Avian flu findings reported in 6 far-flung nations

Sampling duck for avian flu
Sampling duck for avian flu

Sampling a wild duck for avian flu., Diane Borgreen / USFWS / Flickr cc

Reports of avian influenza detections continued over the past few days, with findings in poultry and wild birds in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, and Bulgaria, and even a dog got into the act in South Korea.

In the United States, a dead mallard duck was found infected with highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) H5N8 in southeastern Nevada, marking the first detection of HPAI in the state, according to a Jan 30 media report quoting the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

KTVN, a TV station in Reno, Nev., said the duck was found in Lincoln County Jan 23 and tested positive at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory. State officials said they would work with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to monitor the situation.

The report follows several detections of H5N8 in wild birds, backyard poultry flocks, and at least one commercial poultry flock in western states in the past 2 months. On Jan 24 the USDA said the virus had turned up on a turkey farm in California's Central Valley.

H7 on UK chicken farm

In the United Kingdom, authorities today reported an outbreak of a "low severity" H7 avian flu in chickens on a Hampshire farm. A UK government statement said the strain is much less severe than the H5N8 virus that hit a Yorkshire duck farm in November.

The statement said poultry movements will be restricted within 1 kilometer of the farm, and the chickens will be humanely culled.

An official with the UK Food Standards Agency said indications are that the virus is an H7N7 subtype, but further confirmatory testing is needed, according to a BBC News story today. Officials said the strain poses very little risk to human health, according to the story.

H5 in Israel, Japan, Bulgaria

In Israel, highly pathogenic H5N1 struck another turkey farm, this one near Netanya, a coastal city about 35 miles south of Haifa, according to a short item in the Jerusalem Post today.  It said the virus hit a coop housing 37,000 turkeys, which will be killed and buried.

H5N1 had struck a turkey farm in the Haifa area Jan 14, and about a week later it hit chickens and turkeys in Hadera, about 28 miles from Haifa, according to previous reports.

Meanwhile, Japanese officials told the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on Jan 30 that they had found a dead mallard infected with H5N8. The duck was found in southwestern Japan's Kagoshima province on Jan 14 and tested positive on Jan 19, the report said.

The report follows a number of H5N8 outbreaks in Japan since mid-November.

In Bulgaria, officials reported a "secondary outbreak" of avian flu in chickens in a village in the municipality of Kameno in the southeastern province of Burgas, according to a Jan 31 report from Focus, a Bulgarian news agency. The story didn't specify the virus subtype, but last week officials reported finding H5N1 in a dead pelican in the city of Burgas.

The story said the virus was found in hens in the village of Konstantinovo, which borders Lake Mandra, a magnet for wild birds. Officials said all the hens in the affected yard and in two neighboring yards were destroyed and disposed of.

Infected dog in South Korea

And in South Korea, a dog on a duck farm that had been hit by an H5N8 outbreak tested positive for the virus, according to a Korea Herald story today. The farm is in South Gyeongsang province and was affected by the disease on Jan 23, officials said.

The country's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the dog, one of three on the farm, had "antigens" for H5N8, according to the story. This marked the first detection of avian flu in a dog in the country, but in March 2014 a dozen dogs at affected farms were found to have avian flu antibodies, suggesting past infections, the story said.

None of the three dogs on the farm had shown signs of illness, and the other two dogs tested negative for avian flu antigens and antibodies, the ministry said. Officials said they suspected that the dog may have eaten infected animals on the farm.

All poultry and dogs on the farm were destroyed as part of preventive measures after the outbreak was detected, the story said.

See also:

Jan 30 KTVN News story

Feb 2 UK government statement

Feb 2 BBC News story

Feb 2 Jerusalem Post story

Jan 30 Japanese report to OIE

Jan 31 Focus story on Bulgarian finding

Feb 2 Korea Herald story

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