Germany Reports Outbreak Of “Highly Pathogenic” H5N8 Bird Flu Virus

Pig ebola decimating millions of pigs in China; Coronavirus infecting tens of thousands in China and around the globe, and now bird flu killing Germany’s chickens.

Germany has reported an outbreak of the “highly pathogenic” H5N8 bird flu virus in a backyard in the southwestern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday, according to a Reuters report.  The virus killed 44 birds out of a flock of 69 in Bretzfeld, in the Baden-Wurttemberg region, the Paris-based OIE said, citing a report from Germany’s food and agriculture ministry.

“All poultry and captive birds have been culled and safely disposed of on Feb. 7, 2020. No poultry, poultry products or captive birds have been dispatched,” it said in the report.

The good news: according to BFR, it is unlikely that the pathogen can be transmitted to humans via food (then again, China also did say for about a month that the coronavirus pandemic was contained). The not so good news: even if just Germany’s chicken population is impacted, it could push food inflation substantially higher. How high? Recall that last night China reported that in December CPI for the country printed at a 9 year high of 5.4%, mostly as a result of a 100% increase in the price of pork, as China’s pig population has been decinated as a result of “pig ebola.”


A case of H5N8 bird flu – not to be confused with the H5N1 bird flu outbreak reported in China’s Hunan province last week – had been confirmed in a wild bird in the eastern German state of Brandenburg in January but no birds on farms were involved, the ministry had then said.

Unlike China, however, this time the viral outbreak probably did not originate in a lab and instead may have been imported from one of Germany’s neighbors. In early January we reported that avian influenza had been detected in Europe’s largest poultry producers, located in eastern Poland. Reuters, citing local media reports, said up to 40,000 turkeys could be culled in the coming days to prevent a further outbreak. This was the first outbreak of the bird flu since France culled 800,000 birds to prevent the spread of H5N8 in 2017.

Ironically, there is one similarity to the coronavirus outbreak in China: back in January, local broadcaster Polsat said, “to prevent the virus from spreading, the police blocked roads in the vicinity of infected farms. Within a radius of three kilometers, it can be up to 350 thousand pieces of poultry.” Alas, just like in China, this quarantine also not only did not work, but now the virus appears to have spread all the way to Germany.

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