Czechs report first poultry H5N1 outbreak

Jun 21, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in the Czech Republic today confirmed the country's first H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in poultry, while Vietnamese officials announced the death of another human H5N1 patient, the country's second in 2 weeks.

Josef Vitasek, a Czech veterinary official, said the virus infected nearly 2,000 turkeys in a 6,000-bird flock near the village of Tisova in the eastern part of the country, according to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) report. He said the remaining birds would be culled today and that authorities have imposed 3- and 10-km security zones around the farm.

Czech News Agency reported that none of the turkeys from the farm have been distributed to retail outlets, according to a Reuters report today.

The turkey outbreak marks the second confirmed appearance of H5N1 in the Czech Republic. In the spring of 2006, 12 wild swans tested positive for the disease, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The dead swans were tested as part of a national surveillance program, according to the report. The country has never had a confirmed human H5N1 case.

Europe's last H5N1 outbreak occurred in February at a British turkey farm. Agriculture officials said that outbreak was probably linked to an earlier outbreak in Hungarian turkeys.

Also today, health officials in Vietnam said a 28-year-old woman died of an H5N1 infection, according to the Associated Press (AP). In view of previous news reports, the woman appears to be one of the two recent H5N1 case-patients announced by Vietnam on Jun 12. The woman, from Ha Nam province, about 37 miles south of Hanoi, was previously reported to be in critical condition at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.

Nguyen Hong Ha, deputy hospital director, told the AP that she died today after 13 days in the hospital. The woman had had contact with sick poultry, the AP report said.

With the woman's death, Vietnam's apparent H5N1 human toll is 98 cases with 44 deaths. The World Health Organization has not yet confirmed 5 cases, including 2 fatal ones, reported by Vietnam in recent weeks, so the WHO count for Vietnam remains at 93 cases with 42 deaths.

The 20-year-old man who was announced on Jun 16 as Vietnam's most recent H5N1 fatality was from Ha Tay province, one of 18 Vietnamese provinces affected by a recent spate of poultry outbreaks, mostly in duck flocks, the AP report said.

In other news, agriculture officials in Ghana said the H5N1 virus has been confirmed in poultry in the Volta region town of Aflao, bringing the number of affected regions to three, the African news service Joy News reported 2 days ago. The discovery led to the culling of 1,100 birds in the area around Aflao, Ben Aniwa, the region's veterinary services director, told Joy News.

Ghana reported its first H5N1 outbreak in early May, making it the ninth African country to be hit by the disease. No human cases have been confirmed.

See also:

Apr 27, 2006, OIE report on infected swans in Czech Republic

Jun 13 CIDRAP News story "Vietnam reports two H5N1 cases"

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