Over the past two weeks, further cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been reported on poultry farms in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Since mid-January, the animal health agency of South Korea has officially recorded four more outbreaks of HPAI in poultry.
Based on notifications to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), two were linked to H5N1 virus serotype and three to H5N6. Outbreaks started January 3-16.
Testing positive for the H5N1 variant were a flock of 32,500 poultry in the most southwestern province of South Jeolla, and in more than 257,200 birds in Gyeonggi in the northwest. At premises with 239,000 poultry in South Chungcheong, 367,200 in North Gyeongsang and 670 birds in Gwangju city, the H5N6 virus was detected. These provinces are located in the west and east of South Korea, respectively, and the city is in the southwest. .
These brought to 30 the nation’s total of HPAI outbreaks on commercial farms since early December 2023. So far, more than 2.04 million poultry have been directly impacted in these outbreaks.
Since the latest report to WOAH, South Korea’s agriculture ministry has announced a further outbreak. Last week in South Jeolla, a flock of around 10,000 ducks tested positive for an HPAI virus of the H5 group, according to this source.
Of the confirmed outbreaks in the latest HPAI wave, 13 have affected duck farms, 15 were in laying hens and two in broiler breeders.
4 further outbreaks on Taiwanese farms
To WOAH, the territory’s veterinary authority has recently confirmed three HPAI outbreaks linked to the H5N1 virus serotype. These bring Taiwan’s total since November 2023 to five outbreaks, impacting almost 64,000 commercial poultry.
The latest outbreaks commenced during December, and affected two flocks of breeding geese and a farm with native chickens. The premises were in different districts — one in each of the counties of Miaoli and Chiayi, and one in Tainan city.
Since the WOAH notification was submitted, Focus Taiwan has reported a further outbreak. This resulted in the culling of 1,477 geese in Dongshih township.
With this outbreak within 1km of an earlier one, officials have warned poultry owners of the ongoing and relatively high risk from infected migratory birds.
HPAI cases elsewhere in Asian poultry flocks
A further confirmed outbreak in Cambodia brings the nation’s total to six since November.
According to the latest WOAH report, presence of the H5N1 virus variant was detected in backyard flocks in two adjacent villages in the second week of January. A total of 679 poultry were involved, including 479 birds that died, in Kandal province. This is located in the south of the country, around the capital, Phnom Penh.
In recent days, Japan’s agriculture ministry has reported a suspected HPAI outbreak in a small flock of 23 birds in Hofu. The city is located in Yamaguchi prefecture, which is past of the Chugoku region in the west of Honshu, Japan’s largest island.
Of the five latest HPAI cases among the wild bird population of Japan, two tested positive for the H5N5 virus variant, and three for H5N1, according to WOAH reports.
Latest human cases confirmed in Cambodia, China
Earlier this month, one human infections with the avian influenza A(H5N6) was confirmed in a 59-year-old woman in Ziyang city in China’s Sichuan province, according to the Centre of Health Protection — part of the government of Hong Kong. Her symptoms began November 25, and she was admitted to hospital in a serious condition four days later. The patient had previously visited a love poultry market. This was the eighth infection with this virus in China in 2023, and it brought the total since 2014 to 89.
Meanwhile, Cambodia has registered its first human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) in 2024. The patient is a 3-year-old boy in Prey Veng province, reports VietnamPlus.
Cases in poultry have been confirmed in that province and others to WOAH in recent weeks.
View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.