H5N1 avian flu strikes more fur farms and other mammals in Europe


Tim Sackton/Flickr cc

Finland's Food Authority today reported H5N1 on two more fur farms, both housing foxes, as Norway and Germany reported virus detections in mammals.

The two new fur farm outbreaks occurred in earlier-affected areas and raise the number of outbreaks to 14. One of the new detections was at a facility that raises blue foxes, and the other was as a farm housing blue fox and cross fox, a variant of red fox that has a black stripe running down the back.

Elsewhere, Norway reported the virus in a red fox pup found dead in late June under a house in the city of Tromso in the northern part of the country, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).

In Germany, government officials from Schleswig-Holstein state today reported said tests on a seal found dead at a seal station in the Wadden Sea were positive for H5N1, according to a statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog. The testing was conducted by the Friedrich Loeffler Institute. Schleswig-Holstein state is located in far northern Germany.

Sampling of other seals that the center is rehabilitating were negative, and officials have implemented occupational safety measures.

Similar detections in seals and sea lions have occurred in multiple parts of the world, including the United States and Peru.

In other avian flu developments, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported four more detections in wild birds, all involving terns and gulls found sick or dead.

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