Avian Flu Scan for Mar 13, 2014

H7 findings in Macau
H5N8 reassortants
H5N1 in Vietnam, Germany

Macau detects H7 in Chinese poultry imports

Veterinary officials in Macau yesterday detected an H7 influenza virus in a batch of live poultry imported from China's mainland, according to a Macau government statement today. Officials found the virus in chickens from a registered farm in Guangdong province that had been quarantined at a poultry wholesale market.

The farm is located near the Guangdong city of Zhuhai, in a Pearl River delta area that borders Macau to the south.

Though it's not clear yet if the H7 virus is the H7N9 strain infecting mainly poultry and people in China, yesterday's finding prompted intensive response measures, which included sealing off the market, thoroughly cleaning and sterilizing the facility, and culling 7,500 chickens.

In late January, Hong Kong officials found H7 in a batch of live chickens imported from a registered farm near the Guangdong province city of Foshan. The findings, confirmed as H7N9, triggered a 3-week closure of Hong Kong's wholesale poultry market and the culling of 20,000 birds.

Macau's government said the sale of all live poultry will be suspended for 21 days, based on World Health Organization guidelines. It said none of the chicken from the farm that was the source of the H7 virus had been put on the market and that no human illnesses have been detected.
Mar 13 Macau government statement


H5N8 analysis finds three reassortants

An analysis of H5N8 avian flu isolates from outbreaks in domestic and wild ducks in South Korea found three novel reassortant highly pathogenic viruses, South Korean researchers reported yesterday in a letter in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The outbreaks began in South Korea in the middle of January, striking mainly ducks. So far the outbreaks have led to the disease and culling deaths of at least 300,000 birds.

The investigators found the same mutation in the neuraminidase of all three reassortants, but they didn't detect the one that plays a role in resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). The group's phylogenetic analysis suggests that all three belong to the same H5 clade.

Two of the viruses had high nucleotide identities, which the authors said suggests the outbreaks in domestic and wild ducks may have had the same origin. Though more research and epidemiologic investigations are under way, there are signs that the distinct viruses originated in eastern China, the team wrote.
Mar 12 Emerg Infect Dis letter


High-path H5N1 again strikes Vietnam, low-path strain hits German farm

Reports of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu outbreaks in domestic poultry in Vietnam are coming in daily of late, with another, this one involving about 1,500 birds in a Mekong, reported yesterday to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The latest outbreak is in the Ben Tre province in the far-south coastal area southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. Among 1,419 susceptible birds, 321 ill birds died from confirmed H5N1, for an apparent morbidity rate of 22.62% and an apparent case-fatality rate of 100%. The remainder of the flock was destroyed to prevent disease spread.
Mar 12 OIE report
Mar 11 CIDRAP News scan on Vietnam outbreaks

In related news, a low-pathogenic H5N1 outbreak was reported to OIE yesterday from Germany. The disease struck a farm with 38,323 free-range laying hens in the northwest state of Niedersachsen a few days ago, sickening and killing 48. All the remaining birds were culled.

The premises are undergoing disinfection. The last reported date of the disease in Germany was December 2013, according to the OIE.
Mar 13 OIE report

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