Avian flu returns to Chinese poultry sector

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been reported in poultry in China’s Hunan province, but this will not impact business for a leading exporter of Thai poultry meat. The infection has returned to Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, and Poland has recorded a further outbreak on a farm. HPAI has been detected in a wild bird in Israel.

(Stokerplusss, Bigstock)
(Stokerplusss, Bigstock)

China’s agriculture ministry has reported a new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) linked to the H5N1 virus variant, reports The Straits Times. The disease led to the cull of 18,000 head of poultry at a farm in Shaoyang city in Hunan province during the past week.

The infection led to the deaths of 4,500 chickens, according to CCN.

China is among the Asian countries to have ongoing outbreaks of HPAI, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). China reported an outbreak of the disease linked to this virus variant in poultry in the northeastern province of Liaoning in April 2019r. The situation has not yet been officially declared to be “resolved.”

Also in China, the H5N6 HPAI virus has been detected in wild birds at three locations in Xinjiang province this year.

After the latest HPAI outbreak was reported in China, Vietnam’s agriculture ministry set out a warning to local authorities to put in place disease control measures. Vietnam News reported a statement from the agriculture minister saying that Hunan’s proximity presents a “very dangerous” risk to Vietnam’s 467 million poultry population.

CPF: Chinese HPAI outbreak “no threat” to its operations

The latest avian flu outbreak in China represents no threat to the operations of Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), reports Bangkok Post.

Chief executive of the Thailand-based poultry company, Prasit Boondoungprasert, expressed confidence that the Chinese authorities will contain the HPAI outbreak in Hunan. China has been dealing with avian flu for 10 years, he said, and vaccines and effective disease prevention measures are in place.

Its Chinese business currently contributes around 2% of CPF’s sales, according to Prasit. However, he said that the country offers great potential for Thailand to grow its poultry exports from the 70,000 metric tons (mt) achieved in 2019 to as much as 150,000mt this year.

Avian flu returns to Saudi Arabia, Vietnam

At the end of January, HPAI of the H5N8 subtype was detected as a farm in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the official report from the agriculture ministry to the OIE, 22,700 of the poultry at the farm died, and the rest of the flock — 385,000 birds — have been destroyed.

The source of the infection is unknown. The virus had not been detected in the kingdom since July of 2018.

Ministry officials have assured the public that the virus presents no risk to human health, reports Arab News. However, poultry farmers have been warned to be vigilant for signs of the disease in their flocks, and to put in place disease prevention measures.

Last known in November of 2019, the H5N6 HPAI virus has been detected again in Vietnam. In mid-January, around 2,200 birds died out of a village flock of around 3,000 poultry, according to the agriculture ministry’s latest report to the OIE. A further 300 birds were destroyed. The source of the infection is unknown.

The outbreak occurred in Quang Ninh province, which is in the far northeast of the country, and borders the People’s Republic of China.

Lunar New Year festivities and changes in weather could cause the disease to reappear, according to the head of the Department of Animal Health. Some localities have also missed poultry vaccinations, reported Vietnam News. During December, the Vietnamese government provided 4.5 million doses of avian flu vaccine for poultry.

New HPAI outbreak at Polish poultry farm

Poland’s agriculture ministry has reported to the OIE a further outbreak of HPAI linked to the H5N8 virus variant.

Infection was confirmed at a farm in the northeastern province of Warmia-Masuria on January 24 after more than 4,000 poultry died. The remaining birds—over 19,000—have been destroyed.

This brings the total number of outbreaks in Poland since the end of December to seven, and direct losses of poultry to over 114,000. Previous outbreaks were in central and western provinces.

India seals HPAI outbreak farm

Following confirmation of HPAI, the state government sealed the poultry farm at the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, reports Times of India.

All poultry at the site have been culled and buried. Production will be restricted for one year, and the premises will be disinfected every 15 days.

After the infection was confirmed, all poultry within one kilometer of the outbreak farm were destroyed. For the following month, sales of chickens and eggs in the infected area are prohibited. Surveillance of poultry within a radius of 10 kilometers has revealed no further cases, according to the report.

Israel reports HPAI in a wild bird

An eagle with neurological symptoms has tested positive for the H5N8 HPAI virus in Israel. Fitted with a transmitter, the bird is known to have been in the Jordan valley since entering Israel from Jordan on January 1, according to the official report to the OIE. HPAI was last detected in Israel in April of 2019.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.

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