Europe is experiencing “the most devastating” bird flu in its history

Fifty million poultry slaughtered… Europe has experienced the bird flu epidemic for more than a year “most devastating” never observed on its soil, according to health officials.

Between October 2021 and September 2022, “Europe has been hit by the most devastating outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)” of its history, with 37 European countries affected, and more than 2,500 outbreaks detected in farms on the continent, we can read in a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Center for Prevention and Disease Control (ECDC) and the European Union reference laboratory.

The losses in chicken, duck or turkey farms are actually higher because this estimate of 50 million birds killed does not include the preventive slaughter carried out around the outbreaks, the health agency told Agence France-Presse. The epidemic has not abated since September, and pollution doubles even as winter approaches.

Also read: Avian flu: breeders forced to “densify” their farms

EFSA emphasizes that ” for the first time “, there was no marked separation between two epidemic waves, as the disease had not receded during the summer. This autumn it has already been more virulent than last year at the same time, with a 35% higher number of infected farms.

Between 10 September and 2 December 2022, almost 400 outbreaks were recorded in farms in 18 European countries, France, the UK and Hungary leading the way. The virus has also been detected more than 600 times in wild birds, especially waterfowl (ducks, swans), which, according to this report, could have contributed to the spread of the virus.

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At the request of the European Commission, EFSA “is currently evaluating the availability of HPAI vaccines for poultry and investigating possible vaccination strategies”. The results of this work, which the breeders have been waiting with excitement, will be known in the second half of 2023.

The world with AFP

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