Mexico, Vietnam report new avian flu outbreaks

Further cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been reported in poultry in Mexico and Vietnam, and an unusual avian flu virus type has been detected on farms in Belgium.

(sharafmaksumov | Bigstock)
(sharafmaksumov | Bigstock)

Further cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been reported in poultry in Mexico and Vietnam, and an unusual avian flu virus type has been detected on farms in Belgium.

There were five outbreaks linked to the H7N3 virus variant in Mexico between April 24 and May 7, according to the latest report from the country’s animal health agency, Senasica, to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Affected were four small backyard flocks in the states of Queretaro, Guerrero, and Tlaxcala, and a farm with 2,000 laying hens in Queretaro. Surveillance identified one of the backyard flocks before there were signs of the disease, but there were mortalities, and symptoms of cyanosis and edema in the combs and wattles of poultry at the other locations. Of the 2,107 birds involved in these outbreaks, 1,266 died and 41 have been culled to control the further spread of the virus.

These outbreaks bring Mexico’s total outbreaks reported since March to 11, affecting more than 144,000 poultry in seven states/regions. Among these were birds at two premises described as “farms.”

New outbreak in Vietnam

HPAI caused by the H5N1 virus variant has returned to Vietnam after an absence of less than two months. Starting in the first week of May, the latest outbreak was among a flock of 1,120 village birds in the province of Hau Giang, which is in the southern region of the Mekong River Delta. All the birds have been destroyed.

Disease cases resolved in Vietnam, Russia

Following just one outbreak of HPAI caused by an H5N6 virus in a central province earlier this year, Vietnam’s agriculture ministry has declared that disease situation “resolved” to the OIE.

Russia’s agriculture ministry has informed OIE that a series of HPAI outbreaks has also ended. The H5N8 subtype had been detected at a number of locations since June of last year, but no cases have been reported since an outbreak at a large turkey farm in Rostov oblast in January.

Avian flu situation in Belgium

Over the past few weeks, an avian influenza virus has been detected at 35 poultry farms in Belgium, according to the provincial department of agriculture. Most of the farms are in West Flanders, the country’s most western province bordering the North Sea.

Symptoms have ranged from a drop in production to mortality, so affected birds have been culled, and farmers will receive financial compensation.

The virus detected is an H3 type, which is “harmless to human health,” and it is not a notifiable disease, according to the department.

Influenza awareness campaigns in Nepal

Following the death of the first human victim of avian influenza A (H5N1) in Nepal in March, the authorities are to launch an awareness campaign for local people, reports The Himalayan Times.

“We’ll tell people there’s no risk of being infected if well-cooked chicken is consumed,” said the head of the health center for Kavre district. “We will also tell them how to process and cook chicken to make sure that the meat is safe.”

The center’s team has already visited many of the 350 poultry farms in the district, spraying disinfectant, and providing information on how they can stay safe from the disease.

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