Biological agents

Avian influenza cases in poultry and water birds on the rise

The latest report from EFSA, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) with OSH recommendations provided by EU-OSHA, indicates that cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) recorded in Europe among poultry and water birds have risen since the summer.

EU-OSHA's participation in the report has been based on recommendations on monitoring, diagnosis of human infections and public health, occupational health and safety measures for infection prevention and control in the EU/EEA.

According to the report, in the coming months the increasing infection pressure on poultry establishments might increase the risk of incursions in poultry, with potential further spread.

Read EFSA´s Avian influenza overview September -December 2022

Visit the interactive dashboard with information on the number and evolution of cases in Europe.

Discover the report on Testing and detection of zoonotic influenza virus infections in humans in the EU/EEA

EU-Commission recommends recognising COVID-19 as occupational disease in certain sectors and during a pandemic

The European Commission has adopted an updated Recommendation on occupational diseases following a tripartite agreement reached in May 2022 by Member States, workers and employers in the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) on the need to recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease. EU-OSHA has supported discussions by providing background information on the recognition of Covid-19 as occupational disease or accident.

With it, the Commission recommends that Member States recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease if contracted by workers:

 

  • in disease prevention,
  • in health and social care,
  • in domiciliary assistance,
  • or (during a pandemic) in other sectors where there is an outbreak and where a risk of infection has been proven.

The Commission also stresses the importance of supporting workers infected by COVID-19 and families who have lost members because of work exposure to the disease. It aims to strengthen the protection of workers and encourage a consistent approach across the EU. It will be for Member States to follow up on this Recommendation and define the details in national law.

The recognition and compensation of occupational diseases is a national competence. While most Member States already recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease or accident at work, the update aims to further encourage convergence and the recognition of COVID-19 as occupational disease across the EU.

Read EU-OSHA web sections on work-related diseases and Covid-19.

New report on testing and detection of zoonotic influenza virus infections in humans and occupational safety and health measures for those exposed at work

Zoonotic influenza viruses are viruses that can transmit from animals to humans, mainly avian and swine flu, and may cause epidemics or even pandemics, as in the past. Workers are likely to be at the front line of any outbreak where contact with animals cannot be avoided, such as in animal breeding centres, farms, zoos and slaughterhouses, laboratories, health and waste management facilities, or in wildlife conservation and forestry.

The joint report recently published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) , and the European Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease, aims to provide guidance on how to identify human infections with animal influenza viruses as early as possible to provide early warning and inform any measures. It explains the obligations that employers have to protect workers from infection or in the case of an outbreak.

Download and read the report

ECDC press release