Food security officials have warned EU members of the possibility of an HPAI outbreak.
EFSA officials issued a statement citing the current low temperatures in continental Europe and the outbreak of the disease in Russia and Kazakhstan as predisposing factors for the spread of bird flu across Europe.
The warning acknowledges that the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild and domestic bird populations in western Russia and Kazakhstan, which are considered to be the autumn migration route of wild waterfowl, could be a serious risk factor for other countries.
The organization’s experts believe that the same regions of Russia became infected with HPAI in 2005 and 2016, and subsequently, the disease spread to northern and eastern Europe. Given this history, if this pattern is repeated, the disease is expected to spread to southern and western European countries during the fall or winter.
The organization has called on veterinary authorities in member countries to prepare for the disease by using rapid and accurate measurement tools, as well as taking preventive measures and biosecurity in poultry farms.
The EFSA concluded by stating that although the risk of transmitting bird flu to the general public is low, it urged individuals not to touch dead birds without the use of appropriate personal protective equipment.