Avian influenza overview May – August 2018
Between 16 May and 15 August 2018, three highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N8) outbreaks in poultry establishments and three HPAI A(H5N6) outbreaks in wild birds were reported in Europe. Three low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) outbreaks were reported in three Member States. Few HPAI and LPAI bird cases have been detected in this period of the year, in accordance with the seasonal expected pattern of LPAI and HPAI. There is no evidence to date that HPAI A(H5N8) and A(H5N6) viruses circulating in Europe have caused any human infections. The risk of zoonotic transmission to the general public in Europe is considered to be very low. Several HPAI outbreaks in poultry were reported during this period from Russia. The presence of the A(H5N2) and A(H5N8) viruses in parts of Russia connected with fall migration routes of wild birds is of concern for possible introduction and spread with wild birds migrating to the EU. Although few AI outbreaks were observed in Africa, Asia and the Middle East during the reporting period, the probability of AI virus introductions from non‐EU countries via wild birds particularly via the north‐eastern route from Russia is increasing, as the fall migration of wild birds will start in the coming weeks. Further, the lower temperatures in autumn and winter may facilitate the environmental survival of avian influenza viruses potentially introduced to Europe.