Very low public health threat related to outbreak of avian influenza A(H5N8) in turkeys in Germany


​The risk of transmission of avian influenza A(H5N8) to the general public in the EU/EEA countries is extremely low.

​According to the ECDC risk assessment, the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) in a turkey holding in Germany presents very low public health threat. No human infection with this virus has been reported worldwide. The risk of transmission of this infection to the general public in the EU/EEA countries is thus extremely low.  

On 6 November 2014, German authorities reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A(H5N8) at a turkey holding. Culling of the turkeys at the affected holding has started, protection and surveillance zones have been established, and investigations initiated to establish how the birds became infected. This virus has been detected among wild birds in south-east Asia where it has caused several outbreaks on commercial poultry farms in South Korea and China. This is the first time that avian influenza A(H5N8) has been detected in Europe. It is currently unclear how it was introduced into the turkey flock at the German holding. This avian influenza virus is highly pathogenic for poultry and has the ability to infect wild birds and cause subsequent outbreaks in poultry, as observed in South Korea. Therefore ongoing monitoring and testing of wild birds and domestic poultry in the EU is important to detect and prevent further spread of this virus in the EU. Poultry workers that have been in direct contact with infected poultry at the affected holding should be monitored for ten days in order to document possible related symptoms.