New wave of avian flu reported

In a worrying development for the European food sector, Romania and Bulgaria have reported outbreaks of avian influenza among poultry.

The latest outbreak was reported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

Indeed, the news has prompted fears that Europe could now face a seasonal upturn in the highly pathogenic disease.

In Romania, the H5N1 virus was detected in a flock of 120 backyard poultry in the village of Tiganesti near the border with Bulgaria, causing the death of 28 birds, the Paris-based WOAH said, citing a report from the Romanian authorities.

Bulgaria, meanwhile, reported earlier this week outbreaks of an H5-type bird flu virus on two poultry farms, WOAH said in a separate notice.

One outbreak in Malko Konare in the Pazardzhik region killed 380 birds out of a flock of 171,911, while another outbreak in Debelets in the region of Veliko Tarnovo killed 5,420 out of 395,045 farm poultry, WOAH said, quoting details from the Bulgarian authorities.

The intergovernmental body last week reported that Poland, the European Union’s largest poultry producer, had detected H5N1 bird flu virus among poultry in the north of the country.

The spread of avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, has raised renewed concerns amongst governments and the poultry industry after it has ravaged flocks around the world in recent years, disrupting supply, fuelling higher food prices and raising the risk of human transmission.