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Worst ever bird flu crisis in Europe raises risks for next season - EFSA

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By Reuters
Worst ever bird flu crisis in Europe raises risks for next season - EFSA
Worst ever bird flu crisis in Europe raises risks for next season - EFSA   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022   -  

<div> <p>By Sybille de La Hamaide</p> <p><span class="caps">PARIS</span> – Europe has experienced its worst bird flu crisis ever this year with nearly 50 million poultry culled, and the persistence of the virus over the summer has raised the risk of widespread infections next season, the EU’s Food Safety Agency (<span class="caps">EFSA</span>) said.</p> <p>The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (<span class="caps">HPAI</span>), commonly called bird flu, is a concern for governments and the poultry industry due to the devastation it can cause to flocks, the possibility of trade restrictions and a risk of human transmission.</p> <p>An unprecedented number of outbreaks were reported in wild and domestic birds this summer, causing massive mortality among sea bird breeding colonies on the north Atlantic coast according to a joint overview by the <span class="caps">EFSA</span>, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the EU reference laboratory.</p> <p>Bird flu usually strikes during the autumn and winter months. It is transmitted by infected migrating wild birds’ faeces or direct contact with contaminated feed, clothing and equipment.</p> <p>“As autumn migration begins and the number of wild birds wintering in Europe increases, they are likely at higher risk of <span class="caps">HPAI</span> infection than previous years due to the observed persistence of the virus in Europe,” Guilhem de Seze, a senior official at the <span class="caps">EFSA</span>, said in a statement on Monday. </p> <p>This season’s epidemic affected 37 European countries in total, the largest geographical reach on record, and the virus crossed the Atlantic for the first time along migration routes, causing a severe epidemic in poultry in several Canadian provinces and U.S. States, <span class="caps">EFSA</span> said.</p> <p>Overall, this season’s ongoing bird flu crisis is the worst ever seen in Europe with a total of 2,467 outbreaks reported in poultry and 47.7 million birds culled, it said. </p> <p>In addition, 187 detections were notified in captive birds and 3,573 <span class="caps">HPAI</span> events were recorded in wild birds.</p> <p><span class="caps">EFSA</span> recommended rapid implementation of risk mitigation and surveillance strategies for an early detection of the virus.</p> <p/> </div>