The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed the detection of the virus Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (IAAP) H5N1 and several wild birds that have been found dead in the Segre river as it passes through Soses (Lleida), the first in the country so far this year.
It is the same bird flu virus that has caused massive bird deaths in Israel in recent weeks., in what local authorities consider the worst blow to wildlife in the country’s history.
As reported to Efe Ministry sources, it was Rural Agents of the Generalitat who found four swansCygnus olor) and a stork (Ciconia ciconia) dead in the river due to this viral disease, within the framework of the observation work of the National Avian Influenza Surveillance Program in Spain.
Once the swab samples from the dead birds had been obtained, they were sent for analysis to the IRTA-CReSA laboratory, where positive results were obtained by PCR for the H5 subtype of the virus.
The results were confirmed at the Central Veterinary Laboratory (LCV) of Algete (Madrid) and it was determined that it is a strain of IAAP H5N1.
Upon confirmation, the Rural Agents of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Environment of the Government of Aragon “immediately” intensified the passive surveillance of wild birds in the surrounding area of 10 kilometers around the outbreak, prioritizing the first 3 kilometers.
Surveillance of poultry farms
From the Ministry they assure that there are no commercial poultry farms in these first kilometers and that the controls of the farms located within the 10-kilometer radius are already being reviewed in order to check the biosecurity measures, inform those responsible for the birds of the risk and the importance of avoiding contact with the wild ones, as well as check the clinical stage of the animals in order to detect any suspicion of infection.
Similarly, from Agriculture they indicate that the finding in wild birds should not imply commercial restrictions on the movement of live birds or their products, “Maintaining Spain the status of officially free of avian flu reportable ”.
The H5N1 subtype of the avian flu is the predominant one in the current epizootic wave of HPAI present in northern and central Europe, where from last August 1 to December 27, 2021 a total of 1,199 outbreaks have been reported in 27 countries, 507 in poultry and 692 in non-poultry birds (including wild).
At this time, and after confirming the presence of the virus of the avian flu in Soses, “The introduction and circulation of the HPAI virus in Spain can be considered as very high in areas of special risk and high in areas of special surveillance ”, hence it has been decided to equate the biosecurity measures to be applied in areas of special risk in the country.
Therefore, at this time The use of birds of the orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes as decoys, the rearing of ducks and geese with other species of poultry, the rearing of poultry in the open air, the water tanks in the open air and the presence of poultry and other captive birds in animal gathering centers.
From the Ministry they reinforce the message of the need to reinforce biosecurity measures, passive surveillance and the importance of notifying official veterinarians of any suspicion of the avian flu.
Disaster in Israel
In Israel, this outbreak of avian flu it has already killed thousands of wild cranes and forced the country’s farmers to slaughter hundreds of thousands of chickens. The authorities have been trying for several weeks to contain what they consider to be the deadliest disaster to ever occur in the country’s wildlife.
The outbreak in the north of Israel has already killed at least 5,200 migratory cranes, a species of high ecological value that makes landfall in this country’s wetlands on its annual trips, and It has forced farmers to slaughter more than half a million chickens on their farms, causing them heavy economic losses.
The authorities have not found any infection from birds to humans and a monitoring device is maintained to control this eventuality.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.