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High Pathogenic Avian influenza: risk for wild birds and poultry declining - separate assessment for cattle due to outbreaks in the USA

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Since mid-February, reports of outbreaks in domestic poultry and cases in wild birds have fallen sharply worldwide, although they have not yet stopped completely. In Germany, there have been no outbreaks in domestic poultry since March. Overall, the risk of cases in wild birds and outbreaks in poultry and bird flocks is therefore decreasing. Nevertheless, the recommended protective measures should continue to be applied.

Separate risk assessment for cattle in Germany

Since the end of March, an unusual outbreak of HPAIV H5N1 (genotype B3.13) has been reported in dairy farms in the USA. At least 36 farms in 9 states have been affected. In particular, very high viral loads have been detected in milk samples from sick cattle. All cases are thought to be due to an introduction into a dairy herd in Texas. More detailed epidemiological, clinical and virological data on the outbreaks in cattle are still lacking, so that it is not possible at this stage to make an overall assessment (actual spread, spread over time) or a detailed assessment (spread in the animal and in the herd). There is evidence that bovine udder tissues have the necessary receptors for influenza A viruses and therefore other variants and genotypes could also pose a risk if introduced directly into the udder.

The most likely routes of introduction of the American H5N1 virus into Germany are trade in cattle and contaminated cattle products from affected farms in the USA. According to available trade data, neither raw milk nor live cattle are imported from the USA to Germany. The FLI therefore considers the risk of the US HPAI H5N1 strain (B3.13) entering German cattle herds, including dairy farms, to be very low. The possibility of infection of cattle with HPAI H5 viruses occurring in Europe is also considered to be very low for Germany.

Cover of Rapid Risk Assessment

Cover of Rapid Risk Assessment