A poultry farm worker in Castilla-La Mancha has tested positive for H5 avian influenza. This is the first case in Spain and the second in Europe The UK will find another in December 2021. The case was confirmed last Tuesday, September 27 and reported to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), WHO and the Coordination Center for Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) of the Ministry of Health. The infected person remains asymptomatic and is already negative, as is the analysis of the rest of the staff who are taking the antiviral flu vaccine oseltamivir as a preventive measure.
The story goes back On September 12, when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced the outbreak of bird flu. highly pathogenic H5N1 Ovary in a chicken farm in the municipality of Fontanar (Guadalajara). It was the 35th explosion in Spain in 2022. A week later, on September 20, a second explosion was reported at a farm in Guadalajara, 3 kilometers from the previous one.
Sources related to the case explain to elDiario.es that the situation is “not alarming” and that this is a positive that has been revealed during the active surveillance work that is regularly carried out in these areas. So far, only hemagglutinin (H5), one of two proteins on the surface of the virus, along with neuraminidase (N), which is used to classify them, has been confirmed. However, pending final confirmation, the existence of an outbreak of the H5N1 subtype on the farm leaves little room for doubt. The sample, which was positive, was taken on September 23 and the result was confirmed on the 27th, the victim was in isolation at home until the 28th when he tested negative, according to documents accessed by elDiario.es.
Health sources explain that the worker tested positive with a “very low viral load” and that he never developed symptoms. These circumstances led to the health authorities being informed, but without warning.
Up to 60% lethality in humans
The highly pathogenic subtype H5N1 influenza virus is familiar to the poultry industry and veterinarians because of the high mortality in birds and the huge economic losses caused by the sacrifices made to control the spread. It is also possible in all pools of more serious future pandemics: although human-to-human transmission is anecdotal to date, High mortality rate in humans, up to 60% according to WHOWorries about the virus mutating to be transmitted between humans.
H5N1 flu was first identified in China in the late 1990s and came to the attention of researchers when an outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 proved that humans could spread it, and seriously: 6 of the 18 cases reported died. During the 21st century, cases in humans continued to increase: according to WHO data, from 2003 to March 31, 864 cases were recorded, 456 of them died, the mortality rate was 52%.
The current strain was identified in 2021, and since then three cases have been reported in humans: in Spain and the UK Another was reported in the United States in April.
The largest explosions recorded in Europe
Although the detection of cases in Spain is not a cause for alarm, experts have not overlooked the increase in cases of H5N1 flu in recent years, both in birds and in humans, especially since 2020. Exactly this Monday, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), ECDC and the European Union Reference Laboratory (EU) shared updated data on these outbreaks.
“The 2021-2022 highly pathogenic avian influenza season is the largest in Europe to date,” the ECDC concluded. According to these data, a total of 2,467 outbreaks were reported in poultry and about 48 million birds were slaughtered in the affected centers. 187 were also found in captive animals and 3573 events were found in wild samples. “The geographic extent of the virus’ spread is unprecedented, affecting 37 European countries,” the report added.
The new report, now out of date, emphasizes that no human cases have been reported among member states. “The overall risk to the public remains low, but is slightly higher for people who work in direct contact with infected birds.” For this reason, he insisted on the necessity of such tasks of surveillance and prevention as the case of Spain had revealed.
Bird flu cases have increased dramatically since 2020, both H5N1 and other subtypes such as H5N6 and H5N8. By the end of 2021, the World Organization for Animal Health warned of the need to increase surveillance efforts due to the increasing intensity of outbreaks among birds. According to their data, 14 million cases detected in 2021 is a record Which is better than the previous five years combined. Compared to the previous year, this was a 462% increase in cases and a 150% increase in deaths.
Source: El Diario