The red zone in Lazio, the seizure of tens of thousands of turkeys in Emilia Romagna, the outbreaks in the Veronese area. The spread of avian flu in poultry farms throughout half of Italy is worrying. In Ostia Antica, as he says The messenger, fifty died hens in two days. It was the owner of a farm in the via Pianabella area who raised the alarm in early November, after witnessing the sudden deaths of dozens of animals.
Rolando, this is the name of the owner, alerted the zooprophylactic institute that found the presence of the virus in the carcasses. The Region intervened immediately, arranging a protection area with a radius of ten kilometers and three from the breeding site of the outbreak. “All the veterinary services of the ASL and natural protected areas were also alerted by setting up a task force, together with the Zooprophylactic Institute of Lazio and Tuscany, to verify any reports of suspected cases among wild birds or farm animals”, he said know the councilor for health of Lazio, Alessio D’Amato, for a total of 35 farms involved.
On the other hand, 50 thousand specimens were seized as a precaution in Lagosanto, in the province of Ferrara, for another outbreak of the AH5N1 virus at the headquarters of a company that is part of the Amadori group. The farm was isolated even if the health authorities found the “low pathogenicity” and the situation, according to reports from the company to theActed, it would be under control. A month ago in Codigoro, in the province of Ferrara, 38 thousand animals were killed for the same reason.
Fear also spreads into Veronese where, according to the Ministry of Health, there would be 19 farms of turkeys, boilers and laying hens, in which cases of positivity were found for influenza virus H5N1 highly pathogenic. The alert is also high in the Lower Padovana area, where eight other farms have been placed under surveillance between the municipalities of Montagnana and Urbana. The situation is under control. But entrepreneurs are worried.
The virus arrived from China
The owner of a company not far from the “red zone” of Ostia Antica, interviewed by Messenger, speaks of “catastrophe”. The blocking of slaughterings with the approach of the Christmas holidays is considered a real disaster, with considerable repercussions from an economic point of view in full post-pandemic recovery. According to the owner of the Ostia breeding, the virus would have come from China, carried by the wings of the Mallards.
Guido Grilli, professor of avian pathology at the Faculty of Veterinary at the University of Milan, interviewed by Adnkronos Salute, confirms that the avian flu strain “comes with the flow of migratory birds”. And Italy, the expert emphasizes, is a sort of “highway” of migration. In short, if it is true that there have always been cases of this type, today the phenomenon is aggravated by the climate changes that bring ever new species to our territory.
The protest of the animal rights activists
However Grilli points out that it hasn’t been there over the years “an increase of these influenza outbreaks in the avian population”. “If we hear more often about similar cases – he explained – it is because for 20 years we have been much more careful when we observe anomalous mortalities among birds”. The animal rights activistshowever, they point the finger at intensive farming and call for a “total change of approach” towards the “exploitation of animals involved in food chains around the world”. “Very high densities, immune weakness caused by a genetic selection oriented solely to profit and conditions of non-life inside the sheds create the perfect conditions for the contagion between animals and the onset of zoonosis”, explained Lorenza Bianchi, manager of the Animal Area in Livestock Farms.
The risks for humans
The leap of species from animal to man, as is hypothesized to have happened for Covid, is a fairly rare eventuality in the case of the H5N1 virus. And this is also thanks to the safety measures adopted on the farms. “It is not easy for this virus to affect humans”, explains the same veterinarian. The virus, in fact, says Grilli, can change “only if there is a passage in another animal”. “We – he explained – have very few receptors for the avian influenza virus and we have them only in the lungs. Therefore the virus must be breathed in large quantities and be able to reach directly into the alveoli, because if it stops first it does not take root”.
When the strain is transmitted to humans, however, Massimo Andreoni, head of Infectious Diseases at the Tor Vergata Polyclinic in Rome and scientific director of the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (Simit) warns, heard by the same news agency, lethality it is “extremely high”. “Fortunately – the infectious disease specialist reassures – up to now there have never been human-to-human passages, the virus has always been transmitted to people by direct contact with the sick animal”. “Being extremely lethal pathogens for humans, – he warned – obviously everything must be done to prevent this further acquisition by the virus from happening” precisely by monitoring the spread of the infection among birds.