OIE: Second avian influenza panzooic ongoing

In global animal disease terms, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is waning in its second global wave but it is estimated to have led to the loss of almost 120 million poultry. New outbreaks have been reported in Cambodia, India, Iraq, South Africa and Taiwan in the last week.

LuisaLeal Photography, Bigstock
LuisaLeal Photography, Bigstock

In global animal disease terms, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is waning in its second global wave but it is estimated to have led to the loss of almost 120 million head of poultry. New outbreaks have been reported in Cambodia, India, Iraq, South Africa and Taiwan in the last week.

Over the last 13 years, there have been two main global panzooics of avian influenza, according to the latest assessment by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Following the first panzooic wave that began in 2004, peaked in 2006, and gradually decreased to 2012, the current wave has run from 2013 to date and peaked in 2015. A total of 8.345 outbreaks linked to four virus subtypes occurred in poultry in 65 countries during the first wave. In the second wave (up to the end of January 2018), 12 virus subtypes were detected in 6,895 outbreaks in 68 countries.

In the period from 2013-17, almost 118 million domestic poultry were lost to HPAI by mortality or destruction, according to the OIE.

Asia: Only region reporting poultry losses in January

More than 565,000 poultry were lost to HPAI in the month of January 2018, according to the latest OIE assessment.

Among the countries worst affected is Taiwan, where the H5N2 subtype of the HPAI virus has been impacting the poultry sector for three years. More than 30,000 more birds have been lost to the disease in the four latest outbreaks reported by the agriculture ministry to the OIE. These included two flocks of native chickens in the counties of Pingtung and Yunlin, and breeding geese in Chiayi. In each case, the infected flocks have been destroyed, the farms cleaned and disinfected, and nearby poultry units will be subject to intensive surveillance for three months. The fourth outbreak was detected in native chickens at a slaughterhouse in Taichung, where the carcasses were destroyed and the plant was cleaned and disinfected.

In India, three dead crows have tested positive for the H5N1 HPAI virus in the municipality of Paradip in Odisha state in the east of the country. According to Pragativadi news service, culling of poultry in the area is underway to prevent further spread of the disease, and movements of chickens, ducks and their eggs within one kilometer of the epicenter have been halted.

India’s last official report of an HPAI outbreak was received by the OIE in January, and covered an H5N8 infection in a village poultry flock in central southern state of Karnataka.

There have been two further outbreaks of HPAI linked to the H5N8 virus variant in Iraq, bringing the country’s total to eight since January. At farms in the central governorates of Diyala and Baghdad, more than 95,000 poultry were lost to the disease.

Cambodia’s total number of H5N1 HPAI outbreaks has risen to seven. According to the latest report from the agriculture department to the OIE, the disease was detected in a backyard flock of 530 birds in the southeastern province of Prey Vang.

An open-ended ban on the movements of poultry has been imposed in the area, reported Phnom Penh Post.

Africa: Wild, domestic birds infected with HPAI in South Africa

The H5N8 HPAI virus variant has been detected in a small backyard poultry flock in Western Cape Province, as well as in a total of 13 wild birds at nine locations in the Eastern Cape, Cape Town and elsewhere in the Western Cape. Seven of the birds were penguins, and they bring the country’s total HPAI outbreaks linked to this virus subtype to 149.

Europe: More low-pathogenic avian flu detected in French poultry

French animal health agency reports to the OIE reveal the recent detection of two variants of low-pathogenic avian flu viruses in poultry as the result of intensive surveillance and checks on domestic waterfowl prior to movement. The H5N2 subtype was found in a flock of 600 breeding ducks in the northern department of Nord prior to their planned export to Switzerland. Three duck flocks—two in Gers in the south-west and one in Vendée in central France—tested positive for the H5N3 variant, and have been slaughtered.

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