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UK - Seal and fox tested positive for avian-origin HP H5N8 influenza virus (OIE, March 15, 2021)

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  • UK - Seal and fox tested positive for avian-origin HP H5N8 influenza virus (OIE, March 15, 2021)

    Immediate notification
    Highly pathogenic influenza A viruses (Inf. with)(non-poultry including wild birds)(2017-), United Kingdom
    ...

    Outbreak locations have been provided by the relevant Veterinary Services and may not represent the exact location of an outbreak. OIE assumes no liability for the data displayed.
    ...

    DISEASE
    Highly pathogenic influenza A viruses (Inf. with)(non-poultry including wild birds)(2017-)

    STARTED ON
    20-11-2020

    ANIMAL TYPE
    TERRESTRIAL

    GENOTYPE/ SEROTYPE/ SUBTYPE
    H5N8

    CONFIRMED ON
    25-01-2021

    REASON
    Unusual host species

    CAUSAL AGENT
    Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus

    ENDED ON
    11-02-2021

    DISEASE CATEGORY
    OIE-listed

    REPORTED ON
    15-03-2021

    LAST OCCURENCE
    -

    Epidemiology
    down
    SOURCE OF EVENT OR ORIGIN OF INFECTION
    - Contact with wild species


    EPIDEMIOLOGICAL COMMENTS
    Carcasses of four common seals, one grey seal and one red fox submitted to APHA laboratory during December 2020 for diagnostic PME as part of routine wildlife disease surveillance activities. Two of the Common Seal carcasses were autolysed so were safely disposed of without PME. Following histopathological examination of tissues from the fox and seals identified lesions indicative of acute systemic viral infection further laboratory testing was performed at APHA. This testing resulted in the detection of H5N8 influenza virus infection. Gene Sequencing identified this H5N8 influenza virus to be [99.9%] identical to avian-origin H5N8 viruses detected from the Mute swans that had died and been tested from this wildlife rescue centre. In November 2020, five wild Mute swans (Cygnus olor) that had been rescued and taken to a wildlife rescue centre died, were tested and found to be infected with H5N8 HPAI. Retrospective investigation of the deaths of five seals - four Common seals (Phoca vitulina) and one grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) - and one red fox (Vulpes vulpes) approximately one week later at the same wildlife rescue centre resulted in the finding of H5N8 influenza virus infection. These were all wild animals temporarily located at the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre. Comorbidities were not investigated, and it is possible that other factors may have influenced disease severity. Infection of mammalian species is a rare event, with no prior authenticated cases of H5N8 infection in foxes. All laboratory investigations and testing were performed at APHA. Test results confirm both the H5N8 influenza virus being of avian origin, and the source hypothesis as the Mute swans at the rescue centre that were also H5N8 positive. There was no evidence of spread of infection from the wildlife rescue centre.
    ...
    https://wahis.oie.int/#/report-info?reportId=30629
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela
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