Wetenschappelijk artikelUpdate of the target list of wild bird species for passive surveillance of H5 HPAI viruses in the EU

Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease that constitutes a significant threat to birds worldwide. Particularly concerning are highly pathogenic AI (HPAI) viruses of the H5 subtype, which have caused extensive losses in both poultry and wild bird flocks. For this reason, the European Union (EU) mandated Member States (MSs) to carry out surveillance for AI in both poultry and wild birds. Passive surveillance, which aims at the virological detection of AI in wild birds found dead or moribund, is part of this surveillance programme. To aid the MSs, a list of wild bird target species for the passive surveillance of H5 HPAI viruses in Europe was first published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2017. This report presents an update of that list. To compile this updated list, both epidemiological and ornithological data were used. Epidemiological data consisted of passive surveillance data submitted by the MSs to EFSA. Ornithological data was derived from literature and expert knowledge. Species were given scores for traits relevant for spreading HPAI among wild birds, such as habitat type and degree of gregariousness. Species were then categorised into ecological groups, based on their relevance for early warning purposes, considering the likelihood of virus transmission to poultry. Within these groups, the ranking of the species was determined by their scores for both HPAI history and ecological traits. The final updated target list comprises 241 bird species, which are all to be considered risk species and can be targeted in passive surveillance programmes. Depending on individual needs and available budget, this report provides suggestions on which ecological groups to focus on and which events to prioritise. This list aims at helping MSs in prioritising passive surveillance sampling efforts, thus increasing insights into the spread of HPAI in wild birds in Europe.

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