More than 35 countries have been hit in a surge in bird flu outbreaks since early last year, killing tens of millions of poultry, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday. U.S. poultry and egg producers have been grappling with a record outbreak of avian flu, mainly the H5N2 strain, that has led to the culling of more than 33 million birds since December last year and is now threatening supplies.
Highly pathogenic H5N8, which like H5N2 has not been found in humans, was also reported in a few U.S. states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The H5N8 strain was discovered early last year in Korea and China, and reached Japan soon afterwards. “From there the strain probably spread with migratory wild birds to India, Europe, Canada and later the United States of America,” the OIE said in a statement. The Paris-based organization urged its 180 member countries to better apply biosecurity measures in farms, live bird markets and in trade, and step up surveillance to curb the spread of the disease. FULL REPORT