PARMA, Italy – Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been reported among wild birds and poultry across Europe since the end of October, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported.

The H5N8 virus has been confirmed in Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The agency said it is helping EU member states collect data that will help identify how the virus enters poultry farms and the risks posed by wild birds.

“The European Commission has called on Member States to be vigilant and to reduce the risk of further outbreaks, by taking measures such as increasing biosecurity levels in poultry holdings and backyard flocks,” EFSA said in a statement.

In Germany, 30,000 chickens recently were culled after the H5N8 strain of avian influenza was confirmed at a farm in Schleswig-Holstein. Five German states have seen outbreaks of AI. The outbreaks come at the start of the holiday season when demand for duck, goose and chicken is high.