Worst bird flu crisis in history in Europe raises risks for next season: EFSA

PARIS—Europe was hit by the worst bird flu crisis in history this year, killing about 50 million poultry. The persistence of the virus over the summer also increases the risk of an outbreak next season, the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said.

The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly referred to as avian influenza, is of concern to governments and the poultry industry due to the devastation it can wreak on flocks, potential trade restrictions and the risk of human infection. matter.

An unprecedented number of wild and poultry outbreaks were reported this summer, causing mass mortality in seabird breeding colonies along the North Atlantic coast, according to a joint overview by EFSA, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the EU Reference Institute. I was. .

Bird flu usually occurs in autumn and winter. It is transmitted by faeces of infected migratory birds or by direct contact with contaminated feed, clothing or equipment.

“As autumn migration begins and more wild birds winter in Europe, the observed persistence of the virus in Europe could mean a higher risk of HPAI infection than in the past,” said EFSA. Senior official Guilhem de Seze said. said in a statement on Monday.

This season’s epidemic has affected a total of 37 countries in Europe, the largest geographic extent on record, and the virus crossed the Atlantic for the first time along its migratory route, leading to several states in Canada and states in the United States. EFSA said it had caused a severe epidemic in poultry.

Overall, the ongoing bird flu crisis this season is the worst ever seen in Europe, with a total of 2,467 outbreaks reported in poultry and 47.7 million birds culled.

In addition, 187 detections were notified in captive birds and 3,573 HPAI events were recorded in wild birds.

EFSA recommended rapid implementation of risk mitigation and surveillance strategies for early detection of the virus.

Sybille de la Hamid