The Epidemiological Environment of Avian Influenza H5N1 Outbreaks in Wild Birds in Croatia
Jasmina Mužinić1, Chris J. Feare2, Marina Pavlak3, Denis Cvitković3, Marko Tadić3
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1Department of Ornithology, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2WildWings Bird Management, 2 North View Cottages, Grayswood Common, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 2DN, UK
3Department of Veterinary Economics and Analytical Epidemiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2010;19(2):379–385
Following the spread from its origins in China, Asian lineage highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was first recorded in Europe in Turkish poultry and in poultry and wild birds in Romania in early October 2005. On 19 October 2005 Croatia became the second European country to record an outbreak in wild birds, involving Mute Swans Cygnus olor. Subsequent surveillance in Croatia revealed further instances of H5N1 in dead and sick Mute Swans in 2005, and in 2006 in more dead Mute Swans and in living, apparently healthy, Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus, but not in poultry. The observations presented here suggest that Croatia experienced two independent incursions of Asian lineage HPAI H5N1, but genetic confirmation is not available. Potential routes of introduction by wild birds, the poultry industry and fish-farming practices are discussed, but the evidence for all of these remains circumstantial.