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Infectious disease
Current status of avian influenza in Europe and the UK
  1. Rowena Hansen1,
  2. Ian Brown1,
  3. Sharon Brookes1,
  4. David Welchman2 and
  5. Ruth Cromie3
  1. APHA Woodham Lane, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  2. APHA Winchester, Itchen Abbas, Winchester SO21 1BX
  3. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT
  1. e-mail: virologyoffice{at}apha.gsi.gov.uk

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With the wild bird migratory season reaching its peak, tens of thousands of wild waterfowl have been reaching UK shores from the Baltic States and further afield. It has been established that migratory birds play a role in the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).1 The detection of H5N8 HPAI cases in wild birds, and outbreaks in poultry and captive birds across Europe during the last migratory season broadly followed this migration trajectory.2

Cases of H5N8 HPAI in 2016/17 across Europe peaked in the early months of 2017. In the UK, a total of 13 cases were identified in poultry and gamebirds (six cases in back yard flocks, seven in commercial premises). In addition, 45 H5N8 positive wild birds (mostly waterfowl) were identified, which were submitted to the APHA via the wild bird surveillance scheme. Epidemiological analysis concluded that, apart from one cluster of related premises, each case was a …

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