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Outbreak of High Patogen Avian Influenza H5N8 in Germany

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Germany has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, H5N8 in fattening turkeys in North East Germany
(Mecklenburg - Western Pomerania). Increased mortality was observed in one of the six sheds of 15 week old birds for fattening (total number of turkeys on the premises ~ 31,000 of which each shed contained 5,000).

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Outbreak of High Patogen Avian Influenza H5N8 in Germany

  1. 1. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency Veterinary & Science Policy Advice Team - International Disease Monitoring 1 Preliminary Outbreak Assessment Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in turkeys in Germany 06 November 2014 Ref: VITT/1200 H5N8 HPAI in Germany Disease Report Germany has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, H5N8 in fattening turkeys in North East Germany (Mecklenburg Western Pomerania) (see map; OIE, 2014). Increased mortality was observed in one of the six sheds of 15 week old birds for fattening (total number of turkeys on the premises ~ 31,000 of which each shed contained 5,000). Disease control measures have been implemented including 3km and 10km protection and surveillance zones in line with Directive 2005/94/EC and the birds in the affected shed as well as all other poultry in the protection zone have been destroyed. There have been no recent traded consignments from the affected areas to the UK or other Member States. Situation Assessment During the past year, HPAI H5N8 has been reported from several countries in the Far East, in Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China (near the border with the Democratic Republic of Korea). In ROK, in excess of thirty five outbreaks have been reported since early 2014 from commercial poultry (principally breeding ducks but also chickens) and additional detections in wild waterfowl, resulting in the destruction of over 12 million poultry. In China, positive samples were found at a market during routine surveillance under the national plan. Japan reported just a single outbreak.
  2. 2. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency Veterinary & Science Policy Advice Team - International Disease Monitoring 2 Genetic characterisation of the viruses from both poultry and wild birds in ROK and China revealed there was very high sequence similarity with the haemagglutinin (HA) gene of H5N1 HPAI viruses isolated in China in 2011 and clustered within clade 2.3.4.6 indicating this newly emerged virus has derived following reassortment of H5N1 HPAI with other influenza viruses co-circulating in avian populations (Ku et al 2014; Lee et al 2014; Wu et al 2014). The predicted putative binding to host cell receptors is similar to H5N1 HPAI, preferentially binding the ‘avian’ receptor. However although no human infections with this virus have been reported to date, the potential risk to public health cannot be ignored. Wild Waterfowl and commercial ducks have been found to harbour the virus in ROK (Lee et al, 2014), where the infection caused depression, egg drop, some neurological signs and a slight increase in mortality. There is currently no evidence for the virus being present in wild waterfowl in Europe, although this possibility cannot be ruled out. In the absence of any other epidemiological explanation, virus introduction into Germany via wild birds appears highly plausible. Conclusion This is the season for increased wild bird migration especially waterfowl as well as seasonal poultry production and therefore there is an increased risk of incursion of any notifiable avian disease into the poultry sector through direct and indirect contact with wild birds and / or poor biosecurity. The report in North East Germany at this time of year therefore does increase the level of risk of incursion to the UK, although it is difficult to predict quantitatively with any precise confidence without data on any potential reservoir species and current wild bird demographics. However current UK wild bird surveillance targeting higher risk species for H5N1 HPAI infection is aligned with current knowledge from the Far East on carrier populations for H5N8. We will continue to report on the situation. We would like to remind all poultry keepers to maintain high standards of biosecurity, remain vigilant and report any suspect clinical signs promptly.
  3. 3. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency Veterinary & Science Policy Advice Team - International Disease Monitoring 3 Authors Jonathan Smith Professor Ian Brown Dr Helen Roberts References Ku KB, Park EH, Yum J, Kim JA, Oh SK, Seo SH. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) virus from waterfowl, South Korea, 2014 [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2014 Sep [06/11/2014]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2009.140390 Lee YJ, Kang HM, Lee EK, Song BM, Jeong J, Kwon YK, et al. Novel reassortant influenza A(H5N8) viruses, South Korea, 2014 [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2014 Jun [06/11/2014]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2006.140233 OIE (2014) Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus. Immediate Notification report Report Ref 14-015-00003; Ref OIE 16474 Report Date 06/11/2014. http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/temp/reports/en_imm_0000016474_20141106_172613.pdf Wu H, Peng X, Xu L, Jin C, Cheng L, Lu X, Novel Reassortant Influenza A(H5N8) Viruses in Domestic Ducks, Eastern China. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20:1315–8. © Crown copyright 2014 You may re-use this information (excluding logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence v.2. To view this licence visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2/ or email PSI@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/animal- diseases-international-monitoring Any enquiries regarding this publication should be sent to us at iadm@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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