Bird flu reappears in Germany

Bird flu is spreading again in Europe, and in 2015 a highly contagious bird flu was raging in the Emsland. To date, five countries have reported cases of the highly contagious virus.

In Germany, birds were first affected in Schleswig-Holstein, now sick animals from Lake Constance are also known: 70-80 dead birds were found there. Switzerland and Austria also register wild birds that died in the epidemic, as did Hungary and Poland.

What is bird flu?
The Robert Koch Institute informs: ”The word“ avian flu ”(avian influenza) primarily denotes a disease caused by influenza A viruses in birds. (…) Highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses of the H5 and H7 subtypes can cause serious damage to livestock in useful poultry, for example chickens, because a large part of the infected poultry dies from the disease. ”

The H5N8 virus
The virus is an H5N8 pathogen. H and N denote the two most important proteins on the envelope of the influenza virus, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase.

A swan in Hungary
Thomas Mettenleiter from the Friedrich-Löffler-Institut explains: “A few days ago, the virus was apparently detected in its current form in a zoo in India, then in Hungary with a swan and in a turkey population and now in Poland, on Lake Constance and in Schleswig -Holstein in wild birds. We have different pieces of the puzzle that we have to put together. ”

Danger to poultry
The risk of infection for poultry is very high. Therefore, in the affected areas in Baden-Würtemberg there is an immediate compulsory stable for chickens, turkeys and other poultry.

It is 1000 meters from the shores of Lake Constance and 500 meters from the banks of the Rhine for three months. The pet owners must also wear protective suits when in contact with the birds.

Stable compulsory in Schleswig-Holstein
In Schleswig-Holstein, the stable requirement applies to all farm birds since Tuesday of this week. Diseased seabirds were found in at least eight lakes around Plön, suspected cases are known from other locations and are currently being investigated. In total, around 240 wild birds are known from Schleswig-Holstein to die of the H5N8 virus.

Danger to people?
November 2014, H5N8 viruses appeared among poultry in Germany and Europe.

To date, there have been more than 800 diseases in humans from highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses, and more than half of those affected have died. Influenza A (H5N1) infections affected countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, in Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and China. In early 2014 there was an illness in Canada.

So far, people have not been affected by the current virus. In theory, it is conceivable to get infected with the pathogen through food, but it is unlikely.

The Robert Koch Institute clarifies: “If influenza A (H5N1), A (H5N8), A (H5N2) or another avian influenza virus occurs in poultry, workers in the poultry industry and veterinarians in the holdings are primarily at risk have to protect themselves in accordance with the requirements of occupational safety; no risk is seen for the general population. ” The virus is not unknown: In Ireland, for example, it was already in mischief in 1983.

A mass epidemic?
Diseases - viruses and bacteria at the end of the day are currently widespread in literature and film, and this is where fear plays a role - fear of diseases that can spread more quickly today globally than in the past. However, the H5N8 virus will not take humanity there. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

Video: Highly contagious strain of bird flu detected at Dutch poultry farm (January 2022).