Avian flu returns to Mexico and Myanmar

Nineteen outbreaks of H7N3 avian influenza in Mexico have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) between January and March in the states of Jalisco, Puebla and Veracruz.

Photo by Andrea Gantz
Photo by Andrea Gantz

Nineteen outbreaks of H7N3 avian influenza in Mexico have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) between January and March in the states of Jalisco, Puebla and Veracruz.

One of the outbreaks was in a small flock of Indian peafowl and 3 others were in backyard flocks. However, the majority of outbreaks were in commercial flocks of layers or breeders with a total of more than 2.7 million birds affected. Of these, around 14,000 died and more than 145,000 had been destroyed.

Several of the affected farms were identified as the result of surveillance, which is continuing in all three states, according to the report.

Avian flu in Nigeria

Veterinary authorities in Nigeria have reported three new outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N1 virus subtype, which has been affecting the country since January 2015. With a total of more than 18,618 dead or destroyed, 2 farms and 1 backyard flock in the state of Plateau were affected.

Avian flu in Ghana

Fifty birds died and a further 250 were destroyed in the latest outbreak of HPAI in Ghana, according to News Ghana. The Veterinary Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) said it had disinfected the farm at New Takoradi, a suburb of Tarkwa in the Western Region. Eggs, unused feed and equipment at the farm were also destroyed.

Asian avian flu cases

Turning to Asia, Myanmar had been free of HPAI since February last year, but a so-far unidentified H5 virus has returned to the region of Sagaing in the center of the country. A flock of 500 10-month-old layers was affected, leading to the death or destruction of all the birds.

China’s news agency, Xinhua reports that the authorities in Myanmar have culled 7,000 chickens at 13 farms in the affected poultry farming zone in Monywa in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading further. A quarantine zone has been established and surveillance has been stepped up. No human infections have been reported so far.

Vietnam reported the loss of a village flock of 200 birds in the northerly province of Nghe An earlier this month. The presence of the H5N1 virus subtype has been confirmed.

Two new linked outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI have been reported following testing of native chickens received by a slaughterhouse in the southwestern city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan. The H2N2 virus was also confirmed in one of the flocks. Almost 1,300 birds were affected in total.

After abnormal mortality of 558 birds was observed in 2 flocks of breeding geese in Taibao city in Chiayi County, the H5N2 virus was confirmed and the surviving 3,000 birds have been destroyed.

Despite the recent mild weather that should have helped reduce the spread of HPAI, Focus Taiwan reports that 1,312 geese have been culled at a farm in Chiayi county in the last week after confirmation of a highly pathogenic H5 virus. This brings the number of Taiwanese poultry farms affected by HPAI so far this year to 27.

Avian influenza in Egypt

Although not all cases are reported to the international agencies, there is evidence from local reports covered by FluTrackers that HPAI outbreaks continue in Egypt. Earlier this month, there were reported to have been 67 outbreaks since the start of 2016 across 16 regions of the country. These included 43 domestic flocks, 18 markets and 6 farms. From Minya, a directorate on the Nile around 250 kilometers south of Cairo, come reports that the head of veterinary services has closed 25 poultry farms for at least 6 months as the owners refused to vaccinate their birds before they were sold to traders.

More human cases of avian influenza A in China

There have been a further 8 cases of influenza A (H7N9) in China since the start of April, bringing the total number of people affected to 778, according to FluTrackers. These include 6 deaths, and further cases of a mother and adult son admitted to hospital in Fujian province.

Between February 25 and April 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed about 1 person in a critical condition after being confirmed with H5N6 influenza from a live poultry market.

The same report outlines 4 new cases of H5N1 influenza in Egyptian patients, including 3 in young girls, who are all reported to have recovered, and a 70-year-old woman in Giza who was in a critical condition. 

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