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Decrease in bird flu due to vaccination and fewer infected wild birds

Decrease in bird flu due to vaccination and fewer infected wild birds

In the past three months, far fewer poultry farms in Europe have been affected by bird flu than in the same period last year. This is partly due to the vaccination campaign in France and because fewer infected wild birds have been found, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reports.

There were 179 avian influenza outbreaks reported in poultry, 48 in farmed birds, and 414 in wild birds from December to early March. In the same period last year, there were 403 outbreaks in poultry, 119 in farmed birds, and 1,138 in wild birds.

An important reason for the low number of outbreaks is the mandatory vaccination campaign for ducks in France; Only parent animals were excluded from this. Last year, there were 181 outbreaks of bird flu in France from December to early March. There have been only eight outbreaks this year and ten in the entire season.

Eight of these outbreaks were found in unvaccinated animals. In southwest France, where there have been several ongoing outbreaks since the 2020-2021 season, no outbreaks have been identified since the start of the vaccination campaign.

Reduced outbreaks in Poland

The number of bird flu outbreaks in Poland is also much lower than a year ago. Then there were 88 outbreaks from December to early March, and now there are 31. In the Netherlands there were no outbreaks from December 2 to March 15. Last year there were three outbreaks from December 3 to March 1.

According to the authority, the lower number of outbreaks in European countries is also due to the discovery of fewer infected wild birds. The fact that wild birds influence the number of outbreaks among poultry can be seen in the situation in Denmark and Moldova. A relatively large number of infected wild birds have been found in both countries.

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As a result, eight outbreaks of the disease occurred in poultry in Denmark. In Moldova, there have been as many as 58 outbreaks. However, these are all small businesses, which means that with 2,202 animals, this means a lot fewer poultry. In Poland, major companies were affected and nearly 640,000 chickens were culled.

Biosafety is important

The number of wild birds affected may be lower, but the agency continues to stress the importance of biosecurity. First, to keep the bird flu virus away from the company. The high number of outbreaks in Moldova is clearly linked to a lack of biosecurity, allowing the avian influenza virus to enter the farm from wild birds.

Second, prevent crossover between companies. Cases of secondary infection resulting from indirect contact via people or materials have been found in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and others. The Authority advises poultry farmers who have multiple companies to prevent the transfer of materials from one company to another. If there is no other option, it is recommended to clean and disinfect thoroughly.