Niger reported its first highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza outbreak, the fourth African nation to detect the virus, and four European countries reported more outbreaks involving the same strain.
In other avian flu developments, South Korea and Vietnam reported more H5N6 outbreaks, with Vietnam also reporting two new H5N1 events, according to the latest reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
H5N8 in Niger
Niger's outbreak began in late February in backyard birds in Tillaberi department in the west. The virus killed 5 of 40 birds at the holding, and the remaining poultry were culled.
Last fall, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said West Africa was among the regions likely to see H5N8 outbreaks, following the summer detection of the strain in migratory birds in Russia.
More H5N8 in Europe
Meanwhile, four European countries reported more H5N8 outbreaks:
- Finland reported finding the virus in a white-tailed eagle found dead on Apr 8 in the country's southwest.
- Italy confirmed that the virus struck a turkey farm in Veneto region in the north, beginning on Apr 11, killing 36 of 13,015 birds.
- Dutch officials reported three outbreaks in waterfowl, with start dates ranging from Mar 15 to Mar 22, affecting 40 birds in three different provinces: Drenthe, South Holland, and Utrecht.
- Russia noted one more outbreak in backyard poultry, an event that began on Apr 12 in Moscow oblast in the west, killing 15 of 40 susceptible birds.
H5N6 and H5N1 outbreaks in Asia
Elsewhere, South Korea and Vietnam reported further outbreaks involving the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain.
South Korea reported nine more H5N6 events on commercial farms, eight in North Chungcheong province in the central part of the country and one in Gyeonggi province in the southwest. All of the outbreaks had November start dates, with 305,568 birds—mainly ducks—destroyed.
In Vietnam, the virus struck backyard birds at two locations in Thua Thien-Hue province in the central part of the country. The outbreaks both began on Apr 3 and killed 1,000 of 6,500 susceptible poultry. Officials culled the remaining birds, and vaccination was among the control steps that authorities ordered.
Vietnam also reported two more H5N1 outbreaks, also in backyard birds. One began Apr 8 in Vinh Long province in the south, while the other in Quang Ninh in the north started on Apr 12. Taken together, the virus killed 670 of 3,670 birds at the two holdings.
Apr 13 OIE report on H5N8 in Niger
Apr 14 OIE report on H5N6 in South Korea
Apr 14 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam
Apr 14 OIE report on H5N1 in Vietnam