By NewsDesk   @bactiman63

Avian influenza is spreading rapidly across Europe, and the risk is high of spread to previously unaffected countries, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).


EFSA reports more than 300 cases have been reported in the past month in a number of countries to include Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Office (SFVS) says a total of 367 poultry farms have been infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus this year, killing more than 6 million poultry.

In its previous overview EFSA warned that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) could spread quickly to western Europe following outbreaks among wild and domestic birds in western Russia and Kazakhstan this summer. The region is on the autumn migration route for wild water birds heading to Europe.

According to experts, the most commonly detected type is the H5N8 virus subtype in Europe today. The risk to humans is low and there is also no risk of the virus being transmitted through fresh poultry meat or its products. However, as a precautionary measure, humans should avoid touching sick or dead birds, thus reducing the potential risk of transmission or infection of the virus.

Nik Kriz, Head of EFSA’s Animal and Plant Health Unit, said: “Preventing further escalation of these outbreaks will require close cooperation between animal, public, environmental and occupational health authorities – in other words, a One Health approach – across Europe.”