Avian influenza: largest seasonal epidemic ever in Europe

The virus may be endemic in wild bird populations
calendar icon 25 July 2022
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Around 5,300 detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus were reported in poultry, captive and wild birds in 36 EU/EEA countries and the UK during the 2021-2022 epidemic season, according to European Food Safety Authority’s latest overview of HPAI.

This is the largest number of HPAI cases for an epidemic season ever reported. The persistence of HPAI (H5) virus in wild birds indicates that it may have become endemic in wild bird populations in Europe.

A total of 2,398 outbreaks in domestic poultry led to the culling of 46 million birds in affected establishments. More than half of poultry outbreaks in Europe were due to secondary spread, from infected poultry to other poultry farms. In addition, 168 outbreaks were detected in captive birds, and there were 2,733 HPAI detections in wild birds in 36 European countries.

The current 2021-2022 HPAI epidemic season is still ongoing, with cases in poultry and wild birds reported up to June 2022.

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