Vigilance programme of Avian influenza in wild birds in Catalonia

Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease caused by a virus of the type A Influenza virus genus, which can cause high mortality in poultry production.

The measures of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action (DAR) against this disease of obligatory notification include controls on poultry production farms and wild birds, especially ducks. Waterfowl, especially the anatidae, show, in many cases, a sub-clinical form of infection and act as carriers. In fact, it is this group of birds that constitute the natural hosts of the virus.

CReSA’s Epidemiology and Field Studies Unit participates, along with other  units from CReSA, the DAR and the Department of the Environment and Housing (DMAiH), in co-ordinating and applying the vigilance progamme for Avian Influenza in wild birds in Catalonia.

This programme follows the current directives of the 2006 Vigilance Plan for Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds in Spain proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Food (MAPA), in accordance with the guidelines of the European Union, and has been carried out based on current legislation.

In general terms, CReSA’s activities in the Vigilance Plan for wild birds in Catalonia are based on:

  1. Detecting and estimating the prevalence of the H5 and H7 subtypes (the only sub-types that can be highly virulent)
  2. Determining the peaks of mortality that may be due to this disease
  3. Discovering the circulation of other sub-types.

The population being studied is wild birds, mainly those species of migratory waterfowl that display the greatest risk due to number, origin of migratory routes or probability of contact with domestic poultry.

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