard was reported in the same area on 21 March.

Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine have reported no new outbreaks since 16 March. 

According to data available on TRACES, GB has not imported any live birds or eggs from any of the areas surrounding the new German outbreak in the Aurich region, in the weeks prior to and after the detection of disease. 

Although an outbreak of HPAI H5N8 has occurred in poultry in north-western Germany near to the eastern border of the Netherlands, there are no more reports of cases in wild birds near to the UK. The H5N8-positive common buzzard was located in eastern Germany where H5N8 has recently been reported in poultry.  The detection of HPAI in poultry in Germany, particularly along the north-coast so near to the Netherlands, would be of great concern to the UK were it to occur in the autumn months, when wildfowl are migrating westwards to the UK. However at this time of year in late March, with the start of the migration of wild ducks, geese and swans away from their wintering sites in the UK to their breeding grounds in northern Europe/Russia, the risk of HPAI incursion in wild birds in the UK should be decreasing and is therefore still considered to be low.

The overall risk for poultry in the UK remains low, but the risk of introduction to individual premises depends upon the level of biosecurity implemented on farm to prevent direct or indirect contact with wild birds. It should be noted that the virus could potentially survive on pasture in wild bird faeces for several weeks at ambient temperatures in late March, emphasising the importance of these measures.

Defra recommends biosecurity measures should be maintained and further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu including updated biosecurity advice for poultry keepers

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