H5N1 strikes Nigerian poultry farm, Chinese zoo lions
Nigeria's agriculture ministry yesterday reported an H5N1 avian flu outbreak at a commercial farm in Lagos state, and authorities in China said H5N1 has been detected in lions at a zoo in Hubei province.
The outbreak in Nigeria began on Jun 22, striking a facility that housed 3-week-old pullets, according to a report posted yesterday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Of 4,000 susceptible birds, the virus killed 1,355 and the remaining poultry were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus. Officials said poor biosecurity likely played a role in the event, though investigators haven't pinpointed the source of the outbreak.
Nigeria is among a handful of African countries that have reported a recurrence of H5N1 outbreaks in poultry after a several-year hiatus.
Jun 28 OIE report
Notification of China's detection of H5N1 in African lions kept at a zoo in the Hubei province city of Ezhou was made in a statement from the provincial government that was translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog.
Testing was triggered by illness in two African lions who had high fevers. After veterinary officials isolated and began to treat the lions, the male lion suddenly died and a female recovered. No similar illnesses have been seen in the zoo's other animals.
Testing of samples from the lions at a military veterinary hospital was positive for H5N1. Among other response measures, the park's birds were vaccinated against the virus.
The detection is the first known H5N1 infection in lions, though China reported fatal infections in tigers in 2014 and 2015, and Indonesia in 2006 reported H5N1 antibodies in stray cats.
Jun 29 Avian Flu Diary post
WHO: South America, southern Africa are main flu hot spots
South America and southern Africa have reported steady rises in flu activity over the past few weeks, but disease activity is rising more slowly in other Southern Hemisphere countries such as Australia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest global flu update.
The 2009 H1N1 virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the main viruses detected in South America, but influenza B is predominant in southern African countries.
In South America, flu activity in Brazil seems to have peaked earlier than usual and at a high level that was similar to 2013, when 2009 H1N1 was the dominant strain. Of Brazil's deaths from severe respiratory infection, almost 71% of patients had underlying health conditions, the WHO said. Elsewhere, flu levels increased in Bolivia and Colombia.
In contrast, flu levels in Australia were at or just above baseline levels, with New Zealand also reporting low flu activity.
Flu activity from 2009 H1N1 is still under way in some parts of Central America, with levels rising in Panama, the WHO reported. In Africa, flu is increasing steadily in temperate southern regions.
Other parts of the world are seeing low flu activity, including the Caribbean countries, other parts of Africa, Asian countries, North America, and Europe.
At the global level, influenza A was responsible for about 60% of flu detections, and of the subtyped "A" strains, 86% were the 2009 H1N1 virus while the rest were H3N2, according to the WHO.
Jun 27 WHO global flu update