Avian flu returns to China’s poultry sector
New cases are also reported in Taiwan, Myanmar, Italy, South Africa
After an absence of about 18 months, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) returned to the poultry sector in China.
Taiwan, Myanmar and Italy have also reported new outbreaks in their respective poultry sectors.
Asia: Avian flu returns to China, Myanmar, Taiwan
China’s first outbreak of HPAI caused by the H5N1 virus variant was reported almost three years ago, and after an absence of a year and a half, the virus has returned. According to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), around 15,000 birds died at a farm in Inner Mongolia last week. The remaining 66,500 were destroyed after the virus was identified. The source of the infection is unknown. The last outbreak was in the southern province in January of last year.
Myanmar’s veterinary authority has reported to the OIE a further outbreak of HPAI, also caused by the H5N1 virus. The latest cases were in a backyard flock of 29 village chickens in the Yangon region. Poor biosecurity, an illegal processing facility nearby, and the presence of wild birds have been identified as possible sources of the infection.
It appears that the initial outbreak in Myanmar – in late July in the region of Tanintharyi – was more widespread than first thought. The country’s animal health agency has amended its report to the OIE to cover a cluster of outbreaks at 27 layer farms, at which more than 25,500 birds died or have been destroyed.
On HPAI, there is some good news from Taiwan. The Council of Agriculture (COA) there reports that the state’s poultry sector is now free of the H5N6 virus, reports Focus Taiwan. Around 42,000 birds were culled as the result of infection by this virus variant at 12 farms. The last outbreak was in March this year.
COA is now focusing its efforts on the H5N2 and H5N8 viruses, which have been circulating in the poultry population for some time. The H5N2 virus was detected in a group of native chickens at a slaughterhouse in Kaohsiung city in mid-July, according to the latest report to the OIE.
Europe: More outbreaks in Italy
There have been two further confirmed outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 virus in Italy, bringing the total so far this year to 24.
According to the Italian health authority and research organization for animal health and food safety (IZSVe), the latest cases have been at farms in growing turkeys. First was in a flock of around 5,600 47-day-old birds in the Verona province of Veneto, and the second was in 26,500 97-day-old male birds in Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region. The latter was the location of a previous HPAI outbreak in February of this year.
The same virus has been detected in the wild bird population in Italy. Ten ducks found dead at a fishing pond in the province of Pavia in Lombardy tested positive for the virus, according to the OIE report.
Sweden’s animal health authority has declared the country is now free of HPAI to the OIE.
Africa: More HPAI in South Africa’s commercial flocks
There have been three new outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 HPAI virus at South African farms. All were in the province of Mpumalanga, which is the location of previous outbreaks and where the virus has been detected in wild birds. Two of the affected farms were small-scale, with 135 and 600 birds, but the third had almost 400,000 birds, around 300 of which died.