H5N2 virus identified in Canadian turkey outbreak

Feb 4, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Animal health authorities in Canada yesterday announced that an H5N2 avian influenza virus was responsible for a recent mild illness outbreak on a commercial turkey farm in British Columbia's Fraser Valley.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said in a news release yesterday that preliminary tests indicated that the H5N2 strain involved in the outbreak is a low-pathogenic one. Winnipeg's National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases conducted the tests.

So far 36 sites have been quarantined as precautionary measure, the CFIA statement said.

The outbreak at the farm in Abbotsford, southeast of Vancouver, began on Jan 20, according to a Jan 24 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The turkeys had respiratory symptoms but no significant mortality. The CFIA said about 60,000 birds were destroyed to stop the virus.

So far the virus has not turned up in any other flocks within a 3-kilometer surveillance area, the CFIA said.

In March 2004 a large outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza hit as many as 40 commercial farms in the Fraser Valley, which led to the culling of 17 million birds. In November 2005 a low-pathogenic H5 virus was found on a poultry farm in the same area.

In other developments, agriculture officials in France reported a low-pathogenic H5N3 avian flu outbreak at a duck farm in Vendée department on the country's west coast, according to a notice today from the OIE. The virus, first detected on Jan 29, struck 90 of 5,022 ducks. The remaining birds were destroyed on Feb 1.

Investigators have not determined the source of the virus. They said no poultry have entered the farm recently and that no poultry or eggs have been moved from the location.

Germany reported nine H5N3 outbreaks in mid through late December 2008, according to OIE reports. Most of those outbreaks involved farms near Cloppenburg, in the northwestern part of the country.

Elsewhere, veterinary officials in Bangladesh reported that the H5N1 virus struck another farm in Rajshahi division in a northwestern area near the border with India, according to a report yesterday from the OIE. The disease hit 5 of 595 backyard birds; animal health workers destroyed the rest of the flock. Bangladesh has reported several outbreaks since October 2008.

See also:

Feb 4 OIE report on French outbreak

Feb 3 OIE report on Bangladesh outbreak

Jan 26 CIDRAP News story "Canada confirms avian flu outbreak on turkey farm"

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