Over the past week, local media reported that (highly pathogenic avian influenza) HPAI has returned to the Republic of Mali.

More than 312,000 poultry have been culled at farms in three areas of Koulikoro region in the west of the country. Surrounding the capital, Bamako, the region borders both Mauritania to the north, and the Republic of Guinea to the south.

According to Mali Actu, elevated mortality in the affected flocks was first observed in mid-March.

Authorities report that the disease situation is under control. The source of infection is uncertain, but may be related to the large number of cats on the affected farms.

Within the affected area of Kati, movements of all poultry have been halted as further investigations and control measures are ongoing.

In early 2021, there were five outbreaks of HPAI linked to the H5N1 virus serotype in Mali. These were officially reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Involving a total of 169,000 poultry, these were in Bamako, Koulikoro, and the neighboring region of Sikasso. Based on this source, the country had been free of HPAI since May of 2021. 

Further cases detected in West African states

By the end of March, more than 2 million poultry have been lost to HPAI in the current disease wave in Nigeria. According to Daily Trust, 391 farms in 22 states have been affected by the disease. While mortalities have passed 388,000 birds, over 1.84 million more have been culled to reduce the risk of further spread.

For lost flocks, only poor farmers with fewer than 3,000 poultry receive financial compensation for their losses, this source reports. While the owner bear 25% of the value of the destroyed birds and/or poultry products, the federal government pays 50%, and the balance is covered by the local government. However, affected farmers report many claims are refused due to a lack of certification over the premises’ biosecurity standards, and others complain of long delays in receiving their pay-out. As a result, this source reports many owners are reluctant to report suspected cases, and instead send potentially infected poultry to market.

Among larger farmers in Nigeria, there is reported to be a widespread lack of trust in private insurance schemes.

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In neighboring Niger, there have been nine further HPAI outbreaks in poultry. Most recent cases were in February of this year, according to the latest update on the HPAI situation in Africa from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

Affecting various domestic poultry, these bring to 14 the country’s total reported HPAI outbreaks since October of last year.

The latest outbreaks include the first in the regions of Dosso and Maradi, which are in the south-west and south of the country, respectively. These bring to five the number of regions with reported cases in poultry so far. 

One new HPAI outbreak in South African poultry

Over the past month, South Africa’s veterinary agency has officially confirmed just one new HPAI outbreak in poultry.

According to the notification to the OIE, the H5N1 virus serotype was detected on a farm with 175 poultry in Ekurhuleni. Around half of the birds died. This city municipality is in the province of Gauteng, and there have been previous outbreaks in this area.

Latest cases bring the total outbreaks for this region to 86 since March of 2021. More than 4.54 million poultry have been directly impacted through mortality or culling.

Around the same time, 270 additional poultry were involved in another outbreak near Ladysmith (Emnambithi) in KwaZulu-Natal.

As well as these cases in poultry, six more wild birds in South Africa have tested positive for the H5N1 virus. These have been registering with the OIE since the end of March.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.