Avian Flu Scan for Sep 22, 2015

Avian flu in Korea, Nigeria
Poultry H5N2 vaccine approved
H7N9 in the environment

H5N8 returns to South Korea as Nigeria reports 7 H5N1 outbreaks

H5N8 avian flu has returned to South Korea after a few months of inactivity, officials said, while Nigeria, which has been hit hard by H5N1 avian flu, reported seven more farm outbreaks.

H5N8 was confirmed at two duck-breeding farms and two live-poultry markets in South Jeolla province in the far south, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported today. The farms together housed about 14,800 ducks, which were culled after tests confirmed the virus.

The markets were tested as part of routine site inspections, the story said, and all 15 chickens and 16 ducks at the markets were euthanized to prevent disease spread. An agriculture ministry official said several regions in North and South Jeolla provinces have been classified as high risk for avian flu.

The country hadn't reported an H5N8 outbreak since Jun 10.
Sep 22 JoongAng Daily story

In Nigeria, the seven H5N1 outbreaks began from Jul 29 to Sep 18 in southern regions of the country, according to a report yesterday filed with the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE). The farms collectively housed 28,050 poultry, and 5,426 of them succumbed to the disease. The remaining birds were culled.

The farms range in size from 550 to 8,500 birds. Nigeria has now reported 70 H5N1 outbreaks so far this year.
Sep 21 OIE report


USDA grants conditional approval of Iowa-made H5N2 vaccine

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted conditional licensure of an H5N2 avian flu vaccine for poultry to Harrisvaccines of Ames, Iowa—the first such licensure granted for the outbreak that affected almost 50 million US poultry earlier this year—the company said in a news release yesterday.

Conditional licensure is granted in emergency situations or other special circumstances and require less robust data compared with full licensure, according to the USDA. It does not grant Harrisvaccines permission to sell the vaccine but signifies that the company has demonstrated efficacy and can manufacture the vaccine quickly should the agency request it.

In USDA studies, one dose of the company's H5N2 vaccine prevented about 95% of hens and 93% of chicks from dying when exposed to the virus, the Des Moines Register reported yesterday.

The USDA said in August it is interested in stockpiling as many as 500 million doses of one or more avian flu vaccines in case they will be used to thwart a fall resurgence of the disease. Harrisvaccines put in a bid last week for its vaccine to be included in the stockpile, the Register reported.

In the meantime, Harrisvaccines is conducting further efficacy and potency trials in chickens and turkeys, the company said in the release.
Sep 21 Harrisvaccines news release
Sep 21 Des Moines Register article


Study shows environmental H7N9 detections increasing in China

A study of 170 H7N9 avian flu cases in Zhejiang province, China, showed an increase both in the proportion of rural cases over the course of the three outbreak waves and in the detection of the virus in the environment, according to a BMC Public Health study published yesterday.

Provincial public health scientists analyzed data on the patients, who were hospitalized from Mar 20, 2013, to February of this year, as well as surveillance data from all 90 Zhejiang counties.

They found that the proportion of rural cases increased from 42.2 % (19/45) to 67.7 % (21/31) from the first wave to the third. They also reported a 6.1% overall positive rate of environmental specimens, and positive detections increased significantly from the first to third wave. The investigators reported that almost all positive rates of environmental surveillance were higher in urban than rural in the second wave but were higher in rural areas in the third wave.

A separate arm of the study found that 34 of 912 poultry workers tested (3.7%) were positive for H7N9 antibodies.

The authors conclude, "Our study highlights that the severity of poultry-related environmental contamination by H7N9 virus is intensifying. We strongly recommend that the local government stop illegal trading immediately and close live poultry markets in the territory."
Sep 21 BMC Public Health study

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