Dec 27, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Germany, Poland, and Russia recently reported fresh outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry, according to media accounts and reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
On Christmas day, German officials said the virus was found on a small poultry farm in Brandenburg state, near Berlin, according to a report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). The virus was detected among 15 chickens, which prompted the culling of 46 remaining birds, the report said.
The farm's owner was also looking after a neighboring farm's flock over the holiday, and 31 chickens at that farm were culled as a precautionary measure, according to the DPA report. Poultry owners in the area have been advised to keep their birds in closed pens and to report any signs of illness among the birds.
The outbreak is the third detection of H5N1 in Brandenburg state in recent days, according to media reports. In mid-December, an H5N1 outbreak was reported in a small flock of chickens in the Oberhavel region. On Dec 21, a state veterinary official confirmed the virus was found at a small chicken farm in Bensdorf, about 53 miles west of Berlin, according to an earlier DPA report.
Over the summer, two other German states—Bavaria and Thuringia—also reported H5N1 outbreaks, which mainly involved geese and ducks.
Meanwhile, agriculture officials in Poland reported an H5N1 outbreak at six farms near the northern village of Sadlowo Parcele, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Dec 22. The area is within a security zone surrounding Zuromin, the site of a previous outbreak, the AFP report said.
A report from Poland's agriculture ministry said 200,000 birds on the Sadlowo Parcele farms were slaughtered to control the virus, according to AFP.
In southern Russia, emergency officials in the Rostov region reported an outbreak at a small farm in Krasnodar territory, RIA Novosti, Russia's state news agency, reported on Dec 25. Seventy-nine birds were culled, the report said.
Earlier this month the virus was detected at three other sites in the Rostov region, according to OIE reports. In September officials in Krasnodar territory reported another H5N1 outbreak at a chicken farm. The area is vulnerable to the virus because it is on a bird migration route, according to the RIA Novosti report.
In other avian flu developments, animal health officials in the Dominican Republic reported an outbreak of low-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza at two sites, one of which is a live-bird market in Santo Domingo, the capital, and the other is in the village of La Otra Banda in the southeast, according to a Dec 21 report from the OIE. The findings were confirmed at the US Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
Two cases were reported, but there were no bird deaths. The OIE report said 130 birds were destroyed to control the virus.
In April, 25,000 turkeys at a West Virginia farm were culled after tests indicated they probably had been exposed to a low-pathogenic H5N2 virus, according to previous reports. Countries are required to report all H5 and H7 avian flu detections to the OIE.
OIE reports on 2007 H5N1 outbreaks in Russia
Apr 2 CIDRAP News report "Mild avian flu suspected in West Virginia turkeys"