With a further 65 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry reported by the Nigeria’s veterinary authority to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) over the last three weeks, Nigeria is the country worst affected by the disease at the present time.
Outbreaks confirmed with the H5N1 virus subtype have been widespread in the northern and central states of Kano, Plateau, Katsina, Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Benue and Federal Capital Territory, as well as the southern state of Edo.
The majority of the outbreaks and the birds affected have been layers and pullets, with losses amounting to more than 225,000 birds dead or destroyed to control the spread of the virus, which officials attribute to poor biosecurity.
Avian flu in Taiwan
Meanwhile, Taiwan has been battling two HPAI viruses and periodically detecting a low-pathogenic type since early in 2015. Over the last three weeks, H5N2 has been confirmed in seven outbreaks and H5N8 at a further two farms, affecting chickens (both native and modern breeds) and geese. More than 57,000 birds died or were destroyed, and a further 249,490 were affected when a low-pathogenic form of H5N2 was detected at a further 5 farms.
Avian influenza in China
Highly pathogenic H5N6 was first reported in China in September of 2014. Recent detections of the virus caused the death or destruction of more than 54,000 poultry at 2 farms in the provinces of Guizhou and Jianxi.
South African avian flu cases
In South Africa, the low-pathogenic H5N2 virus has been detected since August of 2014, mainly in commercial ostriches in Western Cape Province. In its latest report to the OIE covering the period December 2015 and January 2016, the veterinary authority reports the detection of the virus in a flock of 5,446 domestic ducks in Cape Town as well as at 4 commercial ostrich farms, two in Western Cape and two in Eastern Cape.
Avian flu situation in Europe
France has been battling HPAI in the waterfowl-rearing area in southwest portion of the country since December 2015.
Judging by the reporting of new outbreaks, the disease is being brought under control but there have been 2 new confirmed outbreaks over the last 3 weeks – at Arsagues and Montgaillard, both in the department of Landes – bringing the total to 76 . Almost 17,000 birds were affected after highly pathogenic H5N9 virus was detected at the farms earlier this month.
A government report on the most recent avian flu outbreak in the U.K. indicates that indirect contact with wild birds was the most likely source of the virus. Heavy rain prior to the estimated date of infection of the flock had caused water to collect in a temporary pond in the field next to the poultry houses, and wild ducks had been seen roosting there. The infected premises was a 40,000 broiler breeder laying unit near Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland. The birds were owned and managed as a stand-alone unit. They were housed in a barn style production system, and eggs for hatching were collected and delivered to a hatchery in Berwickshire, Scotland. The low-pathogenic H5N1 virus was of a conventional European lineage.
There have been no other cases of H5N1 identified to date in domestic poultry in the U.K.
Ghana’s avian flu control preparations delayed
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana are working together to control avian influenza and mitigate the risk of virus spread, reports Ghana Business News.
Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, deputy regional representative for Africa and FAO Representative to Ghana, said the project is a rapid response from FAO to a sudden-onset of the disease crisis linked to the resurgence of the disease since May 2015. Although there have been no confirmed cases since January 12, 2016, Ghana is still considered to be at risk because of recent outbreaks in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire and in Nigeria.
According to Project Coordinator, Dr. Eugene Yelfaanibe, the project is running 3 months late. It was due to finish in August this year.
Human avian influenza victims in Egypt, China
According to a recent report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there have been four human cases of influenza A (H5N1) in Egypt in recent weeks. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the country’s total for 2015 at 136 cases, 39 of whom died.
With another six new cases of influenza A (H7N9) in China and Hong Kong, the number of patients confirmed with the infection has reached 768, according to FluTrackers.
There has been a spate of human cases of H5N6 influenza in China, according to CIDRAP with the total currently standing at 10. The virus has been detected in poultry in other Asian countries but only in China have people been affected, and cases have been linked to wet markets.