Authorities say a duck at a farm in eastern Germany has tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.
The social affairs ministry in the eastern state of Saxony says the farm near Goerlitz on the Polish border has been sealed off.The ministry said Thursday that the farm has more than 1,000 birds, including turkeys and geese.
The above comments on confirmed H5N1 in Germany are curious. In the past, outbreaks in Germany have predated subsequent infections in Europe. H5N1 first migrated into the area in the fall of 2005, but most outbreaks in Europe, including Germany were not reported until early 2006. H5N1 was widespread in Germany and represented at least 3 distinct clade 2.2 (Qinghai strain) sub-clades.
(Snip) Germany reported multiple outbreaks in the summer of 2007, which was unexpected. Additional outbreaks were also reported in the Czech Republic and France. The isolates in Germany, including Saxony, were analyzed by FLI, who noted that the 2007 isolates were distinct from 2006 and presented a clade 2.2.3 sub-clade that had been reported previously in the Uvs Lake region in Mongolia and Russia. This Uvs lake strain subsequently spread throughout Europe in the 2007/2008 season and was recently reported in Nigeria (and is likely also involved in the recent outbreaks in Benin and Togo).
The latest outbreak may be signaling early arrivals from Siberia and Mongolia, which may include a new sub-clade for Europe, clade 2.3 (Fujian strain). (Snip) In northern Japan there were multiple outbreaks in whooper swans, which would be expected to create opportunities for migration of H5N1 to the same areas that gave rise to clade 2.2.3. Thus, the sequences of the H5N1 would be of interest. Previously, all H5N1 west of China has been clade 2.2. If the H5N1 in Germany is clade 2.3, it would signal a major global expansion of this sub-clade, which ahs been responsible for all reported human cases in China, as well as recent cases in Vietnam.