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Sweden: Cases of H5N1 bird flu in pheasants in Scania

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  • Sweden: Cases of H5N1 bird flu in pheasants in Scania


    Cases of bird flu in pheasants in Scania

    The Swedish Veterinary Institute, SVA, now reports that bird flu has been discovered in wild pheasants in Skåne. According to the authority, the discovery shows that bird flu viruses have remained in the country for an unusually long time this season.

    On 27 September, highly pathogenic bird flu of the H5N1 type was detected in free-living pheasants in Skåne. In early September, bird flu of the H5N8 type was also discovered in free-living mallards in Södermanland. According to SVA, the virus is believed to have remained in wild birds and in the environment, and does not appear to be a new introduction from migratory birds.
    High incidence

    Sunlight and heat usually make the bird flu virus worse and the outbreaks decrease during the warm part of the year. This year, however, outbreaks in wild birds have been found sporadically throughout the summer, both in Sweden and other countries in Europe.

    The winter semester 2020-2021 was also the worst period of bird flu ever in Sweden, both in terms of outbreaks in domestic birds and finds in wild birds. According to SVA, the high prevalence of viruses among wild birds and in the environment is believed to be the reason why the infection has persisted longer than before. Another contributing cause is also thought to be different variants of bird flu virus, some of which are more resistant than others.
    New variants

    According to SVA, the migratory birds that arrive during the autumn can carry new bird flu viruses with them, and colder weather in combination with less sunlight is favorable for virus survival. There is thus an increased risk of new infections in wild and domestic birds during the autumn and winter.

    SVA monitors the situation regarding bird flu, and now urges the public to continue reporting if sick or dead birds are found. Reports are made via