Nepal's livestock department recently reported the country's first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu, which stuck a commercial farm, as several countries in Europe reported more detections, including the already hard-hit southwestern section of France.
In related developments, Vietnam reported more outbreaks from two other highly pathogenic strains: H5N1 and H5N6.
Nepal reports H5N8 and H5N1
Nepal's H5N8 outbreak began on Mar 1 at a layer farm in Koshi zone in the southeastern part of the country, according a Mar 10 report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The virus hit layers in two different sheds, one housing 40-week-old birds and the other containing 20-week-old poultry.
Of 6,200 susceptible birds, the virus killed 3,650, and authorities culled the remaining ones to contain the spread of the disease. Rapid response teams also destroyed eggs, feed, egg trays, and some local hens. Surveillance has been stepped up in the surrounding area.
Meanwhile, Nepalese officials also reported another H5N1 outbreak, the third reported in recent weeks in Nepal. The latest outbreak occurred not far from the H5N8 outbreak in poultry. The event began on Mar 2 at a small zoo at a recreation park. The virus killed 6 of 14 whooper swans and 1 Asian openbill stork.
Officials temporarily closed the park, as workers cleaned and disinfected the sheds and buried the dead birds.
France, 4 other nations confirm more H5N8
France's agriculture ministry reported 29 more H5N8 outbreak at poultry farms, all of them located in the southwestern part of the country that is home to foie gras production. Most of the events occurred in Landes department, but some were reported from Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Haute-Pyrenees, and Lot-et-Garonne departments. Almost 2,000 poultry were involved.
The country's poultry industry has also been battling other avian flu strains over the past several months, and today officials reported three more outbreaks from low-pathogenic H5N2, also from farms in southwest France.
In addition, officials reported one more H5N8 outbreak in wild birds, which involved a Caspian gull found dead in Hautes-Pyrenees department on Mar 2. Surveillance has been strengthened in the surrounding area.
In other H5N8 developments, four European countries reported more H5N8 outbreaks:
Czech Republic officials reported one more outbreak, this time involving backyard poultry in Moravian-Silesian region in in the northeast. The event began on Mar 9 and killed 4 of 25 birds.
Germany reported 16 more detections, 9 on farms, 6 involving wild birds, and one at a zoo in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania state in the north. The start dates ranged from Feb 20 to Mar 10. The outbreaks at the farms struck mainly turkeys, killing 253 and leading to the culling of 122,755 birds.
Hungary reported eight more outbreaks, all in wild birds. Different species were found dead from Feb 20 to Feb 27, mainly in the western half of the country including Budapest, the country's capital.
UK authorities reported that a wigeon found dead on Mar 3 at a nature park near Pembrokeshire, Wales, tested positive for the virus.
H5N1, H5N6 in Vietnam
Vietnam reported two new H5N1 outbreaks, part of an uptick in activity there in the past few weeks. The latest outbreaks struck backyard birds in Cao Bang in the north and Ha Tinh in the central region, according to a report yesterday to the OIE. Between the two locations, the virus killed 512 of 1,880 susceptible birds. The surviving poultry were culled as one of the response steps.
Also, officials reported one more highly pathogenic H5N6 outbreak, which affected backyard poultry in a different city in Cao Bang province. The event began on Mar 2, killing 50 of 150 birds. The detection marks the country's second H5N6 outbreak this year.
Mar 10 OIE report on H5N8 in Nepal
Mar 10 OIE report on H5N1 in Nepal
Mar 10 OIE report on H5N8 in France
Mar 13 OIE report on low-pathogenic H5N2 in France
Mar 13 OIE report on H5N8 in French wild birds
Mar 12 OIE report on H5N8 in the Czech Republic
Mar 10 OIE report on H5N8 in Germany
Mar 13 OIE report on H5N8 in Hungary
Mar 13 OIE report H5N8 in the United Kingdom
Mar 12 OIE report on H5N1 in Vietnam
Mar 12 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam