Animal health authorities in Japan have culled a record 9.87 million birds, mostly chickens and ducks, to stop the spread of highly pathogenic bird flu.
Japan has been contending with outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu since November 2020. Recent reporting in the Japan Times and JiJi Press says that the outbreak spread to 18 prefectures, including Chiba and Ibaraki, the country’s main poultry producing areas.
As of Saturday 8 May, veterinary authorities culled around 9.87 million birds as part of biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the virus. This number is a dramatic increase from the previous record cull of 1.83 million birds in the 2010-2011 outbreak.
The Jiji Press reports that the widespread culls are behind the recent spike in egg prices.
Poultry farmers and backyard keepers are being encouraged to adopt stringent biosecurity measures to prevent further outbreaks of bird flu.
Courtesy of thepoultrysite.com
Bulgarian veterinary authorities will cull 55,000 hens in the northern town of Slavyianovo after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed at a industrial farm there, the fourth since February 3, the food safety agency said late on Monday.
The agency said the four farms have been hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza type A, but did not disclose the strain of the disease.
The predominant strain in Europe at present is H5N8.
Some 160,000 ducks and 99,000 have been culled at three farms in Slavyianovo, some 190 km northeast of Sofia, this month as authorities try to contain the spread of the disease.
Courtesy of news.trust.org
Iraq has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu in the city of Samaraa in the centre of the country, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday.
The virus was found on Jan. 12 at a farm some 130 kilometres (81 miles) north of the capital Baghdad and killed 63,700 birds in the 68,800-strong flock, the OIE said in a report posted on its website, citing the Iraqi ministry of agriculture.
The remaining animals were culled, it said.
Courtesy of agriculture.com
Japan has been hit by a major avian influenza outbreak, particularly in the west of the country. During the 2020/2021 season, since the first case confirmed in November 2020 at an egg-laying chicken farm in Mitoyo, Kagawa Prefecture, there have been a further 41 farms affected in 17 prefectures (as of February 2, 2021) with 7.1 million birds culled. This is a record high for a single season. Chicken farms have been most affected, including those for egg-laying birds and broilers for meat production, as well as those for raising chicks. On January 21, an outbreak was also confirmed at a farm producing duck meat in Chiba Prefecture.
A poultry farm where avian influenza was confirmed on February 2 was one of the largest in Ibaraki Prefecture and all 840,000 of its egg-laying hens were culled. This is the first time since 2006 that there has been an outbreak in Ibaraki.
According to livestock statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ibaraki is the prefecture with the highest number of egg-laying hens at 15.5 million, followed by Chiba with 12.4 million. Miyazaki has the highest number of broilers in the country with 28.2 million, while the neighboring prefecture of Kagoshima ranks second for broilers and third for egg-laying hens. The long-term spread of avian influenza in leading production areas has inevitably affected supply and demand of chicken and eggs.
The common factor in all the poultry avian influenza outbreak cases so far this season is the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 virus with a high fatality rate detected each time. In 10 prefectures yet to experience farm outbreaks, the same virus has been found in wild birds and feces at and alongside rivers and lakes.
Courtesy of nippon.com
Avian influenza outbreaks continue to ravage the poultry sector in France, leading to the culling of over a million birds in the southwest region.
Since the first case was detected in mid-November, the number of outbreaks has increased to 264.
In a statement released on Friday, the Food and Agriculture Ministry said as a preventive measure 1.116 million poultry, mostly ducks, have been culled in the municipalities of Gers, Landes, Pyrenees-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrenees.
Around 12 cases have been recorded outside the south-west region.
The highly contagious H5N8 virus was also found to have spread among wildlife. Authorities recorded at least 10 deaths among wild birds due to the virus.
To control the risk of spreading the virus, the movement of poultry has been prohibited in these areas.
The H5N8 virus exclusively affects birds and is not transmissible to humans through the consumption of meat or eggs.
Courtesy of aa.com.tr
Russian authorities have reported 7 poultry farm workers aged 29 to 60 years infected with the A(H5N8) strain of avian influenza, also known as bird flu. This is the first reported detection of this strain of avian influenza in humans. The human infections occurred on a poultry farm in Astrakhan, Russian Federation, and were reported to WHO by Russian health officials via channels of the International Health Regulations (2005).
Concerns were raised when 101 000 out of 900 000 egg-laying hens on the farm died in early December 2020. An investigation by Russian veterinary public-health authorities detected avian influenza A(H5N8), which was then confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Reference Laboratory and the Federal Centre for Animal Health in the city of Vladimir, Russian Federation.
Follow-up tests on the 7 workers from the poultry farm suggested recent infection with the virus, though they showed no symptoms. There was no clinical evidence of onward transmission to families or close associates of the workers. Further information on serology among contacts of the positive cases is required to fully assess the risk.
Dr Richard Pebody, who leads the High Threat Pathogen Team at WHO/Europe, was quick to reassure: “The people who were reported to be infected did not develop symptoms and they were all exposed to an infected poultry flock in the course of their work. The infection does not appear to have come from other human beings – which is good news.”
Dr Pebody added, “The poultry flock has been culled and no further infections in humans have been found. It is also encouraging that this incident shows the system that alerts local and international authorities is working. However, this underlines the ongoing importance of global surveillance in the face of constantly evolving influenza viruses. Changes to the influenza virus must be closely monitored in animals and humans alike; this is a good example of the One Health approach, recognizing that human and animal health are intertwined and depend on each other.”
Based on available information, the risk of human-to-human transmission remains low and WHO recommendations have not changed as a result of the incident. When avian influenza is circulating in an area, farms and contact with live animals, for example in markets, should be avoided. Precautions must be taken by those working with poultry.
WHO is now following up with public health authorities in the Russian Federation and other relevant organizations. Although this strain of influenza has not previously been known to affect humans, it has been detected in farmed and wild birds in countries across the European Region, including Bulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and now the Russian Federation.
Courtesy of euro.who.int
Russia said it found the world’s first cases of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza in humans though the virus isn’t yet spreading between people.
Authorities have sent information on the seven cases detected in workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia to the World Health Organization, Anna Popova, the country’s public-health chief, said in televised comments on Saturday.
“It is not transmitted from person to person. But only time will tell how soon future mutations will allow it to overcome this barrier,” she said. The discovery of this strain now “gives us all, the whole world, time to prepare for possible mutations and the possibility to react in a timely way and develop test systems and vaccines.”
The affected workers at the poultry farm, where an outbreak among birds was reported in December, had mild cases and have recovered, Popova said.
The swift identification of the strain means work can start on development of testing to detect new infections and on potential vaccines, Rinat Maksyutov, head of the Vektor research center, which made the finding, told state television.
In November, Vektor reported that a new H5N8 flu strain was circulating in 15 Russia regions among poultry and wild birds, but was not considered dangerous to humans, the Interfax news service reported.
In 2012, health officials investigated a strain of bird flu that killed hundreds of wild ducks in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region for potential risks to humans.
More than 2 million ducks and other poultry were slaughtered in France as of the end of January due to outbreaks of avian flu or as a preventative measure, the country’s agriculture ministry reported.
There have been 862 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with the H5N1 strain of avian flu including 455 deaths since 2003 in 17 countries, the WHO said in a Dec. 9 report. Six of 14 cases of H5N6 avian flu in humans reported since 2014 were fatal, the WHO said in a post dated Nov. 2016.
“Though human infections with A(H5) viruses are rare and generally occur in individuals exposed to sick or dead infected birds (or their environments), they can lead to severe illness or death in humans,” the WHO said on its website.
Courtesy of bnnbloomberg.ca
Governor of Salahudin province in Iraq said Friday that bird flu was detected in the city of Samarra, while the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that all protective measures were taken to contain the spread of the virus.
“The laboratory tests proved that poultry in Samarra, some 120 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, was infected with bird flu,” Ammar Khalil, governor of the province, said in a statement.
Khalil said that about 60,000 chickens were infected with bird flu in the city, calling on poultry owners and citizens in Samarra to be on the highest alert to confront the virus, according to the statement.
The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture said in a separate statement that it had taken all protective measures to prevent the spread of the detected H5N8 strain of avian influenza virus to other poultry fields in Salahudin province.
It said that after the discovery of the infection in two poultry fields in Samarra, the ministry’s Veterinary Department held a meeting, and an emergency plan was approved to control the disease.
The ministry pointed out that all the chickens in the fields infected with the virus were culled, and the fields’ halls were sanitized, in addition to blocking and scanning 3 km of areas surrounding the fields.
Courtesy of xinhuanet.com
The avian influenza virus H5N8 has been found at a large plant in Skåne, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the National Veterinary Institute, SVA, have been found. On Tuesday, the plant’s 18,000 animals will begin.
SVA is currently investigating the cause of infection. Most likely, the virus has come indirectly, via wild birds.
“We know that the infection is high in mainly aquatic wild birds, which means that the risk is great in coastal areas and near lakes,” Malin Grant, epidemiologist at SVA told ATL and continues:
“Geese, for example, can secrete large amounts of viruses and in the prevailing weather conditions, when it is cold and lack of sunlight, it can survive for quite some time.
She explains that it is often not possible to determine exactly how the virus has entered the facility.
“There are many different pathways such as staff getting it on or it comes on equipment, indirectly via rodents or wild birds, or ventilation ducts.
Two buildings on the facility were found to be affected by the virus. 18 000 poultry will therefore need to be killed and the buildings cleaned up. This work will begin on Tuesday. A decision on a lockdown has been made by the Swedish Board of Agriculture with a protection zone of three kilometres around the holding in question, and a monitoring zone with a radius of ten kilometres.
“This means that animals or animal products can not be moved without permission in the area. The same is true in both zones and permits are needed to move and transport poultry,” says Katharina Gielen, deputy head of the animal department at the Swedish Board of Agriculture.
In addition, domestic birds should be kept indoors, except in the case of special derogations.
“But then you have to do everything to protect them even outdoors, such as having a roof over feed and water, having them fenced and on reduced surface so that they don’t move completely freely,” says Katharina Gielen.
She tells us that they have been on site to see what large facilities are within the zones and been in contact with them to tell them the situation and get an overview of the farms.
“When bird flu is detected, we are obliged to do so, just as pet owners are obliged to report episotomy in the event of episothey.
It is important to have rapid control in the affected part, otherwise there is a risk of further spread. Malin Grant says that the farm in question acted early and that it is a facility with high biosecurity, which happened to be affected.
“The virus is extremely contagious.
She says there are several issues that farmers can think through around their own herd to try to reduce the risk of infection and spread of the virus:
“What are the possible routes into my animals? What about staff routines, protective equipment, hand washing, transport, visitors? If you can keep wild birds away from the outdoor environment near the farm, it is an advantage, by eliminating things that attract them.
This could include, for example, ensuring that there are no feed spills or bodies of water on the farm.
On November 6, infection of the virus occurred within a Turkey herd in Skåne. Katharina Gielen says that they recently lifted the restrictions and that the plant has been declared free of infection.
How long it takes for an infected farm to be released varies.
“It all depends on the size of the crew and that everything runs on as expected. The animals must first be killed, then buildings are to be cleaned up and so it should be empty for a certain period.
After the outbreak on the turkey herd, protection level 2has applied throughout Sweden , which means that domestic poultry are not allowed to stay outdoors except in special exceptions. There are no plans to lift the restrictions at this time.
“It is based on international surveillance and reports that viruses are currently circulating among wild birds, in several countries in Europe. The danger is certainly not over yet,” says Katharina Gielen.
“We keep our fingers crossed that no more people will be affected. This can mean significant financial losses and consequences for the producers affected. But also great animal suffering,” says Malin Grant.
Courtesy of atl.nu
South Korea’s agricultural ministry said Friday it has confirmed the country’s 48th case of highly pathogenic bird flu from a poultry farm, with the spread of the disease among wild birds further straining the country’s antivirus fight.
The latest case of the malign HN58 strain of bird flu came from a duck farm in Yeongam, 384 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
South Korea issued a standstill order on all poultry farms in the region for seven days.
Authorities have been looking into a separate case from Muan, 385 kilometers south of Seoul, as well. Both places are in South Jeolla Province.
Later in the day, another suspected case was reported from an egg farm in Gimpo, west of Seoul. Test results will come out in one to three days, officials said.
The first local infection from farms was found in late November after a hiatus of nearly three years.
By region, Gyeonggi Province surrounding Seoul accounted for 13, while South Jeolla Provinces took up 11.
The country has completed culling of 14.9 million poultry as of Friday. Birds within a 3-kilometer radius of infected farms are destroyed.
The number of infections from wild birds also continued to pile up, sparking further concerns over the further spread of the virus here.
Authorities have identified 60 cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza cases from wild birds since October. The caseload is anticipated to continue grow down the road as more migratory birds are expected to fly into South Korea over the winter.
Courtesy of koreaherald.com