In a statement published last week, it said that, regardless of the source of infection, the focus should be on disease control actions at the affected farms, in order to minimise the risk of further spread of avian influenza.
It pointed out that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was typically spread via contaminated poultry, but that wild birds may also play a role.
The Task Force suggested that the current H5N8 outbreak may have originated in poultry, before spilling into the wild bird population and then back into poultry, which was a pattern also seen with the H5N1 HPAI virus.
While investigations into the source of the current outbreak, which has been seen in South Korea earlier this year, before appearing in Europe last month, there is speculation that it has spread from eastern Asia, via wild birds.
"Firstly, it should be noted that direct migration by wild birds from eastern Asia to western Europe would be highly unusual. Flyways are characteristically ‘north–south’ (with some areas of ‘overlap’ of contiguous flyways at higher latitudes), and waterbirds breeding in north-east Asia tend to migrate southwards into east and south-east Asia, and not into Europe," said the statement.
It added that the movement of the virus from eastern Asia to western Europe via the wild bird population would be "extraordinary" given the short time frame and the absence of extreme weather conditions during this period.