Avian flu returns to France, Togo
Virus had been absent from countries for several months
After an absence of several months, veterinary authorities in France and Togo report new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry flocks. There have also been further cases in poultry in Taiwan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in humans in China.
India has declared the country free of avian influenza.
Europe: HPAI returns to France
The H5N8 HPAI virus was detected last week in a backyard flock of around 350 birds at Brillon in the department of Nord, according to a French agriculture ministry report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The virus was confirmed after 150 of the birds died. The rest of the flock has been humanely destroyed.
This is the first HPAI outbreak in the country since mid-February, and brings the number of HPAI outbreaks there to 485. Nord is in the north of France, far from the south-west where previous cases occurred. Source of the infection is thought to be linked to the purchase of chicks and pigeons from nearby Tournai in Belgium, the focus for that country’s latest two outbreaks.
In the past week, there have been no reports of new HPAI outbreaks in Belgium or any other European country.
Africa: Togo, Congo report new outbreaks
After a break of more than six months, the veterinary authority of the West African state of Togo has reported one new outbreak of HPAI caused by the H5N1 variant to the OIE. One month ago, around 10 percent of the 35,000-bird commercial laying flock died in the Maritime region in the south of the country. More than 150 hens were destroyed but the fate of the rest of the flock is not reported.
OIE has received a report from the animal health agency in Congo in central Africa that there were nine outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI in early June, bringing the country’s total outbreaks since April this year to 23. Like previous outbreaks, these latest cases were in village flocks in the province of Ituri, which borders Lake Albert. The virus is thought to be spreading from wild birds in that area. Almost 6,300 chickens and ducks are reported to have died from these flocks to be infected.
More outbreaks in Taiwan; India free of virus
According to reports from its animal health agency to the OIE, Taiwan has confirmed another six outbreaks of HPAI linked to the H5N2 variant of the virus. The more than 53,000 poultry involved in the latest outbreaks include two flocks of native chickens in Yunlin county, ducks in Pingtung, and turkeys and geese in Tainan city.
A more recent report from Focus Taiwan adds a new outbreak among chickens at a farm in Taichung city brings the state’s total to 153 outbreaks so far this year, and the number of birds culled to more than 1.47 million.
India’s national agriculture ministry has reported to the OIE that the country has been free of avian influenza since June 6, reports Times of India. The announcement opens the possibility of the resumption of poultry product exports, which were halted following outbreaks in Delhi and the states of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Daman and Odisha between October of 2016 and February this year.
Six new human cases of H7N9 influenza in China
Latest figures from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) in Hong Kong put the total number of confirmed human cases of influenza A(H7N9) globally at 1,554. Of these, 748 cases have now been recorded in Mainland China since October 2016, six more than the previous week. Four of the latest cases were in the province of Yunnan, and one each in Guizhou and Shanxi.