Avian influenza (AI) outbreaks have recently caused severe losses to the poultry industry, its stakeholders and, ultimately, to the EU taxpayer. In addition, the ongoing Asian H5N1 outbreak is a serious concern for food security and human health world wide . It is estimated that since 2000, 200 million birds have died or have been culled following infection with influenza viruses subtypes H5 or H7.
Approximately 50 million of these birds were from Europe. Importantly, human infections have also been reported in several of these outbreaks. In Asia, due to both social conditions and the particular characteristics of the H5N1 virus, the crossing of the species barrier represents a serious potential risk of a new human pandemic virus emerging. Evidence is growing that HPAI H5N1 is not only spreading by trade but is also carried by wild birds. Recently H5N1 infected wild birds, mainly water fowl , have recently been detected in the European Union in Italy, Germany, France, Greece, Sweden and Poland. These findings extend our consciousness that H5N1 is becoming more and more endemic in wild birds.
The finding of a cat and stone marten and raptors that died as result of infection with H5N1 uncovered the consequences of this development. More questions are raised about the risk of contamination of surface water for health of other animals and humans. To answer these questions and to be able to importance of trade in poultry commodities and litter more knowledge about virus content of commodities of infected poultry, the stability of the virus in these products, in litter and the environment is needed. The aim of this proposal is to provide knowledge to enable proper risk assessment of the trade in treated and fresh poultry commodities and poultry litter. Moreover, it w ill provide knowledge about virus survival under different physical conditions.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project