Health

Background

Bird flu season fast approaching

An outbreak of avian influenza on a Russian poultry farm has left producers across Europe looking nervously towards the east as winter in the Northern Hemisphere approaches.

Authorities confirmed a site housing almost 500,000 birds in the Kostromskaya region in north western Russia was infected with H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza. The virus belongs to the Asia lineage of H5 high path strain that has been in outbreaks across Asia, Africa and Europe since 2014.

It follows 67 outbreaks of H5 avian influenza in several regions of western Russia this summer.

An assessment by the UK government said that if the source was wild birds then their migratory paths could see farms across northern Europe at risk.

The site of this latest outbreak is overlapped by three migration flyways, one of which brings birds into Europe.

Whatever the source, it is important at this time of year to review biosecurity on farms, and considering the risk points and vulnerabilities that your poultry business may have. Last year was a relatively quiet one for European producers when it comes to avian influenza, but that’s no reason to suggest this one won’t be.

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