Emerging Infectious Diseases (Feb 2021)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N8) Virus Spread by Short- and Long-Range Transmission, France, 2016–17

  • François-Xavier Briand,
  • Eric Niqueux,
  • Audrey Schmitz,
  • Claire Martenot,
  • Martine Cherbonnel,
  • Pascale Massin,
  • Florian Kerbrat,
  • Marina Chatel,
  • Carole Guillemoto,
  • Cecile Guillou-Cloarec,
  • Katell Ogor,
  • Aurélie Le Prioux,
  • Chantal Allée,
  • Véronique Beven,
  • Edouard Hirchaud,
  • Yannick Blanchard,
  • Axelle Scoizec,
  • Sophie Le Bouquin,
  • Nicolas Eterradossi,
  • Béatrice Grasland

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 27, no. 2
pp. 508 – 516


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We detected 3 genotypes of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) virus in France during winter 2016–17. Genotype A viruses caused dramatic economic losses in the domestic duck farm industry in southwestern France. Our phylogenetic analysis suggests that genotype A viruses formed 5 distinct geographic clusters in southwestern France. In some clusters, local secondary transmission might have been started by a single introduction. The intensity of the viral spread seems to correspond to the density of duck holdings in each production area. To avoid the introduction of disease into an unaffected area, it is crucial that authorities limit the movements of potentially infected birds.