Global Avian Influenza Situation

June 6, 2017

June 7, 2017

The following AI reports are summarized from multiple sources including OIE reports, government news releases and WATT AgNet up to June 7, 2017.

The global avian influenza risk is receding as the spring wild bird migration in northern hemisphere concludes. However, after a short respite, there have been significant sporadic outbreaks in various European, Asian and African countries. The disease has returned to some European countries that were preparing to announce freedom from HPAI, and birds in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe have tested positive for the virus for the first time. New HPAI outbreaks have also been reported in South Korea and in China.

United Kingdom

(June 3) The United Kingdom's deputy chief veterinary officer has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a small flock of chickens and geese in South Norfolk. The government has only recently (May 15) relaxed the Avian Flu Prevention Zones and a ban on poultry gatherings. Previously H5N8 in poultry in England was confirmed on 6-7 May 2017 in Lancashire and before that on 24 Feb 2017. In March 2017, millions of UK free range eggs temporarily lost their status after hens were forced to spend weeks inside barns as part of the government's emergency bird flu measures.


There was a total of 485 confirmed outbreaks of HPAI in the main foie gras-producing area in the south-east of France between November 2016 and March of this year. Duck and goose producers in departments that registered outbreaks undertook to keep their farms free of these species from April 17 to May 28. Now that period has passed for most departments, poultry breeders are now permitted to re-stock their farms, providing they stick to the agreed high biosecurity measures.


(June 2) Between February 3th 2017 and June 2nd, 2017, 6 cases of HPAI (subtype H5N8) were identified in Belgium's wild bird population. Two of these HPAI contaminations were found in captive wild birds.
No outbreak of HPAI in poultry has been identified in Belgium since 2003.


(June 2) A bird flu outbreak has been confirmed at 3 poultry farms in Luxembourg. HPAI has not been reported from this country since 1956. Remarkably, several serotypes of the virus have been repeatedly reported, throughout the years and up to 2017, from all of Luxembourg's neighboring countries (Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.)


After a period of freedom from the disease, the H5N8 virus has been confirmed in a commercial flock of broiler turkeys in Mantua province in Lombardy. Protection and surveillance zones have been set up around the affected premises.
Following a total of 15 earlier HPAI outbreaks in poultry, the last surveillance zone was closed in mid-May. In total, almost 340,000 birds died or were humanely destroyed because of H5N8 HPAI infections across five of the country’s northern regions. Eight of the outbreaks involved meat turkeys, two were in laying hens, four were in mixed backyard flocks, and one involved game birds.


(June 6) Russia’s animal health agency reports two new HPAI cases in small backyard flocks - the first in their respective regions – Nizhny Novogorod oblast and the Udmurt Republic. In May, six new outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 virus in small flocks of poultry were reported. Five of these were in the Tatarstan Republic – where previous cases have occurred. – and a first outbreak in neighbouring Mari-El Republic.


(May 6) Iran Veterinary Organization informed the OIE that the country had rid itself of HPAI. Since late 2016, the virus had spread across 24 Iranian provinces, leading to the culling of some 12 million chicken.


(May 23) Egypt reported six more highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreaks, mostly involving backyard poultry. Egypt's outbreaks began between 28 February and 16 April, spanning six different governorates. As part of the outbreak response health officials vaccinated about 543,000 poultry.


(May 17) An HPAI H5N8 outbreak involves a self-contained large commercial poultry breeding farm for broilers and layers of 2 million birds. One of the eight separately managed sites was affected, a parent breeding unit for broilers with 83,000 birds. A total of 3,045 birds died within a week at this site showing signs consistent with highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Democratic Republic of Congo:

For the first time, HPAI of an H5 subtype has been detected. A bird flu (H5) outbreak in eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo has killed over 5000 chicken and ducks in small commercial flocks on the shores of Lake Albert. Three village flocks in the Djugu district of Ituri province were also hit by the disease in Congo in April, leading to the loss of almost 21,000 birds.


After battling H5N1 HPAI for more than two years, two new outbreaks in layer flocks have been reported.


Three latest outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in backyard poultry occurred in the central region. More than 4,000 birds died or were destroyed.


Taiwan has reported to OIE three new outbreaks of HPAI in poultry caused by the H5N2 virus variant affecting a duck flock and two small flocks. More than 16,700 poultry were lost in those outbreaks.


(June 1) More than 20,000 layer chickens died from an outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
Human infections continue to increase. 96 H7N9 infections and 47 deaths were reported nationwide in March. In April, 81 infections and 24 deaths were reported bringing the total number of human cases since 2013 to 1559. These cases were spread across 11 provinces and most of the patients are known to have had exposure to live poultry.
According to WHO, the number of infections and the geographical distribution in this current fifth epidemic wave (all laying hens ) are higher than in previous waves, indicating that the virus is spreading, and that intensive surveillance and control measures are crucial in both people and animals.

South Korea:

After an absence of two months, H5N8 HPAI is suspected to have caused losses in a backyard flock on the island of Jeju, and a further 6,000 poultry at a commercial farm in the city of Busan.