Over the past 10 days, two new highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks have been confirmed in South Korea — both in commercial duck flocks.

 

The presence of the H5N8 virus variant was confirmed firstly at Jangheung and then at Naju, reports the Yonhap news agency. Both are located in South Jeolla province, which accounts for 20 of South Korea’s 108 confirmed HPAI outbreaks since November of 2020. With 37 outbreaks, the worst affected province has been Gyeonggi, which surrounds the capital city, Seoul, in the northwest of the country.

 

Latest update from the same source puts the number of poultry culled to control the disease at 29.8 million. Among wild birds, 229 have so far tested positive for the same virus.

 

Heavy avian flu-related poultry losses through culling and mortality have pushed up prices for consumers. Year-on-year, egg prices are still more than 43% higher, and chicken costs 7.3% more. 

 

Second H5N2 outbreak in Taiwanese poultry flock

 

Over the past week, Taiwan’s animal health agency has officially registered one HPAI outbreak to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). 

 

A flock of around 500 meat geese tested positive for the H5N2 HPAI virus variant during the third week of January, according to the report. The affected farm was located in the Alian district of Kaohsiung city municipality. 

 

The territory’s only previous confirmed outbreak linked to this virus was in August of 2020, when it was detected in a commercial flock of native chickens in Yunlin county. 

 

Fears of new outbreak of avian flu in northern India

 

In recent days, local media have reported a resurgence of fears about HPAI returning to the country’s poultry flocks. 

 

This follows the discovery of a mass mortality of migratory wild birds at an area of wetland in Himachal Pradesh. India Times  puts the number of dead birds at 27. 

 

No new cases reported in Afghanistan or Japan

 

Over the past week, Afghanistan’s veterinary authority has reported no new outbreaks of HPAI to the OIE. In early February, one outbreak linked to the H5N8 virus variant occurred at a broiler farm in Kushk. Located in Herat province in northwestern Afghanistan, this district borders Turkmenistan. 

 

In Japan, the total number of HPAI outbreaks for this winter season remains at 52. No new cases have been confirmed by the agriculture ministry  over the past week. The most recent outbreak was at a chicken farm in Tochigi prefecture in mid-March.

 

Niger registers additional HPAI outbreak

 

A third outbreak of HPAI linked to the H5N1 virus variant has been confirmed in the West African state. 

Advertisement

 

According to the official report to the OIE, the virus was detected at a farm in Niamey township 4 two weeks ago. Of the 30,000 birds at the farm — 12,000 chickens and 18,000 laying hens — around 27,000 died. The rest of the flock has been destroyed. 

 

At around that time, local media reported that more than 181,300 poultry had been culled in Niger within a period of one month.

 

This latest outbreak brings the country’s total to three outbreaks since mid-February, based on official reports to the OIE. All located near to the capital, Niamey, these involved a total of 58,350 poultry in the first HPAI outbreaks in the country since September of 2017.

 

More than 53,000 poultry lost to avian flu in Nigeria

 

Another avian flu outbreak has hit the central Nigerian state of Niger, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. It reports the loss of more than 53,000 poultry in one village in the Tafa district.

 

Mortalities gradually mounted up among clusters of chickens around Choma. Subsequent tests showed the presence of HPAI. Workers at the affected farms have lost their jobs, while the infected premises have been disinfected.

 

Since January of this year, the Nigerian animal health authority has registered with the OIE four outbreaks of HPAI linked to the H5N1 HPAI virus in other central states — namely Nassarawa, Kano, Plateau, and Bauchi. These outbreaks directly impacted almost 14,000 poultry.

 

South Africa registers no new avian flu outbreaks

 

In the past week, South Africa’s animal health authority has confirmed to the OIE that there have been no recent outbreaks of avian flu in the country.

 

Latest reports relate to the presence of a low pathogenic avian influenza virus of the H5N2 subtype in commercial ostriches, and the H5N8 HPAI variant in wild birds. The most recent cases registered for the two viruses were August of 2020 and July of 2019, respectively. 

 

New human case of avian influenza A in China

 

China has reported one new case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N6) to the World Health Organization. A 50-year-old man, the patient was from Hechi in Guangxi province. In mid-February, he was hospitalized with severe respiratory symptoms, and he died in early of March. 

 

The case brings to 30 the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with influenza A(H5N6) virus reported to WHO from China since 2014. It is the fourth such case so far in 2021.

 

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.