South Africa and Italy yesterday reported more highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks in both poultry and other birds, and Taiwan confirmed two more H5N2 detections at poultry farms in two counties.
South Africa ostrich farms hit hard
In two separate reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), South Africa reported four more outbreaks at commercial farms—three housing ostriches—and seven more outbreaks involving other types of birds, including wild ones.
All four of the farm-related outbreaks occurred at facilities in Western Cape province in the far south of the country, occurring between Aug 18 and Aug 25. In addition to affecting three ostrich producers, the virus also struck a farm raising commercial and domestic ducks.
Taken together, the virus killed 5,533 of 20,529 susceptible birds, and the surviving ones were slated for culling as one outbreak response step.
Meanwhile, the seven outbreaks involving other types of birds occurred between Aug 9 and Aug 24, six of them in Western Cape province and one in North West province. Affected species included wild geese, pigeons, hobby ducks and swans, blue cranes, helmeted guineafowl, and a laughing dove. In total, 53 birds were found dead and 8 were found sick.
Ongoing H5N8 detections in Italy
Also in separate OIE reports, Italy reported two H5N8 outbreaks in poultry and detection of the virus in a wild swan.
The detections in poultry occurred at a backyard farm in Lombardy region that housed 26 birds and at a commercial turkey farm in Veneto region, beginning on Aug 25 and Aug 28, respectively. Both are in northern Italy.
Between the two locations, the disease killed 127 and sickened 3,758 of 10,725 susceptible birds.
In other developments, animal health officials detected H5N8 in a wild swan found dead in a pond on Aug 25 in Lombardy region.
While a handful of European countries have reported sporadic H5N8 outbreaks over the summer months, Italy has reported many of them in recent weeks.
H5N2 at Taiwan farm, slaughterhouse
Elsewhere, Taiwan reported a pair of highly pathogenic H5N2 outbreaks, one at a commercial farm housing native chickens in Yunlin County and another at an illegal slaughterhouse in Chiayi County. The outbreaks began on Aug 21 and Aug 23, respectively. Both of the locations are on the western side of the island.
The slaughterhouse outbreak was detected during an inspection of the facility.
The virus killed 5,845 of 18,688 susceptible birds at the two locations, and authorities destroyed 12,843 birds to curb the spread of the virus.
Aug 31 OIE report on H5N8 in South African poultry
Aug 31 OIE report on H5N8 in other South African birds
Aug 31 OIE report on H5N8 in Italian poultry
Aug 31 OIE report on H5N8 in other Italian birds
Aug 31 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan