BRUSSELS, Belgium: The European Union’s food safety agency said that with nearly 50 million poultry culled this year, Europe is experiencing its worst bird flu crisis, raising the risk of widespread infections next season.
Because of the damage caused by avian influenza to flocks, the possibility of trade restrictions and the risk of human transmission, the spread of avian influenza, a highly pathogenic avian influenza, has concerned governments and the poultry industry.
According to a joint review by the Food Safety Agency, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the EU reference laboratory, this summer there have been many recorded outbreaks of bird flu in both wild and domestic birds, causing massive mortality among seabirds along the North Atlantic coast.
In a statement issued this week, Guilhem de Seze, a senior official at the Food Safety Agency, said, “As the autumn migration begins and the number of wild birds wintering in Europe increases, they are likely to be at higher risk of HPAI infection than in previous years, due of the observed persistence of the virus in Europe.”
The Food Safety Agency said this season’s epidemic has affected 37 European countries, the highest number so far, and the virus crossed the Atlantic for the first time, causing a serious epidemic in several Canadian provinces and US states.
With 2,467 reported outbreaks in poultry and 47.7 million birds slaughtered, this season’s bird flu crisis is the worst ever seen in Europe, it added.