WHO flu profile shows low activity
Overall flu activity has remained low, with hot spots in only a few areas, such as some Middle Eastern countries including Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar, which are reporting that the 2009 H1N1 virus is the dominant strain, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its regular update.
Other exceptions are Cuba and parts of tropical Asia, notably the southern and southeast part of the region. Those countries include India, Laos, and Thailand.
Testing of flu virus specimens at WHO-affiliated laboratories during the first half of November revealed that 67.6% were influenza A and 32.4% were influenza B. Of the subtyped influenza A viruses, 51.5% were H3N2 and 48.5% were 2009 H1N1.
Nov 30 WHO global flu update
Vietnam, Italy, and France report avian influenza outbreaks
Vietnam has reported two more highly pathogenic H5N6 outbreaks in poultry over the last few days, one in Lai Chau province in the far northern part of the country, and one in Nghe An province, in the north central region. Agriculture ministry officials detailed the outbreaks—both of which involved backyard poultry— in two separate reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), one on Nov 28 and the other yesterday.
The event in Lai Chau province started on Nov 19 and killed 600 of 3,604 of the birds. Meanwhile, Nghe An's outbreak began on Nov 26 and was lethal to 121 of the village's 2,250 birds. In both outbreaks, authorities destroyed the remaining poultry to control the spread of the virus.
In 2014, H5N6 outbreaks surfaced in China, then spread to a handful of other Asian countries, including Vietnam. The developments prompted the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last fall to warn of the potential impacts of the H5N6 virus on animal and human health.
Nov 28 OIE report
Nov 30 OIE report
Elsewhere, Italy's animal health ministry today announced a low pathogenic H5N2 outbreak at a turkey farm in Emilia-Romagna region, located in the northern part of the country, according to a statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog. The report said poultry movement restrictions and other steps have been ordered, including checks at nearby facilities.
Dec 1 AFD post
French veterinary teams have detected avian flu at two more farms near a site of a recent H5N1 outbreak, the country's first in about 8 years. The outbreaks were noted yesterday in a statement from France's agriculture ministry that was translated and posted by AFD. Few details were available about the strain involved in the two additional detections.
The initial outbreak in France was reported on Nov 25, affecting backyard birds in the Perigord region of southwestern France, known for its poultry and foie gras. UK officials recently announced that preliminary sequencing of the virus detected in the outbreak suggests that it is a mutated strain closely related to European low pathogenic avian influenza strains.
Nov 30 AFD post