Avian influenza

On 16 August 2021, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) approved and published the self-declaration for Belgium to regain its status as free of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in poultry. 

The HPAI free status at the OIE level was regained on the 29th of April 2021  in accordance with the rules in force of the OIE, three months after the end of the stamping out (i.e. cleaning and disinfection of the last affected establishment) on 29 January 2021. 

No further outbreaks have occurred in poultry, which, together with the other measures and in application of Article 10.4.6 of the Terrestrial Code, allows Belgium to regain its status as free from highly pathogenic avian influenza infection.

For more detailed information please consult the document: self-declaration “HPAI free status “ published on the OIE website.

Introduction

Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease to which all poultry species are susceptible.

Infection of poultry can occur through direct contact with sick animals, or through exposure to contaminated materials. Wild birds may be an important source of contamination as they are often carriers of the virus without being visibly ill.

On 1 November 2020, an 'increased risk period' was declared in Belgium following the detection of high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N8 in wild birds in a neighboring country and additional biosecurity measures were taken to contain the spread of the virus. Despite these measures, HPAI outbreaks occurred also on Belgian territory.

A first HPAI outbreak was confirmed in poultry in November 2020, and a second one in January 2021. No further outbreaks occurred in poultry after this date, which, together with the other measures and in application of Article 10.4.6 of the Terrestrial Code of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), allowed Belgium to regain its status as free from HPAI.

The HPAI free status at the OIE level was regained on April 29, 2021 in accordance with the rules in force of the OIE, three months after the end of the stamping out (i.e. cleaning and disinfection of the last affected establishment) on January 29, 2021.

The OIE approved and published the self-declaration for Belgium to regain its status as free from HPAI in poultry on August 16, 2021.

Several outbreaks of HPAI were confirmed in captive birds, after Belgium regained its OIE HPAI free status. Those outbreaks do not have an impact on Belgium’s HPAI free status as stated in the OIE Terrestrial Code (Chapter 10.4., article 10.4.1):

“A notification of infection of birds other than poultry, including wild birds, with influenza A viruses of high pathogenicity, or of infection of domestic or captive wild birds with low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses does not affect the high pathogenicity avian influenza status of the country or zone. A Member Country should not impose bans on the international trade of poultry commodities in response to such notifications, or to other information on the presence of any non-notifiable influenza A virus in birds.”

For more details, see Situation in Belgium”.

Last updated: 20/09/2021