The reported spread in South Korea, China and Japan of the highly pathogenic avian influenza has put the poultry industry on high alert.
Several outbreaks of severe bird flu in Asia and Europe have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), signaling that the virus is spreading rapidly once again.
South Korea reported an outbreak at a farm of around 770,000 poultry in Chungcheongbuk-do, the OIE said on Monday, citing a report from the South Korean authorities. All animals were slaughtered.
China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza so far this year, more than in the whole of 2020.
Also in Asia, Japan reported its first outbreak of the 2021 winter season at a poultry farm in the northeast of the country, the OIE said. The serotype in this outbreak was H5N8.
Outbreaks in Europe
Norway has reported an H5N1 bird flu outbreak in the Rogaland region in a flock of 7,000 birds.
The Belgian government put the country on alert for increased risk of bird flu, ordering poultry to be kept indoors as of Monday after a highly pathogenic variant of bird flu was identified in a wild goose near Antwerp.
This followed a similar move in neighbouring France earlier this month and in the Netherlands in October.
Outbreaks generally occur in the autumn, spread by migrating wild birds and also often lead to trade restrictions.
The reported spread in recent days of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, has put the poultry industry on high alert after previous outbreaks led to the culling of tens of millions of birds.
Epidemiologists are also on alert as the virus can be transmitted to humans.