Israel reports return of avian flu to poultry sector

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus has been detected in a commercial turkey flock in Israel for the first time in more than two years, while a low-pathogenic form of the virus has been found in poultry in the Dominican Republic and the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Iowa Turkey Federation
Photo courtesy of Iowa Turkey Federation

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus has been detected in a commercial turkey flock in Israel for the first time in more than two years, while a low-pathogenic form of the virus has been found in poultry in the Dominican Republic and the U.S.

An HPAI virus of the H5N8 subtype was detected last week in a flock of 17-week-old turkeys in Israel. According to the official report from the agriculture ministry to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the infection was confirmed after around 200 turkeys died of the 13,500-bird flock at Ma’ale Gilboa in Hazafon (also known as the Northern District). Mortality reached around 30 percent in one-quarter of one of the six pens, but the whole population was culled to reduce the risk of further spread of the disease.

HPAI was last detected in Israel in February of 2017, according to the OIE report.

There have been sporadic outbreaks of the disease in the country over the years, reported Times of Israel, with hundreds of thousands of poultry culled to stop the spread of the disease. The poultry industry in the south of the country almost collapsed following a series of outbreaks in 2006.

Taiwan has been battling the H5N2 variant of HPAI for more than four years, and the Council of Agriculture has informed OIE about a further two outbreaks last week. During the second week of April, carcasses of 720 native chickens were destroyed at a slaughterhouse in Pitou in the county of Changhua after suspicious signs were seen in one bird and a further 43 were found to be infected with the virus. Almost 23,000 native chickens were culled at a farm at Dongshi in Yunlin county after HPAI virus tests proved positive following a spike in mortality.

Animal health agencies in Cambodia, Iran, and Iraq have reported to the OIE in the last week that there have been no new HPAI outbreaks in their respective countries.

Return of low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses to North America

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic has reported to the OIE that an LPAI virus of the H5N2 subtype was detected at seven locations in the northerly province of Espaillat between December 30, 2018, and January 22, 2019. Six of the seven outbreaks were in the provincial capital, Moca. Over 178,000 poultry of different types from backyards, family farms and commercial units were involved in these outbreaks. Almost 3,000 of the birds died, but the fate of the rest is not reported.

In November of 2018, a virus of the same type was detected at a farm in the neighboring province of Puerto Plata, according to an OIE report at that time.

In the U.S., an LPAI virus of an H5 sub-group was detected in mid-April in a flock of almost 9,500 breeding ducks in Monterey County, California. The virus was found as the result of routine surveillance, according to the U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA), and no birds had shown signs of disease.

Bird flu kills endangered wild birds in Namibia

HPAI has killed at least 450 African penguins on three islands off the coast of Namibia in southern Africa, reports Mongabay. There are no poultry farms in the area.

The virus — an H5N8 variant — is thought to have been brought in February by migrating birds from South Africa to the islands, which are home to 96 percent of Namibia’s population of this endangered penguin species. The disease appears to be abating, but scientists are concerned that over-fishing and climate change will make the colony’s recovery more difficult.

Page 1 of 174
Next Page