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H5N8 avian flu spreads in Poland, neighbors

Contact with wild birds suspected in avian influenza outbreaks reported in Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.

In a Jan. 14 situation assessment, the U.K. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) noted that Poland has reported additional cases of the H5N8 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

DEFRA added that H5N8 HPAI outbreaks have also been reported in Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.

Poland had first noted H5N8 HPAI in late December.

The new cases in Poland include a flock of 14-week-old turkeys in the western county of Mysliborski, where H5N8 HPAI was detected following sampling due to increased mortality, with more than 22,000 birds being culled. The second outbreak was in a flock of 5,500-plus commercial geese in the Kolski region of central Poland, DEFRA reported.

These latest two outbreaks bring the total number of cases in Poland this season to 11.

On Jan. 9, Slovakia reported its first H5N8 HPAI case of the 2019-20 season in a small backyard holding of 22 free-range hens in the western county of Nitra. According to the DEFRA report, there are no links to commercial poultry from this flock, and disease control measures are in place.

DEFRA said Hungary confirmed its first outbreak of H5N8 HPAI on Jan. 12 in a commercial poultry operation with about 53,000 turkeys in the northwestern county of Komárom-Esztergom, close to the border with Slovakia. Samples were taken following an increased mortality rate and the onset of respiratory symptoms in the 13-week-old birds.

In a Jan. 15 notice to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Hungary reported H5N8 HPAI in a flock of 115,500 young ducks near Letavertes, near the border with Romania. The OIE report lists the possible cause of infection as "indirect contact with wild birds."

Additionally, Romania confirmed its first outbreak of H5N8 HPAI on Jan. 14 following the deaths of about 11,000 birds from a commercial poultry operation with approximately 18,700 laying hens in the northwestern county of Maramures, close to the borders with Hungary and Ukraine, DEFRA said.

DEFRA noted that H5N8 HPAI was last reported in poultry in Romania, Slovakia and Hungary in April 2017.

Poland is said to have one of largest poultry sectors in Europe.

TAGS: News Poultry
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