October 20, 2017
Experts warn against bird flu-carrying migratory birds entering EU ahead of winter
The northeastern and eastern border of the European Union is the most likely entry point of avian influenza, where migratory wild birds enter the territory, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Experts assessed the risk of avian influenza entering the EU and reviewed surveillance approaches as part of monitoring by member states and the actions they take to minimise its spread. Their scientific advice is based on a thorough review of all the information on the avian flu outbreaks that have occurred in recent years.
"This work will enhance the EU's preparedness for avian influenza outbreaks, just ahead of the peak influenza season in autumn and winter. It would not have been possible without the close cooperation with member states affected by this epidemic," said Arjan Stegeman, chair of the working group on avian influenza.
One of the group's main recommendations is that water birds found dead should be reported to the local veterinary authorities--particularly during the influenza season.
Testing farmed water birds--such as ducks and geese--for avian flu is also stressed as important because they can easily come into contact with wild birds and then spread the virus. This can be done by blood analysis of live poultry and by testing for viruses in farmed water birds found dead.
Farmers and poultry keepers were advised to adopt appropriate management measures to increase biosecurity, including preventing direct contact between wild water birds and poultry (by using nets or keeping poultry indoors during peak influenza season) and avoiding the movement of animals between farms.