News Scan for May 20, 2020

Poultry-related Salmonella outbreak
Avian flu in Iraq, Taiwan

CDC: Backyard poultry Salmonella outbreak sickens 97 in 28 states

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) today announced that it—along with local public health officials—is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard chicks and ducklings that sickened 97 people in 28 states from Feb 26 to May 1.

About one third of the people who became ill are younger than 5 years. Seventeen people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

In interviews, 38 (86%) of 44 ill people said that they had contact with chicks and ducklings, which they procured from farm stores, website, and hatcheries, in the week before they became sick. Whole-genome sequencing showed that bacteria isolated from infected people were closely related genetically, meaning that they likely shared a common source of infection.

The agency said that people can become infected by Salmonella by touching live poultry—even ones that appear healthy and clean—or their environment. Such infections are typically reported in spring and summer, when people tend to buy chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry for their backyard flocks.

The CDC advises owners of backyard flocks to always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with poultry or their environment, not allow kids younger than 5 years to touch the poultry, keep a separate set of shoes outside to wear while tending to the birds, remain outdoors when cleaning cages or feed containers, not eat or drink around the poultry, and not let live poultry in the house or kiss or snuggle with them.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after exposure. Most people are ill for 4 to 7 days and recover without treatment. But children younger than 5 years, adults 65 and older, and those with compromised immune systems can have severe illness and require hospitalization.
May 20 CDC investigation notice
CDC's backyard poultry web page


Iraq and Taiwan report high-path avian flu outbreaks in poultry

In the latest avian flu developments, two countries recently reported new outbreaks involving highly pathogenic strains, Iraq with H5N8 and Taiwan with H5N5, according to recent notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Iraq's outbreak, its first since March 2019, occurred at a commercial poultry farm in Nineveh, located on the outskirts of Mosul in the north. The event began on May 9, killing 21,700 of 59,700 birds. The survivors were slated for culling as one of the steps to curb the spread of the virus. The source of the outbreak isn't known, but it might be related to contact with wild birds.

Taiwan's H5N5 outbreak is part of sporadic events involving the strain that have been occurring since September 2019. The latest began Apr 27, striking a commercial farm housing native chickens in Yunlin County. The virus killed 1,780 of 14,734 birds, and the rest were destroyed as part of the outbreak response.
May 19 OIE report on H5N8 in Iraq
May 18 OIE report on H5N5 in Taiwan

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