Germany, Vietnam battle H5N1 in poultry

Aug 27, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – German agriculture officials confirmed an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza at a poultry farm in Bavaria Aug 25, as officials in Vietnam reported fresh outbreaks at farms in three more provinces.

About 400 ducks on a farm near the southern city of Erlangen, about 120 miles north of Munich, died in a short time, prompting authorities to test for the virus, according to news services. An H5N1 virus was detected in three young ducks that were delivered to the farm about 4 weeks ago from a farm in the northern state of Lower Saxony, which is also being inspected for the disease, an agriculture ministry spokesperson in Berlin told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Aug 25.

Authorities culled 160,000 remaining birds and set up a 3-kilometer protective zone around the farm, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.

Contaminated straw was the probable source of the outbreak, Ottmar Fick, Erlangen's chief veterinarian, told the AP. Though it's unclear how the straw could have become contaminated, wild birds are one possibility authorities are considering, he said.

In July the virus struck wild birds, mainly swans, near Nuremberg in Bavaria, and infections were also confirmed in wild birds in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt provinces, both in central Germany, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Vietnam, animal-health officials recently confirmed H5N1 outbreaks at poultry farms in Dong Thap province in the south and Thai Nguyen province in the north, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Aug 25. And today, officials announced the virus had spread to Tra Vinh province in the Mekong delta, according to an AFP report.

The outbreak in Thai Nguyen affected ducks and young chickens, while the Dong Thap outbreak struck chicks, the Xinhua report said. In Tra Vinh the outbreak involved unvaccinated ducklings, AFP reported.

In mid August the country reported an H5N1 outbreak in chickens and ducks in Cao Bang, a northern province that borders China.

Vietnam has reported seven human H5N1 cases this year, which include four deaths. However, five of the cases have not yet been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), whose current avian flu tally for Vietnam is 95 cases with 42 deaths.

See also:

OIE reports on H5N1 outbreaks in Germany

Aug 15 CIDRAP News story "Vietnam, France report more H5N1 in birds"

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