China reports more high-path H7N9 outbreaks in poultry

In the latest avian flu developments, China reports more highly pathogenic H7N9 outbreaks in three provinces, and South Korea continues to battle a flare-up of H5N8 activity, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

H7N9 outbreaks continue in China

Chinese health officials detailed four outbreaks in two OIE reports. Two occurred in different locations in Inner Mongolia province in the north, one at a large layer farm that began on May 21, killing 35,526 of 406,756 susceptible poultry. The remaining birds were culled to curb the spread of the virus.

The other outbreak began Jun 5 at a poultry farm in Inner Mongolia's Jiuyuan district, which led to the loss of 55,023 birds, including 2,056 that died from the disease.

Officials also reported outbreaks that began in March in two provinces in southern China, including a positive sample from a poultry farm in Guangxi province and a positive sample from a livestock market in Fujian province. The OIE report didn't include details about the number of susceptible birds or populations culled.

Officials detected the highly pathogenic form of H7N9 for the first time in poultry in February, in birds in Guangdong province's live-poultry markets. Since then, the virus has sparked outbreaks at poultry farms in several provinces, including some in northern China.

In a related development, China recently announced that it will begin testing the first vaccine against H7N9 in early July, China Daily reported today. The vaccine, developed by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, will be given to chickens, ducks, and geese in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.

According to the report, the locations were selected because they are major poultry trade centers and have battled both highly pathogenic and low-pathogenic H7N9 viruses.

H5N8 in South Korea, Zimbabwe, Luxembourg

Meanwhile, several more highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreaks were reported by South Korea, with a few more cropping up in Luxembourg and Zimbabwe.

In South Korea, officials reported 16 more outbreaks that began from Jun 3 to Jun 7, all but two involving backyard birds. Affected areas included seven towns in North Jeolla province, four on Jeju island, three in the Ulsan metropolitan area, and one each in South Gyeongsang province and the city of Busan.

Of 2,776 birds at the multiple locations, the virus killed 59, and authorities destroyed the remaining birds as part of the response to the outbreaks.

Details on the other countries reporting more H5N8 detections:

  • Luxembourg reported four more outbreaks involving poultry farms in four different cantons, Capellen, Diekirch, Luxembourg, and Mersch, with start dates ranging from May 30 to Jun 2, according to a Jun 9 report to the OIE. The virus killed 76 birds and led to the culling of 787 more.

  • Zimbabwe's veterinary ministry said H5N8 spread to two more self-contained units housing 91,000 birds on a broiler farm where the virus was reported for the first time earlier this month, according to a Jun 11 OIE report. The event has now affected three of the facility's eight sites, and officials suspect the virus spread though shared equipment and vehicles. All birds at the two additional sites have been destroyed.

Libya confirms more low-path H7

Elsewhere, Libya reported another low-pathogenic H7 outbreak, this time at a farm in Marj district in the country's northeast, according to an OIE report today.

The farm housed 220 birds, including ducks, geese, pigeons, and egg-laying chickens. The virus was detected during general surveillance. The birds were culled and authorities disinfected the farm.

The H7 detection is the second such event in Libya since the middle of May, when authorities reported a similar finding at a farm in Gharyan district in the northwest.

See also:

Jun 12 OIE report on one H7N9 outbreak in China

Jun 13 OIE report on three H7N9 outbreaks in China

Jun 14 China Daily story

Jun 13 OIE report on H5N8 in South Korea

Jun 14 OIE report on H7 in Libya

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