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Between May and July 2011, a total of 23 outbreaks of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) subtype H7N7 occurred in poultry farms in Germany. The first cases were detected in the district of Gütersloh in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NW) where several birds showed severe clinical symptoms including drop in egg production, thin-shelled eggs, swollen heads (in turkeys), nasal and ocular discharge, respiratory distress and an unusually high mortality in some of the affected flocks (Table 1).
On May 24, 2011, a veterinary practitioner reported a suspect case of avian influenza (AI) in a commercial farm with 21 666 parent chickens 39 weeks of age, and 400 000 eggs in different stages of incubation in the adjacent hatchery. The animals had shown slight respiratory symptoms, drop in egg production and increased mortality since 20 May. On 26 May, Influenza A virus H7 was detected, and on 27 May LPAI virus (LPAIV) was confirmed by the reference laboratory at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) (outbreak 1). Sampling was carried out as stipulated by Commission Decision 2006/437/EC. Seventeen of 120 blood, and 17 of 159 swab samples tested positive by real-time reverse transcriptase PCR, and 13 of 120 blood samples tested positive by ELISA.
On May 27, the same veterinarian reported suspect cases of AI in three other commercial poultry farms (one fattening turkey and two laying hen farms) outside the 1 km restriction zone of outbreak 1. There were no obvious links …
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