In what is being touted as the worst-ever bird flu outbreak in Europe this year, there were almost 2,500 outbreaks of the flu that were detected on farms in 37 European countries, between October 2021 and September 2022, declared the European Food Safety Authority, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the EU, according to AFP reports.
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Almost 50 million birds were slaughtered on affected farms, said the EFSA and this toll did not include preventive culls of chickens, ducks and turkeys that were carried out alongside the outbreaks, the health agency told AFP. It also said that for the first time, there was no marked separation between two epidemic waves, as the virus was not brought under control in the summer. The number of infected farms was 35 per cent higher this autumn, the epidemic was more virulent than last year at the same time.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that the risk of infection in humans was low, and in between low to medium for people working in contact with birds and poultry. Between September 2 and December 10, 2022, around 400 outbreaks were recorded on farms in 18 European countries.
The virus has also been detected more than 600 times in wild birds, notably ducks and swans, which the report said may have contributed to the spread of the virus between farms.
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Currently, health authorities are studying the possibility of using vaccinations to arrest the spread of the virus.