Infected swans raise H5N1 bird flu concerns

Several European poultry farming organisations have raised their fears about the number of H5N1 avian flu-infected wild mute swans in various European countries with EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou.

An open letter, sent by The Dutch Hobby and Smallholder Association, the bird conservation organisation Aviornis plus some UK stakeholders, highlighted that: “The amount of infected wild mute swans in various European countries puzzles us and we have no clue as to where and how these animals became infected.

“We are particularly worried by the fact that with the infected wild birds in various countries, there are, as far as we know,  no infected farms except for the ones in the Czech Republic. And as migration of swans at the moment is very limited (only due to moulting), the contamination source cannot be far away.”

In 2006, the outbreaks on farms in Europe seemed connected with the presence of infected wild birds (in Germany/Rügen, Denmark, France) which reached the Danube delta through outbreaks on commercial farms in Asia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

“Now however we are in the dark. We only know of outbreaks far away in Turkey and Russia (Krasnodarskiy Kray) earlier this year in January and February, but this is not a likely explanation for the present outbreaks in swans.

“Therefore we expect the EU will do everything to find the source.”