Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chile: MOA Reports 2nd LPAI H7 Outbreak Near Valparaiso


Two weeks ago (see Chile Culling Turkeys Over H7 Avian Flu) we saw a large outbreak over LPAI H7 which required the culling of roughly 34,000 birds.  Low path H5 & H7 viruses are taken very seriously because they have the potential to mutate into HPAI strains, and so they are reportable to the OIE, and require immediate action to stamp out.

Today, Chile's SAG (Agriculture and Livestock Service) has announced a second turkey farm - which they describe as `directly related' to the first outbreak- has tested positive for the virus, and another 35,000 turkeys will  have to be destroyed. 

SAG diagnosed second turkey farm affected by avian influenza
January 18, 2017

Santiago, January 18, 2017.- The Agriculture and Livestock Service confirmed the diagnosis of avian influenza in a turkey farm second fattening Sopraval located in the El Melon district of Nogales, in the region of Valparaiso .

Although there has been no mortality in birds and only respiratory signs have been observed from January 16, they began to take steps to isolate the site and remove any presence of virus. According to research SAG, this new event is directly related to the focus identified two weeks ago in Quilpué, so that the above measures have simply been extended to the new zone.

The SAG took samples immediately after observed respiratory signs, which were analyzed in the official laboratory of the Service, confirmed Tuesday 17, the presence of avian influenza H7. According to history, it would be a low pathogenic virus, which is confirmed by the fact that there have been no bird deaths.

Along with the above, all protocols exist to prevent the spread of the virus biosafety were triggered, and the immediate slaughter of about 35,000 turkeys of the sector, the sanitary landfill in the same place and the implementation of actions determined disinfection.

Parallel additional monitoring plan started to every bird of the area to detect any leakage of the virus outside the farm. It should be noted that following the case detected in the commune of Quilpué, SAG has performed the sampling of all poultry farms and backyards of the affected area (over 8,000 samples to date), the results were all negative for the virus.

The effort to eliminate the focus quickly is because it is an exotic disease of importance to the health and production of domestic and wild birds. From the point of view of the health of the population, this event no risk, since the consumption of their meat and byproducts transmission is of no danger to people. Otherwise, all poultry farms in the country are monitored, the disease having negative results, confirming that domestic production is commercially maintains the highest standards of health worldwide.

Somewhat remarkably, with as much HPAI that has been reported around the world over the past 12 years, the OIE has no reports of highly pathogenic avian flu in South America (see OIE Map from Jan 2005-Present  below). 


OIE Notification: H5N8 Poultry Outbreak In Greece


In late December Greece reported finding H5N8 in a dead mute swan recovered in the northeastern part of the country, very near the Turkish border.   Today, Greece has notified the OIE of their first outbreak in poultry, on a farm with 28,000 caged laying hens in the south of the country, very near the capital of the  Peloponnese region, Tripoli.

China MOA/FAO: 99 Black Swans Killed By H5N8 In Hubei Province

Credit Wikipedia


When we talk about `black swan events', this isn't exactly what we have in mind, but it is still a worrisome event when China reports the sudden deaths of 99 black swans in Wuhan, the largest city in, and capital of Hubei, due to avian H5N8.

First a short notice from China's Ministry of Agriculture, followed by an equally brief FAO announcement, then I'll have a bit more.

Detection of avian influenza virus by dead black swan in Hanyang district, Wuhan city, Hubei province
Date: 2017-01-18 14:46

Recently, Hanyang District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, the breeding of black swans died, as of January 9, the cumulative death of 99 only. On January 16, the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory detected H5N8 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from samples of dead black swan samples submitted to Hubei for inspection.

At present, the veterinary department of Hubei Province has been in conjunction with the forestry sector in accordance with the relevant emergency plans and technical specifications requirements, and do a good job in emergency response work has been culling and harmless treatment of the swan 215. The investigation, the local birds were not found abnormalities.

The following notice was posted by the FAO this morning as well. 

We continue to see unusually high mortality in wild and migratory birds from both H5N6 and H5N8, compared to previous years.  During the six months during which H5N8 (and its reassorted offspring H5N2) decimated the US poultry industry (Dec 2014-June 2015), fewer than 100 dead or dying birds were found infected across the United States.

Reports from Korea during their initial outbreak during the winter and spring of 2014 indicated only limited wild bird die offs, and only a small number of infected birds were discovered in Europe the following winter. 
When H5N8 returned this fall to Europe, it produced scores of large die offs of migratory birds, including waterfowl which are normally fairly resistant to avian influenza, killing thousands of birds. A couple of weeks ago, in EID Journal: Reassorted HPAI H5N8 Clade - Germany 2016,
we looked at evolutionary changes in the virus that account for this increased virulence, with the authors writing:
A new reassortant influenza A(H5N8) virus is responsible for the recent HPAIV outbreak in Germany. The observed differences in pathogenicity for a broad spectrum of waterfowl compared with that of H5N8 viruses from 2014–2015 correlate with a new genome composition of these viruses. 
It will be of interest to see if these same (or at least similar) changes are found in viruses found in these black swans in Hebei, 7500 km away.

H7N9: Korean CDC Warns Travellers To China During Seollal


In China, the Lunar New Year Holiday is called Chunyun, or the Spring Festival travel season. What we usually call Chinese New Year's.  But this holiday is widely celebrated all across Asia.  In Vietnam it is called Tết Nguyên Đán or Feast of the First Morning.  Tết for short.

While in Korea it is called Seollal. But by whatever name, the lunar new year is the most important holiday in all of Asia.

Factories and businesses may close for a week or longer. It is an occasion for family gatherings, and sparks the largest human migration on earth as hundreds of millions of people leave the cities and travel to back their home towns (often on crowded trains and buses) for a traditional family dinner (usually chicken) .
It is also a perennial concern for epidemiologists who see this as a great opportunity for infectious diseases to spread quickly and widely. 
This year, with China's H7N9 epidemic arriving earlier, and with more force than we've seen before, there are heightened concerns, and many Health Ministries around the world are warning people planning to visit Mainland China to avoid exposure to live birds and farms, and to monitor their health carefully for up to 10 days after leaving.

Yesterday we saw the HK CHP Statement On The Spike In H7N9 Cases In Guangdong, which included extensive advice to travellers to the mainland, while Taiwan's CDC issued a similar statement yesterday called The recent surge in cases of H7N9 in mainland China, to remind people to local poultry should avoid contact with live poultry market access.

Today, it is South Korea's turn, with the following (translated) statement from their CDC, which points out that they see - on average - 32,000 people each day entering their country from China (either visiting or returning to Korea).
A number that no doubt goes up in the immediate aftermath of Seollal.

While exported H7N9 cases outside of Hong Kong and Macao have been rare (see H7N9 Confirmed In 2nd B.C. and  EID Journal: Avian Influenza (H7N9) Virus Infection in Chinese Tourist in Malaysia, 2014), they have occurred, and so for the next month or six weeks public health agencies around the world will be on heightened alert as millions of travelers return from visiting China. 

 AI (H7N9) when traveling to China

AI in China (H7N9) Poultry contact caution when traveling due to increased human infection
◇ Submission of health status questionnaire in China, 10 days after contact with poultry in China ☏1339 (Disease Control Center Call Center)
◇ Latter-day Seniors In case of foreign travel,
□ Due to the increased incidence of human cases of H7N9 * AI (bird flu) in China, the Disease Control Headquarters (head of the headquarters) is urging Chinese travelers to avoid contact with poultry during their travels and to protect themselves from handwashing .
* H7N9 type AI is different from H5N6 which is currently prevalent in domestic birds, and there was no large-scale epidemic or human infection in Korea
The number of human cases of AI (H7N9) in China has soared in recent years, a total of 140 persons * (37 deaths) since October 16, and has already exceeded the total number of patients (121) last season.
* Jiangsu Province (58), Zhejiang Province (23), Guangdong Province (22), Anhui Province (14), Jiangxi Province (7), Fujian Province (4), Guizhou Province and Hunan Province 3 persons), Shandong Province (2 persons), Shanghai, Sichuan Province, Hebei Province, Hubei Province (1 person)

○ Since the first case of AI (H7N9) human infection occurred in 2013, China is seasonally prevalent from October to April of next year, and it is expected that human cases will continue to occur for the time being.
□ In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Disease Control Headquarters is in charge of promoting SMS text messages for prevention and notification of AI human infection during departure from China tourists. Visitors arriving in AI-contaminated areas in China are monitoring surveillance and health status inquiries,
* Daily average entry from China: (aircraft) 25,956, (ship) 7,110

○ Polluted areas in China are designated on a regular basis according to the status of AI human infection, and information on contaminated areas is posted on the homepage of the Disease Control Division.
* As of January '17, there are 12 provinces and cities (Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian, Shanghai, Hunan, Anhui, Shandong, Beijing, Hebei, Hubei and Jiangxi) As the AI ​​incidence grows, it will include roughenedness and Sichuan.

○ In addition, according to the revised quarantine law when entering the country, if the health status questionnaire is not reported after visiting the contaminated area, the special fine of 7 million won will be applied through February 2009 .

○ In addition, the people traveling to China can get information on AI infection infections in China and information on prevention of infection in China from the 'International Travel Disease Information Center' on the 3rd floor of Incheon International Airport. .
□ If you are planning to travel overseas during the New Year's holidays, the Disease Control Center will be available at the mobile site ( and the Disease Control Headquarters website (http: //www.cdc.go) .kr), check infectious disease information at the travel destination, check whether the contaminated area is visited at the time of entry, prepare a health status questionnaire, submit it to the quarantine officer,

○ Within 10 days after contact with poultry in China, it was also requested to call ☏ 1339 (Disease Control Headquarters Call Center) when fever and respiratory symptoms occur.

France Expands Preventative Culling As HPAI Outbreaks Continue To Rise

Credit French MOA


Under normal circumstances culling of poultry is done when a flock either tests positive for an H5 or H7 avian flu virus, or displays symptoms consistent with infection. Less often prophylactic culls are performed on farms that lie very close to a known outbreak, or in facilities which have received poultry or eggs from a known infected source.

On January 4th, in response to four weeks of unrelenting outbreaks of H5N8 in France's Southwest,  France's MOA ordered a prophylactic cull of nearly all `healthy web-footed birds bred outdoors' in the three hardest hit departments (Gers, Landes, and Haute-Pyrenees).

At the time of that order, there were 95 H5N8 outbreaks on farms and 5 cases in wildlife confirmed.  Fast forward two weeks, and that number has jumped to 136 outbreaks on farms, and 9 detections in wildlife.

Yesterday, the French Government issued a decree expanding the size and scope of this preventative cull, adding 45 additional municipalities to the list.  First, some (translated) excerpts from a report on, after which I'll have the latest MOA update.

Bird flu preventive slaughter expanded to 45 towns

by Editor

There are now 232 municipalities that will undertake the preventive slaughter of waterfowl, to curb the avian flu H5N8. A decree fixes the list.

In total, 232 municipalities of 4 departments will shoot in preventing breeding waterfowl. Landes clearly dominate this enlargement, with 23 villages added to the list. In the Hautes-Pyrénées, Gers and Pyrenees-Atlantiques, ten municipalities were also targeted.

The expansion is necessary because the H5N8 strain continues to spread in France. At last count, 136 outbreaks were reported in farms in the country. The virus also circulates in wildlife, where eight outbreaks were reported - including Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Ain.
          (Continue . . . )

The French MOA is updating the numbers several times a week, and so the following numbers could easily be amended later today or tomorrow.

Avian Influenza: France in the home monitoring

17/01/2017 avian influenza
© Pascal Xicluna / Min.Agri.Fr

In France

Situation on January 17, 2017: 136 H5N8 outbreaks in farms and 8 cases in wildlife confirmed and communicated.

Learn more about the epidemiological surveillance Animal Health platform . 

List of homes in the departments

  • Landes: 37 homes
  • Tarn: 8 homes
  • Gers: 71 homes
  • Lot-et-Garonne: 7 homes
  • Hautes-Pyrénées: 6 homes
  • Pyrénées-Atlantiques: 3 homes
  • Aveyron: 2 homes
  • Deux-Sèvres: 3 homes
List of outbreaks in wildlife
Pas-de-Calais: 1 home
Haute-Savoie: 2 homes
Tarn: 2 homes
Channel: 1 home
Ain : 1 foyer
Lot et Garonne 1 home
Landes: 1 home

Uganda: MOA Statement On HPAI H5 At Lake Victoria

HPAI 2005-2017 - Credit OIE


As the map above depicts, in the 12 years since HPAI H5N1 broke out of Southeast Asia and began spreading internationally, reported outbreaks in Africa have been pretty much restricted to Egypt (which is under represented on this map), a small number of West African nations (Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, etc.), and a sprinkling of  less worrisome H5N2 outbreaks in South Africa
I say `reported' because, for many of these low resource nations, surveillance, testing and reporting of avian influenza outbreaks is either a low priority, or simply not practical (see The Challenge Of Avian Flu Surveillance In Sub-Saharan Africa).

Now that HPAI H5 has sparked a major wildlife die off on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, countries that have felt relatively isolated from the AI problem are now scrambling to deal with  what coulse pose a serious threat to their poultry industries, local economies, food security, and potentially to public health.

Neighboring countries are taking protective steps (see Deutsche Welle report Kenya, Rwanda ban Uganda poultry after bird flu outbreak), and yesterday the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture published a long statement on the outbreak, and their response.

While in part a reassuring political speech, this statement is refreshingly more detailed than what we usually get from local officials in Central Africa.

Speech for the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries during communication of outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in wild and domestic bird in Uganda 15th January 2017.

Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured to have this opportunity to inform you of an eminent catastrophe faces the people of our country.

My Ministry was on the 2nd January 2017 informed by Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) of a report of mass death of wild birds seen by fishermen at Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe. Another report was also received on 13th January 2017 from Masaka district.
UWEC communicated to Uganda Government Chemist and the Commissioner of Animal Health (CAH) of my Ministry.

My Ministry immediately sent a team to investigate the mass bird death together with a team from government chemist and UWEC.

The specimen unfortunately have turned positive to the very serious disease The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), that affects both humans and animals and which causes high number of deaths in both species.

Things that the public needs to immediately know are:
•    The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is commonly referred to as AVIAN FLU or AVIAN INFLUENZA;
•    This is the first time AVIAN FLU or AVIAN INFLUENZA breaks out in Uganda;
•    HPAI affects humans, birds and animals;
•    However, the species that are so far affected are white winged black tern birds and domestic ducks and chicken;
•    7 specimen of the white winged black tern birds have been collected from Lutembe beach and all the 7 are positive for the deadly disease;
•    2 specimen of feaces picked from the ground just dropped by birds flying away from Lutembe beach were also positive for HPAI;
•    5 domestic duck and 1 hen specimen were brought in from Masaka district were too are positive to HPAI;
•    Diagnosis was undertaken by the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) MAAIF;
•    Diagnosis was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) MOH;
•    There is a National Task Force (NTF) which is multi disciplinary with human and animal experts from government, agencies and NGO that is usually called upon to handle outbreaks of diseases that affect both humans and animals. The NTF is anchored at OPM and is co-chaired by MAAIF and MOH;
•    The NTF has experience and has competence to handle such outbreaks, and therefore the situation is under control;
Advice to the people:
•    Report any cases of mass birds, animal, both domestic and wild to any government authority nearest to you, but especially the veterinary authorities;
•    Report any cases of sickness or death of humans to the nearest human health facility (Hospital, clinic) or to the MOH;
•    Bird owners MUST house them, avoiding interaction between domestic and wild birds and animals;
•    People MUST not touch or eat wild birds or other wild animals that are found dead, they should instead report to the nearest veterinary authority.

What my Ministry is going to do
•    Together with MOH, UWEC, UWA, Districts and all other stakeholders will;
o    Immediately inform the public to avert any human catastrophe from human infections;
o    Calm the population through providing accurate information and facts about HPAI;
o    Intensify meetings and actions of the National Task Force on disease;
•    Continues with further investigations and prevention of spread of HPAI to domestic animals and possibly to humans;
•    Continue providing information to the public;
•    Plan to control HPAI in domestic animals and humans.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

This country is faced by looming catastrophe of an outbreak of HPAI currently in wild birds and has already affected some domestic birds in Masaka district;
I am calling up on all of us to actively participate by being alert of the situation and sharing this information. I also ask you to follow instructions as provided by professionals to save our people, poultry, animals and wild life.