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Tens of thousands of birds killed due to avian flu in various areas of Taiwan

Bird Flu

Ten more outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been reported in Taiwan.
There were three outbreaks of the H5N8 strain, in Pingtung, Chiayi, and Koahsiung counties.
The farms affected included a duck farm, a goose farm and a chicken farm.
Over one thousand birds died and nearly ten thousand were destroyed as a result of the H5N8 outbreaks.
There were also seven outbreaks of the H5N2 strain, in Pingtung, Changhua, Yunlin, and Taipei counties, affecting chickens, geese and turkeys on farms and abattoirs.
Over 32 thousand birds were destroyed in the H5N2 outbreaks, and over 6000 died.
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57,000 birds to be killed due to new outbreak of avian flu in Iowa, USA

Bird Flu

Two more cases of bird flu have been found at Iowa turkey farms.
The Iowa Agriculture Department announced Monday that the avian influenza had been confirmed at a farm in Hamilton County with 36,000 turkeys and that a preliminary test for the disease was positive at a Calhoun County farm with 21,000 birds. A federal lab in Ames will test the Calhoun County samples.
Once the flu is confirmed at a farm, all the birds are euthanized.
The Agriculture Department says the virus has infected poultry at farms with more than 26 million birds.
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50,000 birds to be killed due to another outbreak of avian flu in South Dakota, USA

Bird Flu

Another turkey farm in South Dakota has tested positive for bird flu.
South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says a Moody County operation of about 50,000 birds has a presumptive positive test for avian influenza.
This latest farm brings to 10 the number of affected operations in South Dakota. In total there have been more than 1.7 million birds affected in the state.
Oedekoven says they’re still waiting to learn whether the farm is affected with the H5N2 strain that’s swept through the Midwest.
Crews will soon begin euthanizing the birds to prevent the spread of the virus.
It’s been about two weeks since the state has had a confirmed case of bird flu. Oedekoven says cases are still popping up in the region, but are becoming less frequent.
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5.7 MILLION birds now killed (or to be), after new outbreak in Minnesota, USA

Bird Flu

One new Minnesota turkey farm has been hit by bird flu, raising the state’s total to 85 since the outbreaks were first confirmed in early March.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health says the latest case is in Swift County. The flock size hasn’t been reported yet, but Minnesota turkey and chicken producers have now lost nearly 5.7 million turkeys and chickens to the disease.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture now reports over 140 findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza across the country, which have affected more than 30 million chickens and turkeys.
Minnesota, the country’s top turkey producing state, has had the most farms hit by the H5N2 virus, but Iowa, the country’s top egg producer, has lost by far the most birds at more than 24 million.
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8,000 Turkeys to be killed due to another outbreak of avian flu in Ontario, Canada

Bird Flu

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that a third farm in Oxford County, Ont., has been infected with H5 avian influenza.
H5 avian influenza confirmed on 2nd farm in Ontario
Bird flu can be detected in minutes with new device
29 Ontario farms under bird flu quarantine, CFIA says
The agency is estimating around 8,000 turkeys will be euthanized on the farm. 
The virus was first detected on an Oxford County farm in early April with 44,800 turkeys affected. More than a week later a second Oxford County farm tested positive with 27,000 broiler breeder chickens infected.
Avian influenza is an infectious viral disease of birds. Most bird flu viruses do not infect humans or pose a food safety risk when poultry products are properly handled and cooked.
The CFIA has set up two avian influenza control zones, which each span a 10-kilometre radius. One is located in Oxford County and the other covers portions of Oxford County and Waterloo County.
All poultry farms within those zones are under quarantine, meaning no poultry within those areas can leave the premises.
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1.2 Million birds dead due to avian flu, ‘scientists puzzled’, in Midwest USA

Bird Flu

A bird flu outbreak that has puzzled scientists spread to three more Midwest turkey farms, bringing the number of farms infected to 23 and raising the death toll to more than 1.2 million birds killed by the disease or by authorities scrambling to contain it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed on Saturday that the H5N2 strain of avian influenza was found among 38,000 birds at a commercial farm in Kandiyohi County in west-central Minnesota. It’s the third confirmed outbreak in Kandiyohi, which is the top turkey producing county in the country’s top turkey producing state.
This was after the USDA confirmed late Friday that bird flu was found at two more South Dakota farms, saying it had infected a flock of 53,000 turkeys at a farm in McCook County and in a flock of 46,000 turkeys at a farm in McPherson County.
South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said crews were working Saturday to begin euthanizing any birds not killed by the highly contagious strain to prevent the virus from spreading.
Once those birds have been destroyed, the 23 farms in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas will have lost more than 1.2 million turkeys, a small fraction of the 235 million turkeys produced nationally in 2014. Canadian officials also confirmed earlier in the week that a turkey farm in southern Ontario with 44,800 birds was hit, too.
Ken Rutledge, the CEO of Dakota Provisions, the only commercial turkey processing plant in South Dakota, said the more than 200,000 turkeys affected in the Dakotas so far account for about 5 percent of his total annual production.
“It probably will not impact our ability to service our customers, but is a serious impact in terms of lost volume at our plant and, obviously, is a severe impact to the growers themselves,” Rutledge said.
In Minnesota, turkey producers have now lost over 900,000 birds.
Scientists suspect migratory waterfowl such as ducks are the reservoir of the virus. They can spread it through their droppings. They’re still trying to determine how the virus has managed to evade the strict biosecurity that’s standard practice at commercial turkey farms. The virus can be carried into barns by workers or by rodents and wild birds that sneak inside.
Dr. Beth Thompson, assistant director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, said the reason Minnesota has had so many cases has a lot to do with the fact that it’s the country’s top turkey producing state, and that it has a myriad of ponds and lakes that are attractive stopover places for migrating waterfowl such as ducks.
“We have to think about what Minnesota is. It’s the Land of 10,000 Lakes bringing the wild waterfowl into Minnesota, and we’re also number one in turkey production. I think that answers the question, that we do have a lot of turkey barns out there, and that is why we are seeing the infection rate we are in those facilities,” she told reporters Friday.
Officials stress the risk to public health is low and that there’s no danger to the food supply. No human cases have been detected in the U.S.
Because trucks and equipment provide a potential way to carry the virus onto farms, Minnesota Gov.
Mark Dayton signed an executive order Friday lifting seasonal weight restrictions for poultry feed trucks and trailers, and for emergency equipment being used in the response. His order said tightening biosecurity by reducing the number of trips to poultry farms is critical to lowering the risk of introducing the virus to non-infected farms.
While South Dakota’s taken a drubbing in the last two weeks, Oedekoven, the state veterinarian, said tests on poultry living in the 10-kilometer quarantine zones of the state’s first two farms have almost all come back without any signs of the disease. They’re still awaiting a few results.
And he said for the time being, no other possible cases are pending confirmation in the state.
“If we can get a couple nice days of sunshine here and have everybody just wash their boots and blow their nose, we’ll hope for the best,” he said.
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7,500 turkeys dead due to avian flu in Ontario, Canada

Bird Flu

Authorities have placed eight poultry farms in southwestern Ontario under quarantine as they scramble to contain an outbreak of a bird flu virus found on a turkey farm near Woodstock.
The outbreak was discovered after birds on the turkey farm started to die late last week.
So far 7,500 turkeys on the farm have died.
An official from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the remaining birds in the flock of 12,000 will be euthanized humanely.
CFIA vice-president Paul Mayers says preliminary testing shows the virus is of the H5 subtype, but additional tests are being done to determine the full subtype.
That testing should reveal whether this outbreak is caused by an H5N2 virus that has been hopscotching among poultry operations in a number of U.S. states of late.
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Bird flu epidemic becoming critical in parts of USA

Epidemic Alert

Wisconsin’s poultry farms are under a state of emergency, declared this past week by Gov. Scott Walker. National Guard forces are helping as avian flu spreads. As of late Tuesday, yet another Wisconsin turkey flock had been decimated with the H5 avian influenza virus – an 87,000-bird turkey flock in Chippewa County. As of that date, there were four known cases of the virus in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The latest count shows more than 7 million poultry affected across the Midwest, with numerous farms added to the list each day. Iowa has destroyed millions of chickens, and Minnesota, which has also declared a state of emergency, has also destroyed millions of birds. Sunday, the Minnesota National Guard was called up in an attempt to contain the epidemic.
Meanwhile the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is scrambling to study the family of viruses to determine if a spread to humans is likely. Poultry workers are now being tested for the virus, and the CDC is recommending disinfecting all property and persons who have been around poultry. While transmission of avian flu from birds to humans has been rare in the United States, it has happened in Asia and Africa. The current strains are highly pathogenic strains of bird flu, meaning they are deadly to birds – and could possibly affect humans.
“It is possible that the process of genetic re-assortment could occur in a person who is co-infected with an avian influenza A virus and a human influenza A virus,” according to the CDC. “The genetic information in these viruses could re-assort to create a new influenza A virus with a gene from the avian virus and other genes from the human virus. Influenza A viruses with (the avian virus gene) against which humans have little or no immunity that have re-assorted with a human influenza virus are more likely to result in sustained human-to-human transmission and pose a major public-health threat of pandemic influenza. Therefore, careful evaluation of influenza A viruses recovered from humans who are infected with avian influenza A viruses is very important to identify re-assortment if it occurs.
“Although it is unusual for people to get influenza virus infections directly from animals, sporadic human infections and outbreaks caused by certain avian influenza A viruses and swine influenza A viruses have been reported.”
The CDC has isolated a strain of the H5N2 virus for potential use in a human vaccine, should one be needed. The names of these viruses indicate their origins. The H parts, which are highly pathogenic in poultry, originated in Asia, and the N parts come from North American avian flu viruses. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say they are still seeing H5N8, the first virus, but they have now identified two strains of mixed-origin viruses, both of them highly pathogenic – H5N2 and H5N1. The latter virus has been found in a handful of recent cases. Both the USDA and the CDC are investigating the new mixed viruses to learn whether they could mutate and attack humans. In the past, while rare, bird flu has passed to humans. At that point, mutations become extremely dangerous.
Investigators are wearing full-protection suits with ventilators while at poultry farms cleaning and destroying birds. The CDC is also working to have the government’s stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu released in order to be used for this outbreak. Hundreds of people who have been exposed to sick birds have been told to take Tamiflu as a precaution.
At the site of the newest outbreak in Chippewa County, the property was immediately quarantined and neighboring properties with poultry are being notified, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Remaining birds will be destroyed to stem further spread of the virus. No poultry products will enter the food supply, officials said. USDA protocols, surveillance and testing procedures will take place at the properties near the affected facility to try to prevent the virus from spreading.
But the problem is that officials don’t know how the virus is being spread to more and more flocks. Researchers are considering numerous possibilities such as dust, wind, wild birds, human factors and more. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has increased the number of workers in the field, to almost 400.
The H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin April 13 at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County, with 180,000 egg-laying chickens destroyed. Since then, two more flocks have been infected in Barron and Juneau counties, bringing the total of affected Wisconsin birds to more than 310,000.
Backyard poultry owners and other poultry producers are encouraged to practice biosecurity measures and to take steps to prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. They also should monitor their flocks closely, and need to report sick or dead birds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on a vaccine for poultry to counter the flu, as losses to poultry producers mount. USDA officials said the H5N2 virus could be a problem for the poultry industry for several years. The virus could reappear this fall when wild waterfowl that are believed to carry it fly south for the winter. Another concern is that it could spread to big poultry-producing states in the East.
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53,000 turkeys to be killed due to avian flu in South Dakota, USA

Bird Flu

53,000 turkeys to be killed due to avian flu in South Dakota, USA

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State of emergency declared due to bird flu outbreak in Minnesota, USA

State Of Emergency

Minnesota declared a state of emergency on Thursday over a fast-spreading strain of avian flu that has led to the extermination of more than 7.3 million birds in the country. It followed Wisconsin’s action on Monday.
The highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of bird flu has been identified on 46 Minnesota farms in 16 counties and affected more than 2.6 million birds in the state.
State health officials said they were expediting prescriptions for the antiviral drug Tamiflu for farm workers and others who have been in direct contact with infected flocks.
No human infections have been reported in this outbreak.
“There’s no reason for anybody in the state of Minnesota to be concerned about their own health,” Governor Mark Dayton said at a press conference on Thursday after declaring the state of emergency.
Federal and local public health authorities have said the risk of human infection is low.
The state’s action to provide antiviral drugs follows recommendations from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Minnesota’s health department approached 140 farm workers and others who had been in direct contact with infected birds and advised 87 of them to take the Roche antiviral medication as a preventative measure, the department’s spokesman Michael Schommer said. Seventy of them took the drug, he said.
Of the 62 people that state health officials have followed up with so far, none have been infected by the virus, Schommer said.
H5N2 Virus
The virus can kill nearly an entire infected flock within 48 hours.
Millions of turkeys and chickens are in quarantine waiting to be culled and large flocks have already been destroyed.
Officials have said they believe wild birds are spreading the virus but they do not know how it is entering barns.
Two bird flu strains have been discovered in the United States this year.
The H5N2 strain is in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. It has also been identified on farms in Ontario, Canada.
The H5N8 strain has been identified in California and also in Idaho, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed.
Iowa, the top U.S. egg-producing state, said on Monday that a lethal strain of bird flu had been found in hens at an egg-laying facility near the city of Harris run by Sunrise Farms, an affiliate of Sonstegard Foods Company. The company said the facility houses 3.8 million hens.
“We went to great lengths to prevent our birds from contracting AI (avian influenza), but despite best efforts we now confirm many of our birds are testing positive,” Sonstegard said.
Hormel Foods Corp, based in Minnesota, said this week that the virulent strain of avian influenza may drag its fiscal 2015 earnings toward the lower end of forecasts.
The virus has been identified at a facility west of Minneapolis that is owned by a subsidiary of Hormel. Minnesota is the largest turkey-producing state in the country.
Minnesota’s Dayton said he had authorised the National Guard to be called up for duty if needed.
In Wisconsin on Monday, Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency after three poultry flocks became infected in the past week, his office said. A state spokeswoman said guardsmen would disinfect trucks exiting infected facilities.
In Minnesota, researchers are investigating the virus’ spread, testing animal feed and conducting experiments to see if the virus is being carried onto farms by windborne dirt, dust or feathers, state officials said on Thursday.
The CDC said on Wednesday that H5N2 is genetically different from the H5N1 bird flu virus that has spread from birds to humans in the past.
On Tuesday, Mexico, the biggest buyer of U.S. chicken, halted imports of live birds and eggs from Iowa.
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