According to official reports sent by the national veterinary authorities to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in the last 2 weeks, there have been new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry in Cambodia, Taiwan, India, Ghana and Italy.

Asia: Avian flu returns to Cambodia; more outbreaks in Taiwan, Indonesia

After a 5-month absence, HPAI was confirmed in a poultry flock of just over 500 birds in Kampot in the south of Cambodia earlier in May. Of these, 155 died and the rest have been destroyed.

HPAI of the H5N1 subtype has been reported in the Karnataka state in India. Starting on May 1, it affected a total of almost 143,000 poultry on farms in the Bidar district. According to the official report to the OIE on May 12, 8,200 birds died from the disease and a further 22,254 have been destroyed.

In January 2015, poultry in Taiwan were almost simultaneously hit by two forms of HPAI. Two farms have been confirmed with the H5N8 virus variant recently: the first was a flock of 1,936 geese in Tainan City, which had shown abnormal mortality (of more than 100 birds), and the other was a flock of 1,085 native chickens, which tested positive for the virus at the abattoir in Kaohsuing City.

In a different district of Tainan City, more than 3,500 chickens of a flock of 8,470 died within a short period. The presence of the H5N2 virus was confirmed. Focus Taiwan described the virus found as a new type.

After monitoring poultry for three months without detecting the H5N3 virus variant, Taiwan’s agriculture ministry reports the situation regarding this virus to be “resolved.”

Indonesia appears to be losing its decade-long battle against avian flu, according to a report this week in Jakarta Post. Ministry of Agriculture data point to 148 cases in the first 4 months of this year. With 123 cases reported for the whole of 2015, the situation appears to be worsening, which the Ministry’s director of animal health service attributes to a lack of public awareness, poor farm biosecurity and low immunity in the birds arising from the extreme weather linked to El Nino. The virus is causing most outbreaks in the regions of West Java and Lampung.

A month ago, Myanmar reported losses of 85,000 poultry in a series of related outbreaks of H5N1 in Monywa in the region of Sagaing. The latest report from the national veterinary authority report no new cases.


Second outbreak in Italy

An immediate notification to the OIE at the start of May confirmed an outbreak of HPAI in a free-range layer flock in the Portomaggiore district of Emilia-Romagna. Investigations revealed the H7N7 virus variant to be the cause.

Surveillance of nearby farms has now revealed the same virus at a farm with more than 49,000 growing turkeys in the same area.

Middle East and Africa

The first outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI were reported in Ghana in June of 2015. Four more farms were confirmed with the disease during April – two in Greater Accra and one each in Eastern and Central states. A total of almost 26,000 layers, pullets and broilers were affected, with 4,820 deaths and a further 21,153 birds destroyed.

Although no new outbreaks in Nigeria have been reported to OIE recently, United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has expressed concern that avian influenza is still circulating widely across the country and has reached “endemic proportions,” reports Daily Trust.

Within the last month, Leadership reported that the government had closed 92 poultry farms and ordered the slaughter of 190,000 birds in Plateau state in order to control the spread of the disease. Dr. Doris Bitrus, director of veterinary services in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture said the spread of the virus has been exacerbated by the absence of any scheme to compensate farmers whose birds contract the disease.

After one outbreak of HPAI in April, the authorities in Iraq have reported no further cases and they describe the situation as “resolved” in their latest report to the OIE.

H5N1 HPAI is the suspected cause of abnormal mortalities in village poultry in the Dakhalia region of northern Egypt late last month, reports monitoring service, FluTrackers.