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Continuing Outbreaks of HPAI in Wild Birds


A serious outbreak of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza has reduced the population of Gannets breeding on the island of Rouzic, part of the Sept-Iles Archipelago off the coast of Brittany, France.  This outbreak is unfortunate as it has affected a rare colony of Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus), killing adults allowing chicks deprived of parental care to starve. 


H5N1 strain avian influenza has caused serious losses in diverse wild bird species including cranes, storks, hawks, cormorants, pelicans, geese, gulls, and penguins.  The infection has also been diagnosed in seals, porpoises, and foxes on both sides of the Atlantic.


Dr. Pascal Provost, Director of the Bird Reserve including Rouzic Island noted, “Bird flu is hitting sea birds in the spring and in the summer. That is totally new, traditionally bird flu mainly affects waterfowl during winter.


The Ministry of Agriculture of France issued a statement commenting on the exceptionality of the outbreaks of avian influenza both with respect to numbers of birds involved with over 19 million commercial waterfowl, chickens and turkeys having to be culled from November 2021 through May 2022.