Surveillance of wild birds for avian influenza viruses has been compulsory in the European Union (EU) since 2005, primarily as a means of detecting H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus and of monitoring the circulation of low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus H5 and H7 strains. In 2007, 79,392 wild birds were tested throughout the EU. H5N1 HPAI was detected in 329 birds from four Member States (MS); affected birds were almost entirely of the orders Podicipediformes (grebes) and Anseriformes (waterfowl) during the summer months. LPAI was detected in 1485 wild birds among 21 MS. A total of 1250 birds were positive for influenza A but were not discriminated any further; LPAI H5 was detected in 105 birds, exclusively of the order Anseriformes. LPAI H7 was detected in seven birds. LPAI of other subtypes was found in 123 birds. Epidemiologic evidence and phylogenetic analysis of H5N1 viruses indicate that H5N1 did not appear to persist in the EU from 2006 but was reintroduced, probably from the Middle East.
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Vol. 54 • No. s1