According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), H5N8 was first reported as a low pathogenic strain in the state of Idaho in the US, in 2008, and again in the state of California earlier in 2014.
However, a highly pathogenic strain was detected in January this year in the Republic of Korea, with subsequent outbreaks in Japan and China. More recently, there have been outbreaks in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
The OIE has reported that the viruses in Europe were identified as being closely related to the outbreaks in the Republic of Korea, but investigations are still continuing.
Further information on avian influenza, and the H5N8 strain in particular, can be found on the OIE’s website, which also includes information on trading recommendations for countries with an influenza A (H5N8) outbreak, and biosecurity measures.