Friday, December 02, 2016

Taiwan Detects Environmental LPAI H5 & H7 Viruses In Local Wetlands


The same migratory flyway that is funneling avian H5N6 to South Korea, Japan, and points south also passes over Taiwan, which is the over-wintering home for thousands of migratory birds. 
In early 2015, shortly after H5N8 jumped from South Korea to Japan, it made its way to Taiwan. Very quickly it reassorted into several new subtypes (H5N2, H5N3, etc.) and they have plagued their poultry industry since then. 

Given their past experiences, and the very real possibility that H5N6 could one day arrive on their shores, Taiwan's COA (Council of Agriculture) takes surveillance for all types of avian flu very seriously.

Today Taiwan’s BAPHIQ (Bureau of Animal Plant Health Inspection & Quarantine) has announced the detection of several LPAI avian viruses in environment samples (bird feces) collected from local wetlands.

While not as concerning as HPAI H5N6, these low path viruses are nonetheless a potential threat to their poultry industry, and could conceivably provide additional genetic building blocks for the creation of new viral reassortants. 
The machine translation is a by syntax challenged, but the gist is LPAI viruses (H5N3, H7N7 and H7N8) have been detected in samples taken from four wetlands around Yilan and Tainan. 

LPAI viruses are quite common in wild birds, cause little illness, and only rarely death.  They are not considered to be a serious health to public health. The concern is (particularly with H5 & H7 strains) that LPAI viruses have the potential to mutate into HPAI strains, and so they are watched carefully.

Local poultry operations are being advised to increase their biosecurity measures.

Enhanced monitoring of low pathogenic H5 and H7 subtype avian influenza virus in wetlands of Yilan and ducks in Tainan four wetlands

Administrative hospital agricultural Committee flora and fauna epidemic prevention quarantine Council (referred to anti-check Council) this (2) day said, administrative hospital agricultural Committee livestock health test by (referred to livestock Wei by)
Yesterday (1) day notification, Yu Tainan four grass wetland collection duck section migratory birds row left sample, check out H7N7 Asia type and the H5N3 Asia type two strains avian influenza virus, another Yu Ilan Shi wet to collection duck section row left is separation to H7N7 Asia type and the H7N8 Asia type two strains avian influenza virus, 
Day initiated by the local animal epidemic prevention authorities wetland sampling and disinfection and epidemic prevention measures and inspections of poultry farms around visit, now epidemic prevention organs in accordance with procedure 1 a month implementation to strengthen the monitoring of mining inspection frequency for 3 months, after making sure that no virus response, before lifting the wetlands regional monitoring measures. 
Analysis of animal health in the detection of viruses, none highly pathogenic characteristics. The 104 years, the Bureau said in the waiting list for (wild) bird inspection examination of 15 cases of H5 and H7 subtypes of avian influenza, (105) 10 pieces were detected so far.
Global warming trend in the bird flu outbreak, called on the poultry industry must implement poultry farm biosecurity, strengthen avian influenza
Anti-check Council stressed, recently Europe, and Asia more country gradually occurred avian influenza outbreak, outbreak sharply warming, Taiwan bit at migratory birds North must pass through, occurred avian influenza risk high, near national Korea, and Japan also Yu recently poultry field also occurred high disease original sex case, value avian influenza good sent season, calls for industry who do not lightly,
Please immediately strengthening birdhouse anti-bird facilities, avoid poultry and waiting (wild) bird contact, and match access tube ban, and personnel, and vehicles, and devices access disinfection, job, only has soft, and Hardware biosecurity synchronous lifting can be effective in preventing flu and the spread of the virus, the Council also called on the industry to avoid visiting the area poultry farm visits, nor invite the practitioners on domestic poultry farms of area visits together to prevent disease invasion.

Kuwait: Another Thunderstorm Asthma Outbreak?


Two weeks ago Melbourne Australia was hit by the worst outbreak of `Thunderstorm Asthma' on record, with 8,500 people requiring medical assistance, and resulting in 8 deaths.  

As more storms lash the region, reports:

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy likened the state’s asthma crisis to “150 bombs going off at once”. She said emergency services were not prepared to respond to an extreme weather event of that scale as the death toll reached eight people, with another patient still in a critical condition following the storm on Monday last week. “We’ve just never encountered anything of the scale and the scope (of that),” she said.

While rare, and poorly understood, the phenomenon was first recognized in the 1980s. A 2013 article in the QMJ describes it as:

Thunderstorm asthma: an overview of the evidence base and implications for public health advice.


Thunderstorm asthma is a term used to describe an observed increase in acute bronchospasm cases following the occurrence of thunderstorms in the local vicinity. The roles of accompanying meteorological features and aeroallergens, such as pollen grains and fungal spores, have been studied in an effort to explain why thunderstorm asthma does not accompany all thunderstorms. 

Despite published evidence being limited and highly variable in quality due to thunderstorm asthma being a rare event, this article reviews this evidence in relation to the role of aeroallergens, meteorological features and the impact of thunderstorm asthma on health services.
This review has found that several thunderstorm asthma events have had significant impacts on individuals' health and health services with a range of different aeroallergens identified. This review also makes recommendations for future public health advice relating to thunderstorm asthma on the basis of this identified evidence.

Today, there are multiple media reports in the Arabic press of a remarkably similar event in Kuwait, with 5 deaths reported over the past couple of days, and hundreds of people hospitalized concurrent with the arrival of gusty thunderstorms. 

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health website appears to be offline, so we don't have access to the official statement, but the following KUNA media reports quotes the MOH. 

You'll also denials by local health officials of rumors circulating in social media that some of these hospitalizations are due to a viral cause. 

(Health) Kuwait: 5 deaths Balummen past emergencies for patients with asthma suffer from suffocation, difficulty breathing

Kuwait - 1-12 (KUNA) - Undersecretary of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health, Dr. Khalid Al-Sahlawi said that the country's hospitals and five deaths were recorded during the past two days due to emergency cases of patients with asthma were suffering from suffocation and breathing difficulties.

He Sahlawi in a press statement Friday that the 844 emergency entered into the country's hospitals during the past two days died, including five cases, three of which in Mubarak Hospital and two at the Amiri Hospital while entered the 26 cases in intensive care and 45 cases to the wings with out the rest of the cases after receiving the necessary treatment.

He explained that the sections of accidents in hospitals declared a state of emergency and prepare to receive critical situations and make the necessary first aid and called for emergency contact numbers in case of any emergency through the 112 ambulance and 151 medical consultations.

For its part denied the metropolitan area health director Dr. Fatima Alasumi in a similar statement the truth of what has been handled through the means of social communication of warnings about the closure of ground floor and the first of the Amiri Hospital because of a viral infection.

She said that what is traded is totally indicating that the current season is the seasonal flu season has nothing to do what is traded in the means of social communication.

(Continue . . . )

Saudi MOH Announces 3 Primary MERS Cases




After going two days without a report, the Saudi MOH is back with 3 new MERS cases, 2 with direct contact with camels, and 1 with no known exposure risk.

While the number of MERS cases is down this fall, this makes 9 cases reported by Saudi Arabia over the past 6 days.


Japan: H5N6 Spreading Rapidly Via Migratory Birds


Similar to what we are seeing with H5N8 in Europe and the Middle East, HPAI H5N6 has aggressively taken wing in both South Korea and Japan, and is showing up both in migratory birds and farmed poultry.
Japan's Ministry of Environment handles the non-farm detections of the virus (wild birds & environment), and their Information about the highly pathogenic avian influenza web page has been updated almost daily since H5N6 arrived in Japan in mid-November.
Overnight that website has undergone a major transformation, with reports re-organized, a back filling of data, and the addition of eight  new reports in the past 24 hours.

It should be noted that not all of these reports have been validated as being due to H5N6.  Some are simply Influenza A positive in field tests, and additional testing will be needed to determine the subtype. 
Newly added prefectures to the AI list include Fukushima, Hyogo, Miyagi, Iwate, and Ibaraki. 

As in Europe, reports are coming in almost hourly, and any listing is already outdated before it can be published.
While it is possible that we are seeing increased vigilance and reporting bias in Japan and South Korea (and in Europe with H5N8), we've not seen this level of wild bird deaths reported previously. 
China, where both of these viruses emerged in 2014, has never reported much in the way of `real-time' wild bird surveillance, and over the past two years has become less open in their reporting on avian influenza in general. 

Our history with H5N8 outside of China is considerably broader than H5N6, and as I wrote a couple of weeks ago in Europe: Unusual Mortality Among WIld Birds From H5N8, its arrival and spread in North America over the winter of 2014-15 was notable for its dearth of wild bird mortality events.

Exactly why H5N6 and H5N8 appear to be spreading faster, farther, and with more virulence than we've seen before is  - as yet - unknown.

But neither virus appears to be slowing down, and so regions and countries that have not yet been visited need to be alert to the possibility they could be next.

France MOA: H5N8 Confirmed In Duck Farm In Tarn


Yesterday there were scattered reports of a duck die off at a farm in Southwest France, and this morning the MOA announced that HPAI H5N8 has been confirmed.  Media reports indicate the die off began on Sunday.

This confirmation comes only 4 days after the virus was confirmed in dead wild birds near Calais, in the north of the country. 

A rather succinct report has just been posted on the French Agricultural Ministry website (see below).

Situation 2 December 2016: a case detected in a duck farm

Following the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 outbreak on 1 December 2016 in the town of Almayrac Tarn, management measures were immediately implemented. 

Learn more about the epidemiological surveillance Animal Health platform .

List of outbreaks on farms

Tarn: 1 home

A highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed on 1 December 2016 on a farm duck in the Tarn (town of Almayrac). Among the 5,000 ducks that involved the exploitation, 2000 ducks died.

List of outbreaks in wildlife 

Pas-de-Calais: 1 home
On November 26, a first case H5N8 was confirmed in the municipality of Marck (Pas-de-Calais) on 20 wild ducks used as decoys for hunting waterfowl.

France's poultry industry - particularly those in the southern region - have been plagued with both LPAI and HPAI outbreaks over the past 12 months from five recently emerged European lineage H5 viruses (see DEFRA: Update On HPAI & LPAI Avian Flu Outbreaks in France).

While those outbreaks diminished over the summer, the arrival of HPAI H5N8 - which has proven itself to be unusually virulent in birds - threatens an already battered industry. 

Meanwhile, H5N8 continues to spread across Europe, the Middle East, and is making inroads into Africa.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Tunisia: OIE Notification Of HPAI H5 In WIld Birds



There's been a cryptic report in the Tunisian press today about the closure to the public of a local bird sanctuary, which is cleared up by the following notification from the OIE of HPAI H5 found in Eurasian wigeons (Anas Penelope) and common coots found dead at the Ichkeul Natural Park.
The subtype is not listed, but as everything else we've seen this fall in Europe, it is likely H5N8.   
Tunisia lies under the main migratory flyway that runs from Europe to Africa. Today's report highlights the risks that we could see the virus spread across North Africa and into West Africa, where H5N1 is already well entrenched.

Epidemiological comments
- Tunisia is located in the main migratory corridor for wild birds going to Africa from Europe during winter migration. Migration is ongoing and this viral strain must have been carried over by migrating birds. - According to the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, article 10.4.1, provision 8, this outbreak does not modify the sanitary status of the country as affected birds are wild and thus are not included in the OIE definition of poultry. - A 3-km protection zone and a 10-km surveillance zone were implemented. There is no industrial poultry farm within the protection zone, and eight broiler farms within the surveillance zone. - Surveillance measures strengthened within the surveillance zone and the whole country. - Access to Ichkeul Natural Park was suspended.