Animal health officials in Ukraine reported the country's first highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks, with detections in both wild birds and poultry, as Egypt reported another outbreak involving the same virus in poultry.
Ukraine, 4 other nations report more outbreaks
Ukrainian officials reported three outbreaks, one involving a wild bird found dead on Jan 1 and two in poultry that began 2 days later, one at a farm and one in backyard birds, according to separate reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In late November the country reported a few H5 outbreaks and said testing was under way to determine the subtype.
The detection in wild birds came after 23 mute swans died near the city of Chortoryia in Chernovtsky province, located in southwestern Ukraine.
One of the poultry outbreaks occurred in backyard birds near where H5N8 killed the wild swans, and the other occurred at a farm in Odessa province, also in southwestern Ukraine. Between the two poultry events the virus killed 1,113 of 10,288 susceptible birds, and the remaining ones were destroyed as a control measure.
In other European developments involving H5N8, according to new OIE reports:
- Poland reported two more poultry outbreaks, one in backyard birds in Malopolske province and one at a farm in Dolnoslaskie province, both in the far southern part of the country. The virus killed 208 of 245 birds at the two locations, with the survivors destroyed to curb disease spread.
- The Netherlands reported two more outbreaks affecting a total of 55 wild birds, both of them in villages in Utrecht province in the central part of the country. One event began on Dec 17, and the other started on Jan 10.
- Romania reported four more outbreaks, three involving wild bird species, including whooper swans and mute swans found dead at nature parks, and one in backyard poultry. Three different provinces reported the wild-bird events: Constanta, Bacau, and Giurgiu. The poultry outbreak began on Jan 3 in a city in Prahova province.
- Slovakia reported two more outbreaks, one in Muscovy ducks at a zoo in Kosice, the biggest city in the eastern part of the country, and one in mute swans found dead in a pond near a village in Nitra region in the west. Both outbreaks started Jan 2, killing 4 of 341 susceptible ducks and 26 mute swans.
Egypt, India also have more H5N8
The H5N8 virus continued to hit poultry outside of Europe in regions that reported earlier outbreaks, according to new reports to the OIE.
Egyptian officials said the virus was responsible for an outbreak in backyard birds in Sharqia governorate in the north that began on Dec 29, killing 89 of 190 susceptible ducks and chickens. According to the report, after the first outbreak was detected in late November, officials enhanced surveillance at 45 sites that are in the path of migratory wild birds.
Meanwhile, India reported 23 more outbreaks to the OIE, all involving village poultry in Kerala state with start dates between Oct 19, 2016, and Nov 24, 2016. All told, the virus killed 66,571 of 714,090 susceptible birds, and authorities culled the remaining ones.
India reported its first H5N8 outbreaks in early November, which also involved poultry in Kerala state.
Taiwan continues to battle H5N2, H5N8
Meanwhile, Taiwan's agriculture ministry yesterday reported two more highly pathogenic H5N2 outbreaks, both on farms in Yunlin County, along with four more H5N8 outbreaks in poultry in different slaughterhouses, the OIE said in separate reports. The events are part of a series of outbreaks involving both strains that have been under way since early 2015.
The H5N2 outbreaks struck farms housing ducks and native chickens, killing 1,066 of 3,738 susceptible birds. The remaining birds were culled, and authorities have stepped up surveillance at nearby farms for the next 3 months.
Four slaughterhouse outbreaks involving the H5N8 strain began between Dec 17, 2016, and Jan 1, involving native chickens. Suspicious signs in poultry carcasses at three of the facilities triggered testing, which also revealed H5N2 in birds from one of the locations.
The carcasses were destroyed, and the slaughterhouses were cleaned and disinfected.
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Ukrainian wild bird
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Ukrainian poultry
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Poland
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in the Netherlands
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Romania
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Slovakia
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Egypt
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in India
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan
Jan 12 OIE report on H5N8 in Taiwan