India, South Korea, China report H5N1 outbreaks

Apr 7, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Veterinary officials in India recently confirmed that the H5N1 avian influenza virus has struck poultry in a second state, Tripura, as animal health authorities in South Korea announced a new outbreak at a duck farm near where the virus was confirmed a few days ago after a year's hiatus.

Asim Roy Burman, a senior state veterinary official in India, said several hundred birds in Tripura died over the past few days and tests revealed they had the H5N1 virus, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today. He said health officials are preparing to slaughter birds and have banned poultry imports from Bangladesh, which has reported extensive outbreaks over the past several months. Nearly all of Tripura state, located in the far northeastern section of India, borders eastern Bangladesh.

West Bengal state, in eastern India on Bangladesh's western border, has battled two waves of H5N1 outbreaks in poultry since January. Yesterday, veterinary officials began culling chickens in the state's Nadia district, where 400 birds have recently died from H5N1 infections, The Hindu, one of India's national newspapers, reported today. Nadia is the fourth district in West Bengal state to report H5N1 outbreaks over the past 5 weeks, according to The Hindu.

West Bengal's Animal Resources Development Department announced on Apr 5 that samples from the Nadia birds were positive for H5N1, according to The Hindu.

"We are a little surprised that the deaths occurred in places beyond a 10-km radius of those areas to have been affected by avian flu on the earlier occasion," Omkar Singh Meena, district magistrate, told The Hindu. He said authorities would plan on culling 21,000 birds over the next 3 days.

In South Korea, health officials confirmed that the H5N1 virus has hit a duck farm in the southwestern part of the country in North Jeolla province, only about 17 miles from the site of a recent poultry outbreak that marked the disease's first return to the country in about a year, according to another AP report today.

Lim Kyung-hwan, a quarantine official with the provincial government, told the AP that authorities have culled 6,500 ducks at the farm, located in Jeongeup, and have banned poultry movement within 10 km of the site.

On Apr 4 agriculture officials confirmed an H5N1 outbreak at a large egg producer in Gimje, also in North Jeolla province, about 162 miles south of Seoul, according to previous reports. The outbreak was South Korea's first since March 2007.

In other developments, agriculture officials in China today confirmed an H5N1 outbreak at a poultry farm in Tibet, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. The samples were taken from 268 chickens that died on a farm in Zhuba village, the report said.

Tibet officials reported the outbreak to China's agriculture ministry on Apr 4, according to media reports. Ministry officials said the outbreak had been contained but gave no other details, Agence France-Presse reported today.

The outbreak is Tibet's third this year, according to previous reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). One occurred at a broiler-hen and duck farm in Gongga in late January, and the other struck birds at a village in Lhasa in early February.

See also:

OIE reports on 2008 Chinese H5N1 outbreaks

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