Contagious strains of avian influenza discovered in France

September 23, 2021

French officials announced that one of the most contagious strains of avian influenza (AI), H5N8, was discovered in Aisne and has spread to Luxembourg and Belgium.  The infected animals were immediately destroyed, with all necessary precautions taken. Agriculture Ministry officials said there had been only 25 cases of avian influenza in domestic and wild birds since August 1.

Due to recent cases, France has decided to raise the level of AI danger to “moderate.” At this level, in certain regions of the country, poultry must be kept indoors. It is worth noting, the country will retain its disease status, which states that there is no bird flu within its borders because these detections were in wild birds and backyard flocks. More than three million birds were killed to stop further transmission of AI in France last year.

UEP continues to encourage USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to keep on conducting wild bird surveillance and provide real-time notifications to the industry of AI positive birds detected in the flyways as winter approaches.

Dr. David Swayne, USDA Agriculture Research Service, compared the global outbreak since August 2020 as very similar to the fall of 2014 across Europe and ultimately leading to the 2015 outbreak across the US.  Swayne will provide an extensive update on HPAI at the Animal Health and Biosecurity Committee Briefing during the UEP Annual Meeting.

UEP urges members to be vigilant in reviewing and implementing biosecurity plans for 2021.   Biosecurity plans should be compliant with the National Poultry Improvement Plan’s (NPIP) 14 biosecurity principles. These include retraining employees on these principles and working with NPIP official state agencies.