Avian Influenza Reappears in Hungary

The H5N8 strain has been identified at two turkey farms in Western Hungary.

Close-up of a turkey.
©Capri

On Wednesday, January 6, the National Food Chain Safety Office of Hungary (NÉBIH) reported that they identified the presence of Avian influenza in samples taken at two large turkey farms in Komárom-Esztergom County in Western Hungary.

According to NÉBIH’s press release, at two large turkey ranches in the outskirts of the village Ács, a drop in the animals’ feed and water consumption during the weekend was followed by an uptick in livestock mortality and the appearance of typical influenza symptoms in the livestock on Monday. NÉBIH’s inspectors took samples and the laboratory results confirmed on Wednesday the presence of the H5N8 influenza strain.

The authorities commenced the necessary livestock termination procedures, and started the culling of 90 thousand animals. They have set up a protection area within the 3-km-radius vicinity as well as an observation area in the 10-km-radius area around the two neighboring ranches. Within these areas, the Office is observing and sampling every poultry farm and further lockdown restrictions have also been put into place.

Hungary’s poultry sector is vulnerable to the viral disease because the country falls within the flyway of multiple seasonal bird migrations, which is why last November, National Chief Veterinary Officer Lajos Bognár ordered the compulsory closed housing of domestic poultry livestock in Hungary.

Last year, the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of Avian influenza appeared in Hungary in March and kept spreading throughout Southern Hungary. Hungary was finally officially declared free of Avian influenza in September. The outbreak caused substantive damages and various key foreign markets banned Hungarian poultry meat until October (more on this here.)

Source: NÉBIH (Hungarian)