Cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype
H7 in birds have been confirmed in Schwalmtal, a village near the Dutch border
in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (1). The section of
virus sequenced corresponds to that of the virus causing the outbreak in the
Netherlands. Avian cases in this outbreak have so far been reported from the
Netherlands (2), Belgium (3), and Germany (figure). Human cases reported have
been in the Netherlands and Belgium (2, 3, 4).
Figure: Confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in the Netherlands,
Belgium, and Germany
The European Commission adopted a decision on 12 May to reinforce the control
measures already put in place by the German authorities (5). The measures
include a standstill for the transport of live poultry and hatching eggs
in North Rhine-Westphalia and a prohibition on dispatching any live poultry
or hatching eggs from this state.
The situation will be reviewed at the meeting of the standing committee
on the food chain and animal health scheduled for 15 May. All requirements
have been met in Germany to ensure that any suspect cases can be examined
quickly in a federal state laboratory (6).