Malaysia reports first H5N1 outbreak in nearly 10 years

Malaysia today reported its first highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza outbreak since 2007, adding to a long list of countries reporting outbreaks from various subtypes over the past few months.

The virus struck backyard chickens in Kelantan state, located in the northeastern part of Malaysia's peninsular region, according to a report from the country's agriculture ministry to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The holding is near Kota Bharu, the state's capital.

The outbreak began on Feb 28, killing 15 of 26 village chickens. The remaining birds were culled to control the spread of the virus. Officials also curbed poultry movements and ordered other steps, such as screening and stepped-up surveillance.

Investigators have not determined the source of the outbreak.

A few other countries in Southeast Asia have reported sporadic H5N1 outbreaks in the first months of this year, including Cambodia and Vietnam.

Malaysia's last H5N1 outbreak occurred in 2007 and affected village chickens in Selangor state, also in the peninsular part of the country.

H5N8 in Poland, Austria

In other avian flu developments, Poland today reported one more highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreak, according to a report to the OIE.

The event involves a waterfowl found dead on Mar 2 in Weilkopolska province in the west central part of the country.

In Austria, an H5N8 detection in a sick pelican at a zoo in Vienna prompted the closure of part of the zoo, according to a statement from the zoo translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog. The pelicans had been kept in a tent since December as a precaution because of ongoing avian flu activity in wild and domestic birds across Europe, which have also affected several zoos.

The bird was euthanized, and the partial closure was ordered to protect the zoo's other birds.

See also:

Mar 8 OIE report on H5N1 in Malaysia

Mar 8 OIE report on H5N8 in Poland

Mar 8 AFD post on H5N8 at Austrian zoo

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