In recent developments, Europe has witnessed an alarming spike in Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks, with 39 reported incidents across 13 countries since September, according to the Animal Disease Information System from the European Commission. Hungary has been particularly hard-hit, leading with eight outbreaks in wild birds, while the Netherlands reported seven outbreaks, including recent cases. Other affected countries include Austria, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Romania, Serbia, and Sweden, all reporting outbreaks among wild birds.
Notably, Hungary also reported three outbreaks among birds designated as poultry. Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, Kosovo, and the Netherlands have also reported outbreaks in this category.
The surge in outbreaks in the Netherlands is a cause for concern, especially considering that the central-eastern province of Gelderland lifted the requirement for flock owners to house their poultry just over a week ago.
Shifting focus to the United States, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported 10 commercial flocks testing positive for the virus last week. The affected flocks include 16,600 birds in Missouri, a 71,000-bird turkey flock in Minnesota, three turkey flocks in South Dakota totaling 183,700 birds, and a 4,000-bird poultry flock in Montana.
This wave of outbreaks underscores the urgent need for robust control measures in affected regions to contain the spread of the virus. Authorities are urged to implement stringent biosecurity measures, and poultry owners should remain vigilant to protect their flocks. Additionally, international collaboration is crucial to effectively address the transboundary nature of avian influenza outbreaks and mitigate the potential global impact. The situation is evolving rapidly, prompting heightened concerns among health and agriculture authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.