New avian flu virus suspected in Taiwan’s poultry

Only Taiwan has officially recorded any new cases of the highly pathogenic form of avian flu in poultry during November. The disease has been ruled out as the cause of recent mass mortality of wild birds in India, and one province in Thailand has taken measures to prevent wild birds transmitting the virus to people and poultry.

(mashi_naz | Bigstock)
(mashi_naz | Bigstock)

Over the past two weeks, four new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed in Taiwanese poultry. At least two different HPAI viruses appear to be involved — possibly three.

First to be reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture was an HPAI virus of the H5 group. This was detected after the majority of a flock of 3,000 native chickens died at a farm in Puzi city in Chiayi county. Just over 100 of the birds survived the infection, and were destroyed.

This was the first HPAI outbreak in the county since July 2018. Local agencies are working to identify the virus type.

Another outbreak of HPAI linked to the H5N5 virus variant in Taiwan has been detected at a slaughterhouse in the capital, Taipei. This virus was identified after suspicious signs were observed in one of a group of 10 native chickens at the facility in Wanhua district.

According to the official report to the OIE, all the carcasses were destroyed, and the slaughterhouse was cleaned and disinfected. The authorities were tracing the birds to their farm of origin, which will be subject to further testing for signs of the disease.

Taiwan’s first cases of the H5N5 virus were in meat ducks in Kaohsiung city in early September. The virus was detected again later in the same month in native chickens at a farm in Pingtung country.

In a long-running battle to gain control of the H5N2 HPAI virus, there have been two more outbreaks in poultry. Affected were flocks of native chickens at farms in Yunlin county. They bring the county’s total outbreaks so far this year to 43.

At the end of October, 3,880 birds died out of a flock of 6,217 in Taixi. Around 100 chickens died at a farm with more than 13,300 birds in Baozhing in mid-November.

In both outbreaks, the Council of Agriculture reported that the remaining birds had been culled, and the farms had been cleaned and disinfected. Farms within three kilometers of each outbreak will be subject to intensive surveillance for the next three months.

Suspicious wild bird deaths in India

Avian flu has been ruled out as the cause of the mass death of wild birds in India, reports India Today.

About 1,000 birds have recently been found dead near Sambhar Lake. The saltwater lake is in Rajasthan, near to Jaipur. Samples have been taken, and sent to diagnostic labs to establish the cause of death. Remaining carcasses have been buried.

Thailand takes bird flu precautions

Authorities in Thailand have sprayed a large area of swamp with disinfectant, reports Bangkok Post.

Reason for the action is to prevent an outbreak of avian flu brought to the area by migratory birds. A large freshwater swamp in the central region, Bueng Boraphet is popular with tourists, and a center for poultry production in the area. Nearby wholesale and retail poultry markets have also been disinfected as a precaution.

Since August, no new human cases of influenza A linked to viruses of avian origin have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.

Page 1 of 176
Next Page