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Chickens are seen inside an indoor farm In Lvzhai Town, China. Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has received several reports of outbreaks of bird flu in Europe and Asia in recent days, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, is a highly contagious strain of influenza that affects food-producing birds, pet birds and wild birds. Previous outbreaks have prompted the mass culling of birds and trade restrictions in some regions, Reuters notes.

The big picture: All 770,000 birds at a poultry farm in South Korea were killed due to an outbreak, per Reuters.

  • Japan reported an outbreak in the northeast of the country — its first of the 2021 winter season, Reuters notes.
  • Norway reported an H5N1 outbreak in a flock of 7,000 birds.
  • Belgium ordered poultry to be kept indoors as of Monday after a highly contagious variant of bird flu was found in a wild goose near Antwerp, per Reuters. This follows similar moves by France and the Netherlands.
  • Outbreaks have also been reported in India and parts of the Middle East this year.

Worth noting: "People who are in close contact with infected birds are at risk for acquiring avian influenza," according to the OIE, which also noted there is no evidence to suggest bird flu can be transmitted through consumption of poultry or eggs.

  • In June, China reported its first case of the H10N3 bird flu strain.
  • The country has also reported more than 21 infections of the H5N6 avian influenza, per Reuters.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

3 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.