Like previous years, at the beginning of 2015 there were several epizootic disease outbreaks we needed to work on or pay attention to. Very important again were outbreaks of avian influenza and an on-going spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in European countries including Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.
This time H5N8, a variant already reported to be causing outbreaks in Korea and Japan in 2014. In the beginning of this year there were several outbreaks in poultry in countries in North West Europe including Germany, The Netherlands and United Kingdom. Using more advanced genomic characterization methods EPIZONE partner institutes were able to demonstrate that the recent outbreaks concerned separate introductions in poultry farm most likely coming from water bird wildlife. So this may well be an extended research challenge for EPIZONE. Last week a new H5N8 outbreak in poultry was reported from Hungary, so preparedness among EPIZONE partner institutes is of utmost importance.