Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds issues recommendation for countries at risk
In response to recent large-scale outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds, the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) convened the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds. Via a press release on 25 January 2022, the Task Force provides recommendations and guidance for authorities and managers of countries affected or at risk.
Several natural UNESCO World Heritage sites have been affected by the recent avian influenza outbreaks, leading to mortality in their water bird populations. In February 2021, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and CMS cooperated in addressing the first avian influenza outbreak in Senegal and Mauritania, which affected the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (PNOD), the Diawling National Park (PND) and the Banc d'Arguin National Park (PNBA).
The press release states that wild birds, including globally threatened species, are victims of HPAI viruses causing avian influenza.
Authorities with responsibility for animal health should apply One Health approaches for communicating and addressing avian influenza. That means recognizing that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment are interlinked and acting with a coordinated and unified approach.
It is recommended that surveillance and biosecurity measures be reinforced to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds. Authorities need to fulfil their international obligations to avoid the culling of wild birds and damage to natural ecosystems, especially wetlands.
Read the full press release here.
Statement of the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds on H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds: Winter of 2021/2022 with focus on mass mortality of wild birds in UK and Israel