Avian flu detected in Vietnam, Canada
Agriculture officials in Vietnam reported another highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak in poultry, while Canadian authorities reported that low pathogenic H5N2 turned up in a hunter-shot duck in British Columbia.
Vietnam's latest of a long list of outbreaks occurred in backyard birds in Nghe An province, located in the north central part of the country, according to a Nov 27 report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The event began Nov 7 and killed 220 of 520 susceptible birds. The remaining ones were culled to curb the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, a low pathogenic H5N2 virus has been detected in a wild duck shot by a hunter in Abbotsford, British Columbia, prompting a warning to the area's poultry producers to take extra biosecurity steps, according to a Nov 27 CBC News report. The area is near Fraser Valley, an area that was hit by a highly pathogenic H7 outbreak in 2004.
Random testing revealed the low path H5N2 finding in the duck, and an official with the BC Poultry Association told CBC that the strain is different than the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus that struck two farms in British Columbia last year. He added that the finding isn't surprising, because migrating birds are known to carry the strain.
Nov 27 OIE report
Nov 27 CBC News story
In other developments, preliminary sequencing on a highly pathogenic H5N1 virus detected in a recent outbreak in French poultry suggests that the virus is a mutated strain that is closely related to European low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) strains, according to a Nov 26 report from the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The report added that European lineage LPAI H5N1 has been detected sporadically in European poultry and wild birds, but that a mutation to high pathogenicity of the strains is a rare event.
Nov 26 DEFRA statement
CDC notes slight rise in US flu activity
For the second week in a row, flu activity in the United States rose slightly, with influenza A H3N2 as still the dominant strain, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its report for the week ending Nov 21.
The nation's overall marker for percentage of clinic visits for flulike illness held steady at 1.6%, still well below the national baseline of 2.1%, but two of the CDC's 10 regions were above their area-specific baselines: the middle Atlantic region centered around Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and the south central area that includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
One more pediatric flu death was reported, raising the season's total so far to two. Overall deaths from flu and pneumonia, which typically lag behind other markers, is still well below the epidemic threshold.
South Carolina was the only state to report moderate flu activity, another measure of clinic visits for flu. Flu was widespread in Guam, regional in Puerto Rico, and reported as local in five states: Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Utah.
The CDC and their state and local partners are gearing up their annual flu vaccination push as the nation heads into its holiday season and ahead of the busiest part of the flu season. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) activities are scheduled for Dec 6 through Dec 12.