Four countries report avian flu outbreaks

Dec 12, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Poland, Russia, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia reported new outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza in birds today, according to news reports.

Poland has new outbreaks at two sites well separated from the five outbreaks reported recently in two areas northwest of Warsaw, according to a Reuters report.

The disease cropped up at a small farm near Elblag, near the Gulf of Gdansk in northeastern Poland, the story said. Ewa Lech, Poland's chief veterinary officer, calling the site "an entirely new location," said the farm has about 40 birds, according to the report.

Lech also confirmed a report that the virus was found in wild birds near the town of Orneta, according to the story. A separate Reuters story said the birds were a stork and two buzzards, all of which died. Maps show that Orneta lies roughly 30 miles east of Elblag, and both are approximately 100 miles from Plock.

Poland's recent series of outbreaks—its first in domestic birds—began Nov 30 at two turkey farms near Plock, about 60 miles northwest of Warsaw. On Dec 8 and 10 the disease killed laying hens on two large farms near Zuromin, according to Poland's Dec 11 report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Zuromin is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Plock, according to Reuters.

As of Dec 10, the OIE report said, 1,181 birds had died of avian flu in the Polish outbreaks and another 4,258 had been destroyed. But the affected farms had a total of about 510,000 birds that were at risk and destined to be culled, the report said.

Meanwhile, a government official said today that an H5N1 outbreak on a farm in southern Russia has killed more than 35,000 chickens over the past 5 days, according to an Associated Press (AP) report from Rostov-on-Don.

Sergei Kozhemyaka, Rostov regional emergency services officer, said more than a half million remaining chickens on the farm would be destroyed to stop the virus, said the story.

The last previous H5N1 outbreak in Russia was at a poultry farm in the Krasnodar region in September, the story noted. The virus also killed hundreds of domestic birds in the Moscow area in February.

In Saudi Arabia, the agriculture ministry today announced an H5N1 outbreak at an egg production farm south of Riyadh, according to the Kuwait News Agency. The ministry said the farm, in the Alsahba area in Al-Kharj governorate, has about 400,000 hens.

Saudi Arabia has had a series of avian flu outbreaks in the Riyadh vicinity that began Nov 12, according to previous reports.

In Vietnam, which has battled many outbreaks this year, the virus has recurred in the northern province of Bac Giang, according to a Xinhua report published today. The virus has killed more than 1,000 ducks in the Viet Yen and Yen Dung districts, said the story, which cited the newspaper Saigon Liberation as its source.

Vietnam's latest report to the OIE, filed Nov 12, says the country had had 106 outbreaks for the year to that point, with 64,524 birds destroyed in control efforts.

See also:

OIE reports on 2007 outbreaks in Poland and Vietnam

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