Friday, July 6, 2007

Avian influenza H5N1 is back in Europe

EurActiv: As the highly pathogenic form of avian influenza virus H5N1 has been confirmed in three EU countries over the last three weeks, member states are raising their alert levels and starting to apply measures to protect poultry.

…Since the Commission was informed about first suspicions of avian influenza in the Czech Republic on 20 June, this highly pathogenic form of bird flu has been confirmed in the Czech Republic in turkey as well as in swans and a black-necked grebe in Germany. Suspicions of H5N1 in wild birds in north-east France were confirmed on 5 July.

The previous outbreaks of H5N1 in the EU-27 were confirmed in three farms in the south-east England and Hungary in late January this year.

Due to the new outbreaks, member states are raising their bird flu alert levels. The French Ministry of Agriculture gas announced a change from "moderate" to "high" alert level implying enforcement of measures to avoid any contact between poultry and wild birds.

The outbreaks of H5N1 are back despite the EU's increased efforts, since the previous serious outbreaks in autumn 2005, to coordinate their response to the spread of virus and to prevent it from affecting poultry supply. Some experts are afraid that this years' outbreaks could indicate that the virus might be in the process of becoming endemic in Europe and thus would be here to stay.

No comments: