Six countries report more avian flu outbreaks

A handful of countries reported new avian flu outbreaks over the past few days that involved different strains, including H5N6 in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, H5N1 in Bangladesh and Cambodia, and H5N8 in Russia.

H5N6 in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

South Korea, which is battling a recent spate of outbreaks involving a new reassortant of highly pathogenic H5N6, reported another, which began Dec 21 at a broiler duck farm in North Jeolla province, according to a Dec 23 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The facility houses 29,000 birds, and all were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus. An investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Also, Hong Kong reported the detection of highly pathogenic H5N6 in a magpie robin found dead on Dec 21, according to a separate OIE report.

The virus was found during ongoing surveillance for avian flu in wild birds. So far, it's not clear if the virus is related to the reassortant recently found in South Korea and a handful of other countries.

In another H5N6 development, Taiwan yesterday reported two outbreaks involving a low pathogenic form of H5N6, both on duck farms in the same township in Nantou County, according to an OIE report yesterday.

The outbreaks began on Dec 19, with the virus found during active surveillance. No illnesses or deaths were reported, but authorities destroyed all 11,848 ducks at the two farms.

H5N1 in Bangladesh and Cambodia

In Bangladesh, livestock officials reported two highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreaks involving house crows in two different neighborhoods of Dhaka, the country's capital, according to a report yesterday from the OIE. The outbreaks are Bangladesh's first since March.

The crow deaths began Nov 25, with 92 birds found sick or dead. Twenty-eight sick birds were destroyed as part of the response to the outbreak.

Elsewhere, another H5N1 outbreak has been reported from Cambodia, according to foreign-language media reports flagged by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog.

In mid-December, Cambodia reported its first H5N1 outbreak in nearly a year, which involved a chicken farm in Kampong Chang province. About a week later it reported another at a duck farm in neighboring Kampong Thom province.

H5N8 in Russia

Meanwhile, Russia reported a highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreak at a commercial poultry farm in Kostroma Oblast in the west central part of the country, according to a Dec 25 report from the OIE.

The outbreak began on Dec 17, killing 43,714 of 663,503 susceptible birds. The surviving ones were destroyed to control the spread of the virus. Russia's last H5N8 outbreak occurred in the middle of November, affecting village birds in Rostov Oblast in the far west of the country.

See also:

Dec 23 OIE report on H5N6 in South Korea

Dec 25 OIE report on H5N6 in Hong Kong

Dec 26 OIE report on low path H5N6 in Taiwan

Dec 26 OIE report on H5N1 in Bangladesh

Dec 27 AFD post on H5N1 in Cambodia

Dec 25 OIE report on H5N8 in Russia

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