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UK And Europe Face The Biggest Bird Flu Outbreak This Year, 48Mil Birds Have Been Culled

UK And Europe Face The Biggest Bird Flu Outbreak This Year, 48Mil Birds Have Been Culled

The bird flu virus usually dies in the summer months but has shown persistence this year, leading to worries that the highly pathogenic variant will lead to all-year infections

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The United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) are facing the biggest avian flu outbreak this year. BBC reported that around 48 million birds have been culled last year due to the bird flu outbreak.

In previous years, the bird flu virus mostly died out during the summer months but this outbreak has persisted year-round and showed that it’s more easily spread among bird populations.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said there are over 150 cases confirmed across the UK since late October 2021.

Currently, bird flu has been detected at 155 sites across the UK. To manage the outbreak, Avian Influenza Prevention Zones (AIPZ) have been introduced in areas such as Norfolk, Suffolk, parts of Essex and the whole of the South West of England.

The numbers are expected to go up due to the migratory birds returning to the UK in the coming weeks and bringing a further risk of disease.

Some poultry farmers expressed worry that there may be a shortage of chicken and turkey for Christmas this December.

Over in Norway’s Svalbard islands to southern Portugal, The Guardian reported that there are almost 2,500 bird flu outbreaks since 2021.

For illustration purposes. Image: TRP File

The latest update from the EU’s European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, European Food Safety Authority and the EU reference laboratory stated there have also been thousands of outbreaks recorded in wild birds.

The continuous outbreaks across UK and Europe have led to worries that highly pathogenic variants of bird flu are now endemic in wild birds, which brings a risk of all-year infections.

According to Utusan, there are 161 cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) among bird and chicken populations this year as compared to 26 cases recorded last year.

1,727 infection cases were reported in 406 locations in the UK involving 50 bird species, including owls and seagulls.

So far, ECDC said the bird flu hasn’t spread to people in Europe yet although the virus has been detected in some mammal species.

Between January 2003 and 31 March this year, there were 863 cases of influenza A (H5N1) detected in humans from 18 countries with 455 deaths recorded.

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