USDA clarifies flock reimbursement, vaccine steps for avian flu in poultry
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Jan 22 updated its highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) fall plan, fine-tuning details about reimbursing farmers for lost poultry and finalizing its vaccination policy should that step be enacted.
The original fall plan was released in September 2015 after multiple HPAI outbreaks decimated flocks in some states in the spring and summer.
Newly decided flat rates for affected birds are $3.55 per turkey, $6.45 per egg-laying hen, and $1.15 per broiler chicken, the USDA said in an announcement. The flat rates cover the cost of barn preparation, dry cleaning, and heat disinfection after an outbreak.
The finalized vaccination plan clarifies that the USDA will buy vaccine for poultry if it is warranted but will not foot the bill for administering the vaccine. It also notes that certain birds might be exempt from vaccination, such as short-lived broilers and ducks. Finally, it details surveillance testing for layer flocks.
The updated plan also includes a survey on industry preparedness. "The survey found that the poultry industry has made important efforts in implementing preparedness and response capabilities for future HPAI cases," the agency said. The USDA added, though, that it is recommending some additional actions, such as increasing the use of ID cards to enhance farm biosecurity.
Jan 22 USDA announcement
Nigeria reports 11 new H5N1 avian flu outbreak in poultry
Nigerian veterinary officials have reported another 11 H5N1 avian flu outbreaks involving more than 41,000 farm poultry, the latest to hit a country ravaged by the disease in recent months, according to a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report today.
The farms are in the northern and central states of Kano, Kaduna, and Plateau, as well as in Kuje in the Federal Capital Territory, about 25 miles southwest of Abuja, the national capital. They began from Jan 18 to Jan 21.
Flocks range in size from 800 to 9,150 and include chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, and guinea fowl. All told 3,598 of 41,183 birds died from viral infection, and the rest were culled to prevent disease spread. Poor farm biosecurity is mentioned as a factor in the outbreaks.
On Jan 19 Nigerian veterinary officials reported 22 H5N1 outbreaks to the OIE that involved more than 96,000 birds.
Jan 25 OIE report
WHO says Mideast still global flu hotspot
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a new update that the Middle East continues to see high levels of flu activity, while some other global regions are seeing a steady rise.
The update, which is dated Jan 11 but posted yesterday, said that the 2009 H1N1 virus, especially, is causing high flu activity in Israel, Jordan, and Oman, while Iran and Pakistan are experiencing elevated levels. Bahrain and Qatar, on the other hand, are experiencing a decline.
Most other global regions are reporting low flu activity, the WHO said, but Mongolia, Laos, Thailand, and some countries in northern and eastern Europe and northern Africa are seeing an increase. The report does not mention North America, but the United States on Jan 22 reported a slight uptick in flu activity.
From mid to late December, national labs reported that influenza A is outpacing influenza B 89% to 11%, with 2009 H1N1 accounting for 93% of subtyped "A" strains, the WHO noted.
Jan 11 WHO update