Epidemiological situation of HPAI in Europe since October 2016: situation as of 8th February 2017

International Animal Health Epidemic Intelligence (VSI) team – ESA Platform – France
NRL Avian Influenza, Anses laboratory Ploufragan – France
National Office for Hunting and Wildlife – France
Source: Data updated on 05/02/2017 (included) ADNS/FAO/OIE, DGAL (General Directorate of Food – French Ministry of Agriculture)

This is a translation of a published report. The French version of this report is available here.

Two highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses, H5N8 and H5N5, are currently circulating in Europe. The ADNS tool is not adapted to the notification of new subtypes like H5N8 or H5N5, leading countries to report the outbreaks as “H5Nx” with the possibility of mentioning the subtype in the comments section, which some countries do. Taking into account these comments, the ADNS notifications are as follows: H5Nx (n=243), H5N5 (n=14), H5N8 (n=1,129), and combined H5N5/H5N8 (n=1). The HPAI viruses in general will be analyzed in this report. This analysis takes into account modifications following first notifications that are sometimes brought to ADNS notifications, which for example might specify the serotype for some H5Nx outbreaks (which will be notified as H5N5 or H5N8).

Since the last situation report on 23rd Jan 2017 (two weeks ago), 304 new HPAI outbreaks were reported in Europe (European Union – EU – and Switzerland), mainly in Germany (17 H5N8 outbreaks in wild birds), in Romania (19 H5N8 outbreaks in wild birds) and France (44 H5N8 outbreaks of in poultry). The total number of outbreaks and cases reported in Europe continues to increase and is now 1,387 (compared to 1,083 last week), among which 704 were wild birds (69 species affected), 654 in farms, and 29 in captive birds (Tables 1 & 2).

Two new countries are now affected by HPAI H5N8 virus: Belgium with a first case reported in captive wild birds (small holding of captive ornamental birds in Flanders), and Portugal with a first case in wild birds (grey heron in Algarve). In addition, poultry farms are now affected in Italy with 4 outbreaks of H5N8. Finally, a first case of H5N8 in captive wild birds has been reported in Romania (black swan in a tourist complex in Sancraiu).

Several countries have detected an HPAI H5N5 virus in wild birds (1 case in Montenegro, 3 in Italy, 1 in Croatia, and, more recently since the last update on 23rd January, 1 case in Greece, 2 in Poland and 3 in Slovenia), and also since the last update, in poultry farms with 3 first outbreaks of H5N5 notified in Germany. In addition, the Netherlands has reported a case of co-infection with H5N8/H5N5 in wild birds in November 2016.

The HPAI situation in France is detailed in the website of the ESA Platform in reports from 23 Jan (link).

An interactive map of outbreaks and cases of HPAI in Europe is also provided (link).

The HP H5N8 virus is also present beyond Europe in the following countries: Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, South Korea, Chinese Taipei (commonly known as Taiwan), Uganda, India, China and Koweit (source: OIE/FAO).
Table 1: Evolution of number of outbreaks and cases of HPAI in the European Union and Switzerland and number of countries affected (in brackets) reported from 26 Oct 2016 to 5 Feb 2017 (included) (sources: OIE/ADNS/DGAL)

Table 2: Number of outbreaks and cases of HPAI in domestic, wild and captive birds per country and subtype in the European Union and Switzerland from 26 Oct 2016 to 5 Feb 2017 (included) (sources: OIE/ADNS/DGAL).

Figure 1 shows the evolution of weekly notifications in Europe. The aggregated data for Europe (including Switzerland and Ukraine), with individual country situations varying according to surveillance and epidemiology, shows global trends. At the macroscopic scale, it is interesting to note that the “farm” and “wild” curves show similar trends, globally parallel, and with slight delay of 2 weeks, the “wild” curve preceding the “farm” curve. This same delay between outbreaks in wild birds and in farms is observed in the cumulated graph of the number of newly affected countries declaring their first outbreak/case of HPAI (Figure 2).

The evolution of these curves is coherent with a contamination of poultry farms by wild birds and seems to suggest an absence of a major evolution of the epizooty in farms, in general in the European continent (which does not exclude particular situations where there could be important localized secondary spread between farms). However, this interpretation should be nuanced as some variations could be due, on one hand, to the differences in surveillance pressure applied to different bird populations and, on the other, to differences among countries (as for Hungary and France which have notified a high number of outbreaks in poultry farms and much less in wild birds, compared to Germany and Switzerland which have notified a great amount of cases in wild birds but only a few outbreaks in poultry farms).

Figure 1: Number of outbreaks and cases of HPAI in Europe (EU, Switzerland and Ukraine) per week from 26 October 2016 to 5 February 2017 (included) (sources: ADNS/OIE/DGAL)

Figure 2:
Cumulated weekly number of countries that have notified at least one outbreak/case of HPAI in Europe (EU, Switzerland and Ukraine) from 26 October 2016 to 5 February 2017 (included) (sources: ADNS/OIE/DGAL)

The mortality reported in farms is variable depending on the species, but also for a given species, and is calculated based on a limited number of outbreaks. For mono-species farms, the mortality varied from 0.06 to 33% in Gallus gallus farms, around 20% in turkey farms (but with a 100% mortality rate reported in an outbreak in France), and from 0 to 70% in palmipeds. Although the data must be carefully interpreted (as time of intervention in relation to infection varied, some farms are epidemiologically linked, the beginning of infection is unknown, etc.), it should be noted that this strain appears to have an unusual virulence in breeding palmipeds.

The 69 different species of birds infected in the avifauna in Europe, with their families, are:
- Accipitridae: Eagle spp, Eurasian Buzzard, Harris’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Sparrow Hawk, White-tailed Eagle
- Anatidae: Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Mallard, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Northern pintail, Greylag goose, Bean goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Greater Scaup, Dark-bellied Brant, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Black Swan, Common Shelduck, Common Eider, Red-crested Pochard, Common Scoter, Common Merganser, Swan Goose, Muscovy Duck
- Ardeidae: Grey Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret
- Ciconiidae: White Stork
- Colombidae: Collared Dove
- Corvidae: Eurasian Magpie, Hooded Crow, Common Raven, Carrion Crow
- Dromaiidae: Emu
- Falconidae: Peregrine Falcon, Common Krestel
- Laridae: Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Mew Gull, Great black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser black-backed Gull
- Pelecanidae: Great white Pelican
- Phalacrocoracidae: Great Cormorant, Pygmy Cormorant
- Podicipedidae: Great-crested Grebe, Little Grebe
- Psittacidae: African grey Parrot
- Rallidae: Common Moorhen, Crested Coot, Eurasian Coot
- Scolopacidae: Curlew spp, Green Sandpiper
- Strigidae: Eagle Owl, Ural Owl
- Turdidae: Common Blackbird, Song Thrush

Figure 1: Map of outbreaks and cases of HPAI H5N8 reported in the European Union and Switzerland from 26 Oct 2016 to 5 Feb 2017 (included) (sources: OIE/ADNS/DGAL).