Skip navigation

Animal Disease Situation

Avian Influenza (AI) / Fowl Plague

Information on the current animal disease situation can be found in the respective latest issue of the monthly newsletter Radar Bulletin (in German language).

Avian Influenza (derived from the Latin word avis, bird), colloquially also called bird flu, is an infectious disease caused by viruses whose natural reservoir hosts are wild waterbirds. These viruses occur in two variants (low/highly pathogenic) and different subtypes (H1-16 in combination with N1-9). Low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) of the subtypes H5 and H7 cause almost none or only mild symptoms of disease in domestic poultry, particularly ducks and geese. However, these viruses have the capacity to evolve spontaneously into a highly pathogenic form (highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, HPAIV), which then clinically manifests as fowl plague. 

Fowl plague is highly contagious for domestic poultry and causes severe general symptoms of disease. Upon exposure to a high infectious dose, HPAIV, but also some LPAIV, can be transmitted to humans and have the potential to cause fatal human disease.

Risk Assessment, 08.11.2017

The HPAI H5N8 epidemics, which has caused more than 1,150 deaths in wild birds and 107 outbreaks in captive birds (92 poultry holdings and 15 zoos/wildlife parks) in Germany since 8 November 2016, ebbed away in spring 2017. However, further HPAI H5N8 infections have been observed in Germany since then (three dead mute swans in the South Harz region, Saxony-Anhalt, in August and one shot mallard duck in Lower Saxony in October 2017). 

In June a series of epidemiologically linked outbreaks occurred in Europe in captive birds in Belgium (10) and Luxemburg (4). In addition to sporadic outbreaks in Great Britain (1), Belgium (2), and Northern France (1), particularly Northern Italy has been affected from outbreaks in poultry since June 2017. Two further outbreaks in poultry holdings have been detected in Bulgaria. Furthermore, a total of 16 HPAI H5N8 cases were reported in mute swans, mallard ducks, and one grey heron in Great Britain (1), Switzerland (12), and Italy (3) in August and September. 

Outside Europe, HPAI H5N8 outbreaks in poultry have been confirmed since June 2017 in Nigeria, Simbabwe, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in the Asian part of the Russian Federation. HPAI H5N1 Clade 2.3.2.1c is endemic in Asia and in some African countries, e.g. in Egypt. Furthermore, other H5 strains related to HPAIV H5N1 are circulating in Asia. 

Genetic investigations and the determined relationship between HPAIV H5N8 detected in wild birds since June indicate that since its first introduction to Europe in October 2016 the virus has persisted in Europe at least in those regions where the most recent cases of HPAIV H5N8 have been detected. Therefore, it must be assumed that there is a risk of new infection chains which will increase with the number of susceptible water birds during fall migration. Biosafety measures in poultry holdings should be reviewed and optimized. The most effective protection of poultry from infection is to prevent direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds.

So far, none of the HPAIV subtypes detected in Europe has been found to cause clinical disease in humans. However, subtype H5N6 of clade 2.3.4.4c (so far only detected in Asia) is being observed with increased attention due to its zoonotic potential.

In summary, the risk of introduction and spread of HPAIV H5 in domestic poultry holdings is assessed as follows:

 

Entry risk assessment of HPAIV H5

Risk category

Introduction into Germany by

 

Illegal trade from third countries and European states

moderate

Legal trade from third countries and European states

moderate

persons and vehicle traffic

moderate

Wild birds

likely*

depending on the site  

_______________________

For Download

Full-length risk assessment dated November 08, 2017 (in German language only)

Risk Estimation, 31.03.2017

Assessment of the situation

The detection of HPAIV H5N8 in 29 European countries (listed chronologically by date of report: Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, France, Romania, Serbia, Great Britain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania) and the rapid distribution of the virus indicate a highly dynamic spatial spread of the infection. For the first time since onset of the current fowl plague epidemic the number of reports in wild birds has decreased considerably; in contrast, new outbreaks are reported almost daily from the German region with the highest poultry density in Lower Saxony. This is the most severe and most long-lasting fowl plague epidemic in Europe and Germany since outbreaks have been recorded.

POULTRY AND ZOOS/ANIMAL PARKS

In Germany, HPAI outbreaks have been reported from 90 poultry holdings and 15 zoos/animal parks. Almost all of these holdings are located in areas where increased numbers of dead HPAIV-positive water birds have been found. In the affected animal parks, mostly water birds with possible contact to wild waterfowl have been affected. In most poultry holdings, direct or indirect introduction via contaminated material (shoes, vehicles, objects) is the most likely route of infection. The risk of introduction by purchased poultry, feed and drinking water has been negligible in all outbreaks investigated epidemiologically by the FLI. Until March 2017 almost all outbreaks in affected holdings were primary outbreaks which did not spread any further; however, one outbreak in Brandenburg and outbreaks at three sites belonging to one holding in Schleswig-Holstein are highly likely to be secondary outbreaks. Since 02.03.2017, a series of 23 outbreaks in fattening turkeys has occurred in the district Cloppenburg, one of the regions with the highest poultry density in Germany. It is assumed that in these cases a spread of the virus between holdings plays an important role. Further single outbreaks were reported in the districts Oldenburg (turkey hens) and Ammerland (ducks). An alarming event is the outbreak in parent ducks in the district Ammerland, as the adult animals only showed a reduced laying performance but no increased mortality. An endemic establishment of the virus in water birds kept in captivity may lead to similar series of outbreaks as observed in France, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic where the virus seems to have found a niche in waterfowl populations.

WILD BIRDS

While in the 2014/2015 outbreak HPAIV H5N8 was only sporadically detected in healthy appearing wild birds (three mallard ducks, one common teal and one sea gull), this epidemic is characterized by detection of a large number of dead water birds and carrion-eating birds of prey, e.g. buzzards, white-tailed eagles and sea gulls. So far, the virus has been detected in at least 53 different bird species including species belonging to the categories diving ducks, grebes, sea gulls, swans, in isolated cases dabbling ducks (mallard duck), geese, birds of prey, owls and also carrion-eating songbirds (e.g. crows). The fact that HPAIV H5 has also been detected in healthy water birds or in their feces leads to the assumption that wild birds can excrete the virus without developing disease or dying. Infected but asymptomatic wild birds as well as birds during the incubation period continue to be mobile virus carriers. Furthermore, predators (mammals such as foxes and martens, but also birds of prey and crows) may break up carcasses of dead waterfowl and carry away parts of the carcasses or inner organs with high virus loads, thus causing a considerable contamination of the environment. Persons and vehicles accessing contaminated areas may spread the virus and introduce it into poultry holdings.

Since mid-March, the number of HPAI H5 cases reported in wild birds which still continued to increase considerably at the end of February has been decreasing strongly (Fig. 1). 

After the beginning of spring migration of nordic waterfowl in February and more prominently since March, strong migratory movements within Europe from the West and Southwest to the East and Northeast are observed (geese, swans, ducks, grebes). In most bird species, return migration to the breeding grounds does not take as long as fall migration. Due to the mild winter 2016/2017 spring migration of many water and shore birds, in particular geese, ducks, swans, gulls and pewits, already has fully started. Some species of these groups overwinter in Southwestern France, i.e. in the regions where currently the highest number of outbreaks in domestic poultry is reported. This applies to dabbling ducks such as mallards, common teals, diving ducks (common pochards, tufted ducks) and greylag geese which now return from these overwintering areas to their nesting grounds in Central and Northern Europe (including Germany). During the nesting season from March to June the birds do not commute. The activities of the breeding birds are restricted to their own limited territory. In general, water birds are rather reclusive during nesting season. In populations of cranes, white storks, but also many Anatidae species (ducks, geese, swans) there is a certain but hard to quantify percentage of non-breeding birds. These may migrate on a small scale depending on the food supply.  

HPAI infected wild birds are still reported (Fig. 1), in particular birds of prey and waterfowl species which breed in Germany (e.g. greylag geese, mute swans), so that it must be assumed that the virus is still present in waterfowl and in the environment (bird carcasses) in areas where local epidemics have occurred.

PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSES

Genetic analyses show a similarity to H5N8 viruses which were first detected in Southern Russia in the summer of 2016. These viruses show clear genetic differences to H5N8 viruses which occurred in Europe in 2014/2015. Therefore, the virus has been newly introduced, most likely by the same route as in 2014, i.e. via Russia by wild birds. Phylogenetic analyses lead to the assumption that on the way from Central Asia to Central Europe reassortment events with at least one other avian influenza virus have taken place. Direct introduction from China or the neighboring Asian countries by poultry and poultry products is very unlikely, as in this case other genetic patterns of the virus would have to be expected. The results of epidemiological outbreak investigations did not provide any indications for direct connections between the holdings affected in Germany and the endemic regions in East or Southeast Asia. (It must be mentioned that import bans on poultry and poultry products are in force for all countries affected from HPAI). The observed increased virulence in waterfowl correlates with the modified composition of the genome segments of the currently circulating H5N8 compared to the virus which circulated in 2014/2015.

Since mid-December 2016 a further subtype, H5N5, has been circulating in wild birds, which now has first been introduced into a poultry holding. This virus is a reassortant based on the original H5N8. Mixed viruses, so-called reassortants, of avian influenza viruses are generated, if several virus subtypes are present in one infected animal and exchange genetic material during replication. First analyses of the H5N5 virus also showed a relationship with HPAIV H5N8 precursor viruses from the Russian-Mongolian border region. It seems to have evolved in parallel with or shortly after HPAIV H5N8, but shows genetic differences and was then also introduced to Germany. Generation of reassortants always must be expected when different high and low pathogenic influenza viruses are circulating in one population. Thus, a further diversification of the viruses is to be expected given the multitude of currently circulating high and low pathogenic influenza strains.

So far, no cases of HPAIV H5N8 or HPAIV H5N5 infection in mammals, including humans, have been reported. 

Conclusions and recommendations

It remains to be seen whether the number of HPAI cases in wild birds will continue to decrease over the next weeks. At present, single cases still are reported sporadically from different federal states (mainly inland states). Massive outbreak series in domestic poultry holdings caused by different high and low pathogenic H5 subtypes in France and some Balkan states (Table 2) are considered to be problematic, as the virus can be reintroduced into the wild bird population as long as the epidemic lasts, if infected domestic water birds come into contact with wild waterfowl. Therefore, the risk of introduction by wild birds into domestic poultry holdings and birds kept in zoological gardens in Germany by direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry in areas where HPAI H5 infected wild birds are found is considered to be high. In other areas where HPAI H5N8 has not been detected in wild birds for a longer period of time and where no waterbirds gather the risk is considered to be low.

In Lower Saxony, particularly in the district Cloppenburg, the risk of introduction due to a spread of the virus between poultry holdings is considered to be high.

For waterfowl kept in captivity the risk of an unrecognized circulation of HPAI H5 viruses and of a spread between poultry holdings is considered to be high.

Protection of domestic poultry holdings from infection with HPAIV H5N8 is the highest priority. It is essential to prevent a spread of infections between poultry holdings. This requires the implementation of strict biosafety measures, particularly consistent cleaning and disinfection of equipment and vehicles. Revision, optimization and strict implementation of biosafety measures are of utmost importance. Poultry farmers are obliged by law to observe basic biosafety rules. The creation of a physical and functional barrier between wild bird habitats where cases of HPAI have occurred and domestic poultry holdings remains important. Risk-based indoor housing of poultry and other biosafety measures minimize the risk of direct and indirect contact with infected wild birds. In particular, indirect introduction routes, e.g. contaminated food, water or contaminated litter and objects (shoes, wheelbarrows, vehicles etc.) must be taken into account. These routes must be cut off and adequate disinfection measures must be taken. 

In detail, the following recommendations are made:

  • Increased virological and/or serological surveillance of water bird holdings to ensure early detection of a possibly unrecognized circulation of HPAI.
  • Observance of strict biosafety measures in all poultry holdings, also small-scale holdings, zoological gardens, animal parks and shelters, if necessary by means of check lists
  • Joint use of equipment, carcass containers and vehicles by poultry holdings should be avoided
  • Access of vehicles and persons to poultry holdings should be limited as far as possible. After entering a poultry holding persons who regularly take care of the animals in one holding should refrain from visiting other poultry holdings for the following 72 hours. Veterinarians and other professionals who visit poultry holdings should interrupt their tour and observe the recommended quarantine period after accessing a holding where clinical signs or losses indicate an outbreak of HPAI.
  • Risk-based restriction of free-range husbandry (mandatory indoor housing) of poultry (at least in regions with a high wild bird density, a high poultry density, in the vicinity of wild bird resting and gathering areas, or locations where HPAIV H5 has been detected)
  • Poultry holdings which have been exempt from mandatory indoor housing should be investigated clinically and virologically at three-week-intervals maximum
  • Prevention of access of free-range poultry to natural bodies of water
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds and mammals in areas where increased numbers of dead wild birds have been found
  • Increased investigation of dead wild birds or wild birds living on or around water for avian influenza viruses 
  • No contact of hunters who have been in contact with game birds with domestic poultry; in areas where fowl plague has been detected in wild birds ban on game bird hunting
  • Avoidance of direct contact between humans and pet animals and dead or ill wild birds
  • Assessment of practicability of the measures foreseen in the animal disease emergency plans and, if necessary, revision of plans.

_______________________

For Download

Full-length risk estimation dated March 31, 2017 (in German language only)

Risk Estimation, 13.02.2017

Assessment of the situation

The detection of HPAIV H5N8 in 26 European countries (listed chronologically by date of report: Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, France, Romania, Serbia, Great Britain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, and Belgium) and the rapid distribution of the virus indicate a further highly dynamic spatial spread of the infection. The number of cases reported from various parts of Europe increases daily; often also birds kept in zoological gardens and animal parks are affected. In Germany, the case numbers in wild birds and the number of outbreaks in bird holdings (69) have reached an unprecedented level.

WILD BIRDS
While in the 2014/2015 outbreak HPAIV H5N8 was only sporadically detected in healthy appearing wild birds (three mallard ducks, one common teal and one sea gull), currently a large number of dead water birds and carrion-eating birds of prey, e.g. buzzards, white-tailed eagles and sea gulls, is found. So far, the virus has been detected in 47 different bird species including species belonging to the categories diving ducks, grebes, sea gulls, swans, in isolated cases dabbling ducks (mallard duck), geese, birds of prey and also carrion-eating songbirds (e.g. crows). The fact that HPAIV H5 has also been detected in healthy water birds or in their feces leads to the assumption that wild birds can excrete the virus without developing disease or dying. It must be concluded that there is an ongoing HPAI H5N8 epidemics among wild water bird species and that the dead birds found possibly represent no more than the tip of the iceberg.

Infected but asymptomatic wild birds as well as birds during the incubation period continue to be mobile virus carriers. Many water bird species (e.g. geese, swans, some duck species) move between cropland (particularly grassland, maize stubble and winter rapeseed and grains) where they feed during the day and waterbodies where they rest during the evening and night. They can excrete the virus with the feces and contaminate the respective surfaces and waterbodies. Furthermore, predators (mammals such as foxes and martens, but also birds of prey and crows) may break up carcasses of dead waterfowl and carry away parts of the carcasses or inner organs with high virus loads, thus causing a considerable contamination of the environment. Persons and vehicles accessing contaminated areas may spread the virus and introduce it into poultry holdings.

If the frosty weather continues, further dynamic migratory movements of birds must be expected. Most water bird species flee from the cold, i.e. they move to ice-free waterbodies. Such weather conditions can lead to a spread of the infection among wild birds in inland areas and in Southern Europe.

POULTRY AND ZOOS/ANIMAL PARKS

In Germany, HPAIV H5N8 so far has been introduced into 54 poultry holdings and 15 zoos/animal parks. Almost all of these holdings are located in areas where increased numbers of dead HPAIV-positive water birds have been found. In the affected animal parks, mostly water birds with possible contact to wild waterfowl were affected. In most poultry holdings, direct or indirect introduction via contaminated material (shoes, vehicles, objects) is the most likely route of infection. The risk of introduction by purchased poultry, feed and drinking water has been negligible in all outbreaks investigated epidemiologically by the FLI. Most outbreaks in affected holdings were primary outbreaks which did not spread any further; three cases however are highly likely to be secondary outbreaks. In all locations where contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry are possible infections can be introduced and distributed and new sources of infection can develop.

PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSES
Genetic analyses show a similarity to H5N8 viruses which were first detected in Southern Russia in the summer of 2016. These viruses show clear genetic differences to H5N8 viruses which occurred in Europe in 2014/2015. Therefore, the virus has been newly introduced, most likely by the same route as in 2014, i.e. via Russia by wild birds. Phylogenetic analyses lead to the assumption that on the way from Central Asia to Central Europe reassortment events with at least one other avian influenza virus have taken place. Direct introduction from China or the neighboring Asian countries by poultry and poultry products is very unlikely, as in this case other genetic patterns of the virus would have to be expected. The results of epidemiological outbreak investigations did not provide any indications for direct connections between the holdings affected in Germany and the endemic regions in East or Southeast Asia. (It must be mentioned that import bans on poultry and poultry products are in force for all countries affected from HPAI). The observed increased virulence in waterfowl correlates with the modified composition of the genome segments of the currently circulating H5N8 compared to the virus which circulated in 2014/2015.

Since mid-December 2016 a further subtype, H5N5, has been circulating in wild birds, which now has first been introduced into a poultry holding. This virus is a reassortant based on the original H5N8. Mixed viruses, so-called reassortants, of avian influenza viruses are generated, if several virus subtypes are present in one infected animal and exchange genetic material during replication. First analyses of the H5N5 virus also showed a relationship with HPAIV H5N8 precursor viruses from the Russian-Mongolian border region. It seems to have evolved in parallel with or shortly after HPAIV H5N8, but shows genetic differences and was then also introduced to Germany. Generation of reassortants always must be expected when different high and low pathogenic influenza viruses are circulating in one population. 

So far, no human cases of HPAIV H5N8 or HPAIV H5N5 infection have been reported.

Conclusions and recommendations

Due to the current spread of HPAIV H5N8 in wild birds in 26 European countries and in currently 15 affected German States the risk of introduction into domestic poultry holdings and captive bird holdings in zoological gardens through direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry is estimated to be high, particularly for holdings in the vicinity of resting and gathering areas of waterfowl, including agricultural cropland where wild birds gather.

Protection of domestic poultry holdings from infection with HPAIV H5N8 is the highest priority. Emphasis is put on the creation of a physical and functional barrier between wild bird habitats and domestic poultry holdings. Mandatory indoor housing of poultry and other biosafety measures minimize the risk of direct and indirect contact with infected wild birds. In particular, indirect introduction routes, e.g. by feed contaminated by wild birds, water or contaminated litter and objects (shoes, wheelbarrows, vehicles etc.) must be cut off and adequate disinfection measures must be taken. A spread of infections between poultry holdings must be prevented. This requires the implementation of strict biosafety measures, particularly consistent cleaning and disinfection of equipment and vehicles. Revision, optimization and strict implementation of biosafety measures are of utmost importance. Poultry farmers are obliged by law to observe basic biosafety rules.

In detail, the following recommendations are made:

  • Observance of strict biosafety measures in all poultry holdings, also small-scale holdings, zoological gardens, animal parks and shelters, including change of shoes and clothing, disinfection measures
  • After entering a poultry holding persons should refrain from visiting other poultry holdings for the following 72 hours
  • Joint use of equipment and vehicles by poultry holdings should be avoided
  • Access of vehicles and persons to poultry holdings should be limited as far as possible
  • Risk-based restriction of free-range husbandry (mandatory indoor housing) of poultry (at least in regions with a high wild bird density, a high poultry density, in the vicinity of wild bird resting and gathering areas, or locations where HPAIV H5N8 has been detected)
  • Indoor housing of zoo birds as far as possible, limited access to aviaries/bird shows
  • Prevention of access of free-range poultry to natural bodies of water
  • Increased investigations of poultry holdings; in galliform birds increased clinical examinations, in geese and ducks PCR testing of combined pharyngeal and cloacal swabs pursuant to the legal regulations
  • Poultry holdings which have been exempt from mandatory indoor housing should be investigated clinically and virologically at three-week-intervals maximum
  • Ban on live bird exhibitions of any kind until further notice
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds and mammals in areas where increased numbers of dead wild birds have been found
  • Increased investigation of dead wild birds or wild birds living on or around water for avian influenza viruses (passive and active wild bird monitoring, particularly by field-collected fecal samples)
  • No contact of hunters who have been in contact with game birds with domestic poultry; in areas where fowl plague has been detected in wild birds ban on game bird hunting
  • Avoidance of direct contact between humans and pet animals and dead or ill wild birds
  • Assessment of practicability of the measures foreseen in the animal disease emergency plans and, if necessary, revision of plans.

_______________________

For Download

Full-length risk estimation dated February 13, 2017 (in German language only)

Risk Estimation, 22.12.2016

The detection of HPAIV H5N8 in 16 European countries (Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, France, Romania, Serbia, Great Britain, Greece, and Bulgaria) and the rapid distribution of the virus indicate a currently highly dynamic spread of the infection. The number of cases reported from various parts of Europe increases daily; often also birds kept in zoological gardens and animal parks are affected. In Germany, the case numbers in wild birds and the number of outbreaks in poultry holdings and zoological gardens have reached an unprecedented level.

While in the 2014/2015 outbreak HPAIV H5N8 was only sporadically detected in healthy appearing wild birds (three mallard ducks, one common teal and one sea gull), currently a large number of dead water birds and carrion-eating birds of prey, e.g. buzzards, white-tailed eagles and sea gulls, is found. So far, the virus has been detected in 35 different bird species including species belonging to the categories diving ducks, grebes, sea gulls, swans, in isolated cases dabbling ducks (mallard duck), geese, birds of prey and also carrion-eating songbirds (e.g. crows). As at present mainly wild birds which have been found dead are investigated, it is unknown which other bird species may possibly carry the virus and do not develop symptoms of disease or die. It must be concluded that there is an ongoing HPAI H5N8 epidemics among wild water bird species and that the dead birds found possibly represent no more than the tip of the iceberg.

Infected but asymptomatic wild birds as well as birds during the incubation period continue to be mobile virus carriers. Many water bird species (e.g. geese, some duck species) move between cropland where they stay during the day and waterbodies where they rest during the evening and night. They can excrete the virus with the feces and contaminate the respective surfaces and waterbodies. Furthermore, predators (mammals such as foxes and martens, but also birds of prey and crows) may break up carcasses of dead waterfowl and carry away parts of the carcasses or inner organs, thus causing a considerable contamination of the environment. Persons and vehicles accessing contaminated areas may spread the virus and introduce it into poultry holdings.

In Germany, HPAIV H5N8 so far has been introduced into twelve poultry holdings and four zoos/animal parks. Almost all of these holdings are located in areas where increased numbers of dead water birds, in many cases infected with HPAI H5N8, have been found. In all these cases, direct or indirect introduction via contaminated material (shoes, vehicles, objects) is the most likely route of infection.

First genetic analyses show a similarity to H5N8 viruses which were first detected in Southern Russia in the summer of 2016. These viruses show clear genetic differences to H5N8 viruses which occurred in Europe in 2014/2015. Therefore, the virus has been newly introduced, most likely by the same route as in 2014, i.e. via Russia by wild birds. Phylogenetic analyses lead to the assumption that on the way from Central Asia to Central Europe reassortment events with at least one other avian influenza virus have taken place. The observed increased virulence in waterfowl correlates with the modified composition of the genome segments of the currently circulating H5N8 compared to the virus which circulated in 2014/2015.

So far, no human cases of HPAIV H5N8 infection have been reported. Due to the genetic variability no reliable conclusions with regard to the virulence of the currently circulating pathogen are possible at present.

Conclusions and recommendations

Due to the current spread of HPAIV H5N8 in wild birds in Europe and in currently 15 affected German States the risk of introduction into domestic poultry holdings and captive bird holdings in zoological gardens through direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry is estimated to be high, particularly for holdings in the vicinity of resting and gathering areas of waterfowl, including agricultural crop land where wild birds gather.

Protection of domestic poultry holdings from infection with HPAIV H5N8 is the highest priority. Emphasis is put on the creation of a physical and functional barrier between wild bird habitats and domestic poultry holdings. Mandatory indoor housing of poultry and other biosafety measures minimize the risk of direct and indirect contact with infected wild birds. In particular, indirect introduction routes, e.g. by feed contaminated by wild birds, water or contaminated litter and objects (shoes, wheelbarrows, vehicles etc.) must be cut off and adequate disinfection measures must be taken. Revision, optimization and strict implementation of biosafety measures are of utmost importance. Poultry farmers are obliged by law to observe basic biosafety rules.

In detail, the following recommendations are made:

  • Observance of strict biosafety measures in all poultry holdings, also small-scale holdings, zoological gardens, animal parks and shelters, including change of shoes and clothing, disinfection measures
  • Risk-based restriction of free-range husbandry (mandatory indoor housing) of poultry (at least in regions with a high wild bird density, a high poultry density, in the vicinity of wild bird resting and gathering areas, or locations where HPAIV H5N8 has been detected)
  • Indoor housing of zoo birds as far as possible, limited access to aviaries/bird shows
  • Prevention of access of free-range poultry to natural bodies of water
  • Increased investigations of poultry holdings; in galliform birds increased clinical examinations, in geese and ducks PCR testing of combined pharyngeal and cloacal swabs pursuant to the legal regulations
  • Poultry holdings which have been exempt from mandatory indoor housing should be investigated clinically and virologically at three-week-intervals maximum
  • Ban on live bird exhibitions of any kind until further notice
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds and mammals in areas where increased numbers of dead wild birds have been found
  • Increased investigation of dead wild birds or wild birds living on or around water for avian influenza viruses (passive and active wild bird monitoring, particularly by field-collected fecal samples)
  • No contact of hunters who have been in contact with game birds with domestic poultry; in areas where fowl plague has been detected in wild birds ban on game bird hunting
  • Avoidance of direct contact between humans and pet animals and dead or ill wild birds
  • Assessment of practicability of the measures foreseen in the animal disease emergency plans and, if necessary, revision of plans.

Risk Estimation, 02.12.2016

Due to the current spread of HPAIV H5N8 in wild birds in Europe and in currently 13 affected German States the risk of introduction into domestic poultry holdings and captive bird holdings in zoological gardens through direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry is estimated to be high, particularly for holdings in the vicinity of resting and gathering areas of waterfowl, including agricultural crop land where wild birds gather. 

Protection of domestic poultry holdings from infection with HPAIV H5N8 is the highest priority. Emphasis is put on the creation of a physical and functional barrier between wild bird habitats and domestic poultry holdings. Mandatory indoor housing of poultry and other biosafety measures minimize the risk of direct and indirect contact with infected wild birds. In particular, indirect introduction routes, e.g. by feed contaminated by wild birds, water or contaminated litter and objects (shoes, wheelbarrows, vehicles etc.) must be cut off and adequate disinfection measures must be taken. Revision, optimization and strict implementation of biosafety measures are of utmost importance. Poultry farmers are obliged by law to observe basic biosafety rules.

In detail, the following recommendations are made:

  • Observance of strict biosafety measures in all poultry holdings, also small-scale holdings and zoological gardens including change of shoes and clothing, disinfection measures
  • Risk-based restriction of free-range husbandry (mandatory indoor housing) of poultry (at least in regions with a high wild bird density, a high poultry density, in the vicinity of wild bird resting and gathering areas, or locations where HPAIV H5N8 has been detected)
  • Indoor housing of zoo birds as far as possible, limited access to aviaries/bird shows
  • Prevention of access of free-range poultry to natural bodies of water
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds
  • Increased investigations of poultry holdings; in galliform birds increased clinical examinations, in geese and ducks PCR testing of combined pharyngeal and cloacal swabs pursuant to the legal regulations
  • Poultry holdings which have been exempt from mandatory indoor housing should be investigated clinically and virologically at three-week-intervals maximum
  • Ban on live bird exhibitions of any kind until further notice
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds
  • Increased investigation of dead wild birds or wild birds living on or around water for avian influenza viruses (passive and active wild bird monitoring, particularly by field-collected faecal samples)
  • No contact of hunters who have been in contact with game birds with domestic poultry; in areas where fowl plague has been detected in wild birds ban on game bird hunting
  • Avoidance of direct contact between humans and pet animals and dead or ill wild birds
  • Assessment of practicability of the measures foreseen in the animal disease emergency plans and, if necessary, revision of plans.

_________________

For download: Full-length risk estimation dated 2 December 2016 (in German language only)

Risk Estimation, 25.11.2016

Due to the current spread of HPAIV H5N8 in wild birds in Europe and in currently 13 affected German States the risk of introduction into domestic poultry holdings through direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry is estimated to be high, particularly for holdings in the vicinity of resting and gathering areas of waterfowl, including agricultural crop land where wild birds gather. 

Protection of domestic poultry holdings from infection with HPAIV H5N8 is the highest priority. Emphasis is put on the creation of a physical and functional barrier between wild bird habitats and domestic poultry holdings. Mandatory indoor housing of poultry and other biosafety measures minimize the risk of direct and indirect contact with infected wild birds. In particular, indirect introduction routes, e.g. by feed contaminated by wild birds, water or contaminated litter and objects (shoes, wheelbarrows, vehicles etc.) must be cut off and adequate disinfection measures must be taken. Revision, optimization and strict implementation of biosafety measures are of utmost importance. Poultry farmers are obliged by law to observe basic biosafety rules.

In detail, the following recommendations are made:

  • Observance of strict biosafety measures in all poultry holdings, also small-scale holdings, including change of shoes and clothing, disinfection measures
  • Risk-based restriction of free-range husbandry (mandatory indoor housing) of poultry (at least in regions with a high wild bird density, a high poultry density, in the vicinity of wild bird resting and gathering areas, or locations where HPAIV H5N8 has been detected)
  • Indoor housing of zoo birds as far as possible, limited access to aviaries/bird shows
  • Prevention of access of free-range poultry to natural bodies of water
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds 
  • Increased investigations of poultry holdings; in galliform birds increased clinical examinations, in geese and ducks PCR testing of combined pharyngeal and cloacal swabs pursuant to the legal regulations
  • Poultry holdings which have been exempt from mandatory indoor housing should be investigated clinically and virologically at three-week-intervals maximum
  • Poultry exhibitions should be banned; the same applies to dove exhibitions (although so far doves have not been affected by H5N8 infections)
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds
  • Increased investigation of dead wild birds or wild birds living on or around water for avian influenza viruses (passive and active wild bird monitoring, particularly by field-collected faecal samples)
  • No contact of hunters who have been in contact with game birds with domestic poultry; if required ban on game bird hunting
  • Avoidance of direct contact between humans and pet animals and dead or ill wild birds
  • Assessment of practicability of the measures foreseen in the animal disease emergency plans and, if necessary, revision of plans.

____________________

For download:

Full-length risk estimation dated 25 November 2016 (in German language only)

Risk Estimation, 18.11.2016

Due to the current spread of HPAIV H5N8 in wild birds in Europe and in currently eight affected German States the risk of introduction into domestic poultry holdings through direct and indirect contacts between wild birds and domestic poultry is estimated to be high, particularly for holdings in the vicinity of resting and gathering areas of waterfowl, including agricultural crop land where wild birds gather. 

Protection of domestic poultry holdings from infection with HPAIV H5N8 is the highest priority. Emphasis is put on the creation of a physical and functional barrier between wild bird habitats and domestic poultry holdings. Mandatory indoor housing of poultry and other biosafety measures minimize the risk of direct and indirect contact with infected wild birds. In particular, indirect introduction routes, e.g. by feed contaminated by wild birds, water or contaminated litter and objects (shoes, wheelbarrows, vehicles etc.) must be cut off and adequate disinfection measures must be taken. Revision, optimization and strict implementation of biosafety measures are of utmost importance. Poultry farmers are obliged by law to observe basic biosafety rules.

In detail, the following recommendations are made:

  • Observance of strict biosafety measures in all poultry holdings, also small-scale holdings, including change of shoes and clothing, disinfection measures
  • Risk-based restriction of free-range husbandry (mandatory indoor housing) of poultry (at least in regions with a high wild bird density, a high poultry density, in the vicinity of wild bird resting and gathering areas, or locations where HPAIV H5N8 has been detected)
  • Indoor housing of zoo birds as far as possible, limited access to aviaries/bird shows
  • Prevention of access of free-range poultry to natural bodies of water
  • Notification of the responsible veterinary authority in case of dead or ill wild birds 
  • Increased investigations of poultry holdings; in galliform birds increased clinical examinations, in geese and ducks PCR testing of combined pharyngeal and cloacal swabs pursuant to the legal regulations
  • Increased investigation of dead wild birds or wild birds living on or around water for avian influenza viruses (passive and active wild bird monitoring, particularly by field-collected faecal samples)
  • No contact of hunters who have been in contact with game birds with domestic poultry 
  • Avoidance of direct contact between humans and pet animals and dead or ill wild birds
  • Assessment of practicability of the measures foreseen in the animal disease emergency plans and, if necessary, revision of plans.

________________________

For download:

Full-length risk estimation dated 18 November 2016 (in German language only)

['']

Pressemitteilung

Insel Riems, 08. November 2016. - Das Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) bestätigt die Infektion von Wildvögeln mit hochpathogener aviärer Influenza (Geflügelpest) vom Subtyp H5N8 in Plön, Schleswig-Holstein. Weitere Verdachtsfälle aus Schleswig-Holstein und Baden-Württemberg (Bodensee) werden derzeit untersucht. In den letzten Tagen wurden diese Viren bereits bei Hausgeflügel (Puten) in Ungarn und wilden Wasservögeln in Ungarn (Höckerschwan), Kroatien und in Polen (Möwe, Ente) nahe der Grenze zu Mecklenburg-Vorpommern nachgewiesen. Das FLI rät zu erhöhter Aufmerksamkeit und empfiehlt nachdrücklich, die Biosicherheitsmaßnahmen in den Geflügelhaltungen zu überprüfen und bei Bedarf zu optimieren. Insbesondere sollte der Kontakt von Wildvögeln zu Nutzgeflügel verhindert werden. Dies gilt auch für Vogelhaltungen in Zoos.

Bei tot aufgefundenen Reiherenten am Plöner See in Schleswig-Holstein stellte zunächst das zuständige Landesuntersuchungslabor den Verdacht auf Geflügelpest. Zur Abklärung erhielt das Nationale Referenzlabor für aviäre Influenza am FLI entsprechende Proben. In drei Proben wurde heute hochpathogene aviäre Influenza vom Subtyp H5N8 bestätigt. Weitere Untersuchungen von tot aufgefundenen Wildvögeln in Schleswig-Holstein und Baden-Württemberg werden derzeit durchgeführt. Auf der schweizerischen und österreichischen Seite des Bodensees werden ebenfalls Verdachtsfälle bei tot aufgefundenen Wildvögeln abgeklärt.


Zum Download

Presseinformation