Philippines reports first H5 outbreak; new events in Laos, South Africa

Agriculture officials in the Philippines reported the country's first highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza outbreak, which struck a commercial poultry farm in Pampanga province on Luzon, the country's largest island.

In other avian flu developments, Laos reported its first H5N1 outbreaks of 2017 and South Africa reported more H5N8 outbreaks, which have spread to some of its commercial ostrich farms.

Philippine outbreaks may have started in April

A report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said the Philippine outbreak began on Jul 24, killing 36,485 of 190,000 birds. Culling was ordered as one of the outbreak response steps, which also included movement controls, quarantine, disinfection, and enhanced surveillance.

A report today in the Manila Times, based on a media briefing with Emmanuel Pinol, the country's agriculture secretary, said the outbreak was confirmed in the city of San Luis and that six poultry farms were affected.

Most of the poultry deaths were in layer chickens. Pinol told reporters that the outbreak may have begun as early as April when deaths were reported in quail housed above ducks. He said ducks are the likely source of the outbreak, since they had contact with migratory birds.

The Times report said the outbreak site is 37 miles north of Manila and is close to swamps that are stopovers for migratory birds from the Asian mainland.

Further testing is under way to determine the subtype.

Developments in Laos, South Africa

Elsewhere, Laos reported five highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreaks, its first since October 2016, according to a separate OIE report yesterday.

The events all occurred on farms housing ducks and hens, starting between Jul 2 and Jul 25. Four of the outbreaks occurred in Xaysomboun Special Region in the north central part of the country, and one occurred in Champasak province in the southwest.

Taken together, the virus killed 14,495 of 19,336 susceptible birds, with the remaining ones slated for culling.

South Africa, which has been battling H5N8 outbreaks since the middle of June, reported three more, including two in newly affected Western Cape province in the southwest, relatively far from two already-affected provinces.

One of the outbreaks began in Mpumalanga province, which has already reported several events, on Aug 7, killing 975 of 326,764 birds.

In Western Cape province, two outbreaks at commercial ostrich farms began Aug 9, killing 55 of 2,247 birds. South Africa's ostrich industry has been struck by several low pathogenic avian flu outbreaks over the past several years.

See also:

Aug 11 OIE report on H5 in the Philippines

Aug 12 Manila Times story

Aug 10 OIE report on H5N1 in Laos

Aug 11 OIE report on H5N8 in South Africa

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