Global Avian Influenza Update
Outbreaks of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus continue throughout Europe, including the UK, but the detection in wild birds is decreasing.
The number of positive detections is thought to be decreasing as the wild birds become more territorial and enter the breeding season. The threat of new points of entry from wild birds into the UK is now thought to be low but the risk remains at medium for environmental contamination from residential wild birds. The most recent outbreaks in Lancashire and Norfolk emphasise the high importance of biosecurity; the last three outbreaks have been in 'back yard' flocks.
There have now been a total of 23 H5N8 HPAI outbreaks in the UK during the winter-spring period with over half of these since January. The APHA perform routine surveillance testing on any received wild birds as part of a routine surveillance programme. Species testing positive for H5N8 over this period include ducks, geese, swans and raptors.
H5N1, H5N2 and H5N6 high pathogenic strains continue to cause outbreaks in endemic areas throughout the Far East and North Africa. The H7N9 HPAI strain has been detectedin chickens and people in China, although the rate of infection of the latter is declining. Both Japan and Korea are reporting outbreaks in wild migratory birds of H5N6. These strains and migratory birds need to be monitored closely as the migration routes used by those birds are the same as those which results in Europe and North America succumbing to H5N8 HPAI in 2014-15.