France, Myanmar, Taiwan report avian flu outbreaks

Three countries have reported new outbreaks involving different highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza strains, including a newly affected department in France and Myanmar’s first detection of the year.

Also, two new confirmed outbreaks in Taiwan mark activity that has been under way for more than a year.

Another French department affected

In France, agriculture officials detected H5N9 at a Guinea fowl breeding farm in Labastide, in Tarn department, located in an area of southwestern France that has seen several outbreaks over the past few months, according to government reports translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.  The virus was found during routine monitoring.

The facility has 6,050 birds, which will be culled to control the spread of the virus. Authorities are also cleaning and disinfecting the farm and have set up a 3-kilometer (km) protective zone and a 10-km surveillance area.

Tarn is the ninth French department to be affected by avian flu since outbreaks began in December. So far, 77 events have been recorded. Several different strains have been implicated in the outbreaks, including H5N1, H5N2, H5N9, and low-pathogenic H5N3.

Myanmar's first outbreak in more than a year

The outbreak in Myanmar, at a commercial layer farm in Sagaing region in the central part of the country, is its first since February 2015, according to an Apr 16 report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Tests revealed a highly pathogenic H5 strain, but the subtype wasn't listed.

The outbreak began on Apr 11, which led to the deaths of 18 of 500 susceptible chickens. Response steps include culling the remaining birds, spraying and disinfection, controlling poultry movement, and establishing a protective zone around the area.

An investigation into the outbreak didn't pinpoint the source of the virus but said a lack of biosecurity was found at the farm.

H5N8, H5N2 in Taiwan

In separate reports to the OIE today, Taiwan noted an H5N8 outbreak at a chicken slaughterhouse in Kaohsiung City and two H5N2 outbreaks at goose farms in Chiayi County.

Suspicious signs in two poultry carcasses during postmortem inspection triggered testing at the slaughterhouse, which revealed H5N8. The carcasses were destroyed and the remaining 613 birds were culled. The farm that supplied the chickens didn't have any more birds, and it was cleaned and disinfected.

Meanwhile, two H5N2 outbreaks were detected at commercial goose breeding farms, both in the same city in Chiayi County. Abnormal deaths that began on Apr 6 and Apr 9 prompted the testing.

Between the two facilities, 558 deaths were reported out of 3,555 birds. The remaining geese were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus.

Taiwan has been battling a steady stream of avian flu outbreaks, mainly H5N2 and H5N8, since January 2015.

See also:

Apr 19 FluTrackers thread

Apr 16 OIE report on Myanmar outbreak

Apr 19 OIE report on H5N8 in Taiwan

Apr 19 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan

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