In the UK, H5N1 was confirmed on 3 February in a large, closed turkey poultry farm in Suffolk, in the east of England.
The infected flock comprised 159,000 turkeys.
The UK authorities now believe that the Suffolk outbreak was most likely caused by movement of infected poultry material from Hungary.
The company that owns the Suffolk farm, Bernard Matthews, has a poultry processing subsidiary, SáGa Foods, in Hungary.
Each week, around 38 tonnes of semi-processed turkey meat from Hungary has been brought in to the processing plant of the Suffolk farm, next to the shed where the outbreak started.
It has been reported in the UK media that the virus found in Suffolk is genetically identical to the one that appeared in Hungary around 10 days earlier.
Both the Hungarian and UK authorities have acted swiftly to cull birds and establish restriction zones, in line with revised and strengthened European Union legislation on controlling the virus.
Several people in the UK fell ill after culling the birds but have not tested positive for H5N1.
The RSPB’s Director of Conservation, Dr Mark Avery said: “Some commentators and non-ornithological experts are making rash assumptions about wild birds and their involvement in the spread of H5N1.”
He added: “Whilst it is prudent to work on the assumption that this virus is present in some wild birds in Europe, what is known about this outbreak is difficult to reconcile with the idea that wild birds have brought H5N1 from eastern Europe to sealed sheds in Suffolk… we are concerned that undue emphasis on wild birds could prevent a proper understanding of the mechanisms of transmission of this avian disease.”
Associated Press reports:
Experts suspect the current spread of bird flu in Asia, Africa and Europe is mainly a result of trade in infected live birds rather than transmission through wild birds, the U.N. official coordinating the global fight against avian influenza said Friday.
See also here.
Blair and bird flu: cartoon here.
Poop-sniffing mice to the rescue: Animals can detect droppings left by ducks with Bird Flu: here.
Mountain hawk eagle in Japan: here.