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Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 20 Jan 2017



 NI bird flu prevention measures extended until mid-March [Farmers Journal , 20 Jan 2017]

By Thomas Hubert

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A decision is expected shortly regarding similar measures in the Republic.

Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has decided to extend the prevention zone covering the country until 16 March.

DAERA said in a statement this Friday that the decision was made in light of continuing findings of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza virus in Britain and in the Republic of Ireland.

Cases were identified earlier this week in a wild swan in Co Tipperary and on a turkey farm in England.

The restrictions were introduced for one month on 23 December across the island of Ireland. A separate decision is expected before the initial 30-day period expires on Monday in the Republic.

“Within the prevention zone, all keepers of poultry and captive birds, including small backyard flocks, are required to keep their birds indoors or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds,” said Northern Ireland’s chief veterinary officer Robert Huey, adding that failure to comply could result in prosecution. “Even when birds are housed, there is still a risk of infection, and biosecurity should not be compromised,” he added. “Clothing and equipment should be disinfected, the movement of poultry should be reduced and contact between poultry and wild birds should be minimised.”

Gatherings of poultry and game birds, ducks, geese and swans are also prohibited.

There has been no case of H5N8 bird flu in Northern Ireland so far. Three cases have been confirmed in wild birds in the Republic.

Farmers and members of the public are invited to report incidents where any at-risk bird species (wildfowl or gulls) or five or more birds of any other species are found dead in the same location and at the same time. The DAERA helpline is open on 0300 200 7840, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.



 Kazakhstan confirms H5 bird flu in wild swans [Al Jazeera, 20 Jan 2017]

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The highly contagious outbreak of bird flu was found in wild swans [Koca Sulejmanovic/EPA]

Two swans were found dead in the coastal city of Aktau in the west of the country, Kazakh agriculture ministry says.

Kazakhstan has confirmed an outbreak of the highly contagious H5 bird flu virus in wild swans, by the Caspian Sea.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), citing a report from the Kazakh agriculture ministry, said on Friday that two swans were found dead in the coastal city of Aktau in the west of the country.

Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since late last year, leading to large-scale slaughtering of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China.

Last month, Slovakia also reported an avian influenza outbreak, and more than 22.5 million were culled in South Korea.

The strain of flu found in birds sometimes migrates to humans, which could be fatal.

This has worried the public health community. Some predict a worldwide epidemic if human-to-human transition becomes possible, according to a study by Yale University.

Kazakhstan is due to host the Syria peace talks in the capital Astana on January 23.

Delegates from Turkey, Iran, Russia and Syria's opposition groups are descending into the country to discuss a possible solution for the six-year conflict.

Bird flu sample in Hong Kong triggers health scare



 Kazakhstan confirms H5 bird flu in wild swans: OIE [Reuters, 20 Jan 2017]

Kazakhstan confirmed an outbreak of highly contagious H5 bird flu virus in wild swans by the Caspian Sea, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Friday, citing a report from the Kazakh agriculture ministry.

Two swans were found dead in the coastal city of Aktau in the west of the country, the report said.

Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since late last year, leading to large-scale slaughtering of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Bate Felix)



 Bird Flu in Uganda Causes Mass Death of Migratory and Domestic Birds [Counsel & Heal News, 20 Jan 2017]

by SAVITHA .C.MUPPALA

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Government of Uganda has issued a bird flu alert (Photo : Kenya NTV/YouTube screenshot)

The government of Uganda has issued a bird flu alert after tests on samples collected from a beach on Lake Victoria, as well as central Uganda tested positive for the presence of Avian flu among migratory birds. The Avian Flu infection is thought to have led to mass deaths of birds in this area.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture, domestic chickens and ducks as well as migratory white-winged black terns are infected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI.

The statement also warned that some of the strains can affect humans, although further tests need to be carried out to establish the identity of the strain affecting the birds, reveals News 24. According to the ministry, this is the first time Uganda is experiencing a bird flu outbreak.

The authorities carried out tests after fishermen reported large scale deaths of birds on a beach. According to the agriculture ministry, bird flu was found to have infected birds in two locations. One location was on the banks of Lake Victoria near Entebbe and another was 120 km West of Kampala in the Masaka district.

Authorities were quick to take action in Masaka after they found that five domestic ducks and a hen in Masaka tested positive for the bird flu infection. Poultry was kept inside to avoid spread of infection and also any spread of infection from migratory birds, reports The New York Times.

Christopher Kibazanga, Minister for agriculture, animals and fisheries, clarified that fishermen had initially reported the mass death of wild birds on Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria. Later reports revealed that tests conducted on samples were positive for the virulent strain of Avian influenza.

To quote the statement released by the government, "Samples tested positive with the highly pathogenic avian influenza that affects both humans and animals and which causes a high number of deaths in both species."

The government has issued an advisory against consumption of birds and animals found dead.

Tagsbird flu, bird flu in kenya, Bird Flu in Uganda, Terns wild ducks, domestic ducs, avian influenza, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza



 France says duck cull mostly over as bird flu stabilizes [Channel News Asia, 20 Jan 2017]


PARIS: France will scale back preventive slaughtering of ducks to counter bird flu after the culling of 800,000 birds this month helped slow the spread of the disease in the southwest, the country's agriculture minister said on Thursday.

France resorted to a mass cull after the highly contagious H5N8 strain of bird flu started spreading among farms in the southwest, the country's main production zone for the duck and goose liver speciality foie gras.

"We have passed the peak in preventive culling," Stephane Le Foll told reporters. "We have zones where the situation has started to stabilise."

The 800,000 birds culled preventively were in addition to about 1 million that died or were slaughtered at farms where the H5N8 virus was detected, he said.

France had confirmed 152 cases of H5N8 bird flu on farms as of Thursday, and is one of a number of European countries to have been affected by the virus since late last year.

The outbreak has exasperated farmers in southwest France who already experienced an epidemic of different bird flu strains a year ago, which led authorities to suspend foie gras production.

Le Foll pledged that remaining compensation due from last year's crisis would be paid in April and that farmers hit again this year would start receiving from March further aid worth "several tens of millions of euros", he said.

Last year's compensation package was estimated at around 130 million euros, co-financed by France and the European Union.

The authorities and the foie gras industry would also study longer-term measures to reduce bird flu risks, including a rethink of the transporting of animals which has been blamed for spreading the disease in southwest France, Le Foll said.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)



 Avian Flu [Yale Global Online, 20 Jan 2017]


The Next Pandemic?

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Thai workers remove chickens to be destroyed at a farm in the central province of Suphanburi, Thailand

H5N1. This string of numbers and letters - representing a strain of avian influenza, or bird flu - has the international public health community deeply concerned.

Avian flu is common and often spread by migratory birds. In recent years, sporadic cases of bird flu have affected poultry. Most ominous is when the virus mutates to affect humans, as well - and this is what seems to have happened. After people in contact with infected chicken fell ill in Southeast Asia, the alarm bell began to ring. In May 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 97 humans had contracted the avian flu since late 2003, and 53 of those infected died - a 53.7 percent fatality rate.


A Timeline of Avian Flu

YaleGlobal Flash Presentation

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http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/avian2.mp4

If the virus acquires genetic refinements enabling human-to-human transmission, the situation may become dire. Many experts predict a worldwide epidemic that could, in worst case, rival the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With the ubiquity of modern air travel, the virus could spread throughout the world in a matter of weeks.

Tragically, such a pandemic holds the potential to intensify the divisions between the world’s rich and poor: While wealthier nations would have access to limited supplies of vaccines and antiviral drugs, the poor would suffer for lack of treatment. Health officials, therefore, underscore the importance of preventive measures and preparation, lest the world see a new pandemic.

In this Special Report, YaleGlobal examines the nature and impact - both current and potential - of the avian influenza.

What is Avian Influenza?

There are several strains of avian influenza, but the H5N1 virus - which occurs mainly in birds and, less commonly, pigs - poses the greatest threat to humans. Though bird flu generally does not infect humans, several cases have been reported since 1997. Because of its unique ability to mutate rapidly and acquire genes from viruses infecting other animal species, H5N1 is particularly insidious. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms range from typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases, and other life-threatening complications.

Selected articles about Avian Flu

H5N1. A strain of avian influenza has everyone concerned

Factory Farming Blamed for Massive Bird Flu Outbreak: Experts
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/factory-farming-blamed-massive-bird-flu-outbreak-experts

Bird Flu Strain in China “Passed Between Humans”
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/bird-flu-strain-china-passed-between-humans

H7N9 Bird Flu Is “Serious Threat,” Researchers Warn
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/h7n9-bird-flu-serious-threat-researchers-warn

WHO Puzzled by Deadly Chinese Bird-Flu Strain
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/who-puzzled-deadly-chinese-bird-flu-strain

CDC Begins Work on Vaccine for China Flu
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/cdc-begins-work-vaccine-china-flu

Is a Pandemic Being Born?
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/pandemic-being-born

Swine Flu Provides a Test of Employers’ Crisis Plans
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/swine-flu-provides-test-employers-crisis-plans

Reminder From a Five-Year-Old
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/reminder-five-year-old

10 Genes, Furiously Evolving
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/10-genes-furiously-evolving

Swine Flu: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Outbreak
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/swine-flu-5-things-you-need-know-about-outbreak

Bird Flu Remains Dangerous as It Continues to Mutate
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/bird-flu-remains-dangerous-it-continues-mutate

Indonesia Relents Over Bird-Flu Sample Release
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/indonesia-relents-over-bird-flu-sample-release

Vietnam Plays Wary Host to APEC
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/vietnam-plays-wary-host-apec

How Academic Flap Hurt World Effort on Chinese Bird Flu
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/how-academic-flap-hurt-world-effort-chinese-bird-flu

Asian Countries Gear Up to Tackle Bird-Flu Threat
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/asian-countries-gear-tackle-bird-flu-threat

The Spreading Bird-Flu Menace Reaches Europe
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/spreading-bird-flu-menace-reaches-europe

Migrant Birds "Should Not Be Bird Flu Scapegoats"
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/migrant-birds-should-not-be-bird-flu-scapegoats

Containing a Pandemic
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/containing-pandemic

China Bug – Is It Ebola-like Bird Flu?
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/china-bug-it-ebola-bird-flu

Avian Flu Found in Migrating Geese in China
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/avian-flu-found-migrating-geese-china

Killing the Chickens Before They Kill Us
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/killing-chickens-they-kill-us

Genetic Analyses Suggest Bird Flu Virus is Evolving
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/genetic-analyses-suggest-bird-flu-virus-evolving

How Dangerous is the Bird Flu?
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/how-dangerous-bird-flu

Preparing for a New Global Threat – Part II
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/preparing-new-global-threat-part-ii

Preparing for a New Global Threat – Part I
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/preparing-new-global-threat-part-i

Bird Flu Spreads Among Java's Pigs
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/bird-flu-spreads-among-javas-pigs

Preparing for the Next Pandemic
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/preparing-next-pandemic

Evolution of Bird Flu Virus May Favor Pandemic – WHO
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/evolution-bird-flu-virus-may-favor-pandemic-who

WHO, FAO Call for Global Fight to Halt Bird Flu
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/who-fao-call-global-fight-halt-bird-flu

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The Spread of Avian Flu

All viruses, including influenza, must invade living cells in order to reproduce. If both a human influenza virus and an avian influenza virus enter the same cell, they may randomly trade genetic material. This process, known as reassortment, gives rise to new viruses that resemble both the human and avian strains.

Recent research suggests that the trigger for the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was originally an avian influenza virus. Currently, human-to-human transmission is not a threat, though given the adaptability of H5N1, such a genetic mutation could be possible in the future. In some countries in the region, the virus has been identified in pigs, which according to the journal Nature, “can harbor both bird and human flu viruses, and act as a ‘mixing vessel’ for the emergence of a strain of avian flu that can easily infect humans.” Since humans have not previously developed immunity to the H5N1 virus, a pandemic could be particularly devastating. And because the virus mutates so rapidly, it may be quick to develop resistance to treatments. For this reason, preventive efforts are essential.

Total Reported Human Cases

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Current Data from the World Health Organization
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 Ministry of health says 20 people suspected of having bird flu are under surveillance [NTV, 20 Jan 2017]


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Officials at the ministry of health say their blood samples have been taken for tests to ascertain whether they have contracted the H5N1 virus that causes bird flu.

The ministry of the health says at least 20 people at Lutembe bay in Entebbe and Busi island in Wakiso district have been put under surveillance after being suspected of contracting avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu.

Officials at the ministry of health say their blood samples have been taken for tests to ascertain whether they have contracted the H5N1 virus.

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 15 till 19 Jan 2017



 French foie gras farmers angry as bird flu grips region [Reuters 19 Jan 2017]


By Sybille de La Hamaide, NOGARO, FRANCE

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FILE PHOTO: Workers gather ducks to be culled in Latrille, France, January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

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FILE PHOTO: A Mulard duck is force fed by an employee at a poultry farm in Montsoue, France, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

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FILE PHOTO: Ducks at a farm in Saint Griede, France, January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

The mood among the 300 foie gras producers packed into a town hall in southwest France last week was far from festive, having been forced into a huge cull of birds caused by a second bird flu outbreak in as many years at a loss of millions of euros.

"We have to put this fire out before we can even think about producing again," duck farmer Christophe Barrailh told them.

The head of the foie gras producers' group Cifog was speaking to farmers in Nogaro in the Gers, the French region by far the worst affected by the fast-spreading virus.

A similar outbreak a year ago sent foie gras output plunging 25 percent. That caused a 10 percent jump in retail prices of the delicacy that is produced by force-feeding poultry to enlarge their livers, a practice criticized by animal rights campaigners who see the methods as cruel.

Last year's price rise was not enough to spare the pain of duck farmers. Most are still waiting to receive 30 percent of the compensation promised them after the 2015/16 season's outbreak caused them to halt rearing for several months.

Prices will now have to increase again, Cifog said.

And with no date set for output to resume after this year's cull, several farmers - some wearing yellow shirts marked "angry ducks" - reacted loudly during the meeting.

"If we can't restart, how are we going to eat?," one asked.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll sought to reassure farmers last week, saying all culls would be compensated and that missing aid from last year, essentially from the European Union, would eventually be paid.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the EU, reported 152 outbreaks of the H5N8 type of bird flu in farms by Jan. 19. Of these, 72 were in the Gers.

The H5N8 virus has been spreading across Europe since late last year, with more than 20 countries recording cases. The strain has never been found in humans and is different from ones found in Asia, notably H7N9, which has killed more than 20 people in China.

WHAT WILL I TELL MY BANKER?

With the virus still not under control, it is too early to give a date for output to restart where culls had been made, scientists say, a response that has upset many in Nogaro.

Stronger security measures required after last year's outbreak including shelters, disinfection tools and roofs to protect farmed ducks from wild birds, the main carrier of the virus, have forced many farmers to take out punishing loans.

"What will I tell my banker if you can't give me a date?," one young farmer shouted at the meeting.

Around 600,000 ducks have either died from the virus or been slaughtered in infected farms as of Wednesday. A further 920,000 were to be culled in France's preventive eradication plan, Cifog's general secretary Marie-Pierre Pe said.

This will lead to a loss for farmers estimated at 120 million euros ($128 million), she said.

Pierre Peres, who produces foie gras and other specialty foods, had to cull his 20,000 ducks late last year after discovering the H5N8 virus in two of six premises on his farm in Saint-Michel, tucked in the rolling hills of the Gers.

The bird flu virus entered the farm even though he had invested 60,000 euros on preventive measures, Peres, wearing blue overboots in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading, told Reuters during a tour of his now empty farm.

"My son, who was about to join the farm, is now thinking about doing something else because our job is so fragile," he said.

"One blow is okay, after two, you start doubting."

($1 = 0.9370 euros)

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Andrew Callus and David Evans)



 China reports bird flu in Wuhan zoo [NEWS, 19 Jan 2017]

China reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus among swans at a zoo in the city of Wuhan, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said.

Of 314 swans at risk from the outbreak, 99 died from the virus and the rest were slaughtered, according to the report posted by the Paris-based OIE.

China has been hit by outbreaks of other bird flu strains in recent weeks, including the H7N9 virus that has caused a number of human deaths. The H5N8 strain has never been found in humans.



 Department confirms third case of bird flu in Ireland [Irish Farmers Journal 19 Jan 2017]

By Amy Nora Fitzgibbon

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This is the third case detected in wild birds in Ireland.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed a third case of avian influenza in Ireland, this time in Co Tipperary.

The Department has confirmed that the H5N8 strain of avian influenza or bird flu was confirmed in the second week of 2017 in a whooper swan in Borrisokane, Co Tipperary.

This is the third case detected in wild birds in Ireland since the current outbreak of H5N8 began in Europe at the end of October 2016. No cases have yet been detected in poultry in the country. The Department has reiterated the Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s advice to the public that the risk to humans from this particular strain is considered to be very low as there have been no human deaths reported from the virus so far.

Meanwhile, the fourth case in farmed birds in Britain was identified this Monday at a 6,000-turkey farm in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. Some birds died of the disease and the others were culled.

Housing

Since 23 December 2016, all poultry farmers in Ireland have been required under legislation to house their flock in order to minimise the risk of poultry coming into contact with wild birds. The legislation will be reviewed on 23 January.

However, the Department has said it will not be checking poultry farms for compliance with the housing legislation, adding that “responsibility for compliance lies with the owners of the birds”.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Nigel Renaghan, IFA poultry committee chair, reiterated the concern he expressed last week that the Department is not communicating directly with bird owners.

“The Department says it has a database of registered backyard flocks but that means there are also flocks that are not registered,” he said.

“Department officials are going to have to find other ways of communicating with these bird owners because backyard flocks pose a massive threat to the commercial flocks,” Renaghan continued. “The Department should also be driving home the importance of housing and general biosecurity on poultry farms on a constant basis via social media and other media until the threat is lifted.”

Compensation

The Department of Agriculture has met with stakeholders in the poultry industry to discuss compensation options for farmers in the event that birds would have to be culled. A source from the meeting told the Irish Farmers Journal that the Department is commissioning a company in the UK to create a set of compensation values for stock in the event of a forced bird cull. The source added that the industry is pushing for these values to be finalised before an outbreak hits commercial flocks.

Since the first case of the current H5N8 outbreak was identified in Hungary on 28 October, thousands of farm birds have been culled across mainland Europe and the UK.



 Second case of bird flu found in Chile, turkeys culled [Reuters, 18 Jan 2017]

Bird flu has been found at a turkey farm in central Chile, the second case of the disease detected in the country this month, agriculture officials said on Wednesday.

Respiratory problems had been seen in birds at a turkey farm in the central Valparaiso region, the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) said in a statement.

The strain was confirmed as H7, with low pathogenicity. No birds had died, it said, and around 35,000 turkeys would be culled and preventative measures taken to stop the disease spreading.

The case follows one two weeks ago detected at a different facility, also in the Valparaiso region and run by the same company, Agrosuper's [AGRSU.UL] Sopraval unit. The two outbreaks were connected, SAG said.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; editing by Grant McCool)



 Bird Flu experts sent to Masaka [KFM, 18 Jan 2017]


The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries has sent experts to further investigate into the outbreak of the deadly bird flu in Masaka District.

Last week, the ministries of Health and Agriculture declared an outbreak of a rare strain of bird flu identified as ‘Avian Influenza’ type H5N1 in the districts of Masaka, Kalangala and Wakiso, all in central Uganda.

Dr Kenneth Mugabi, a senior veterinary officer in-charge of epidemic animal diseases at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, has led the team of experts that took fresh samples from affected birds for further examination.

The team has combed landing sites and villages in worst hit Bukataka Sub-county to assess the magnitude of the problem.

According to Dr.Mugabi Avian Flu virus has a case fatality rate of 50 per cent in human beings, this means that if acquired; five of every 10 infected human beings die.

The announcement by of the outbreak of the disease on government on Sunday has led to the ban of importation of Uganda’s poultry products by Kenya and Rwanda.



 Greece reports outbreak of bird flu [Yahoo7 Finance Australia, 18 Jan 2017]

Greece reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus among laying hens on a farm in the southern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said.

The country had already reported a case of H5N8 in a swan in December but this would be the first outbreak on a farm.

Some 28,000 hens died of the virus, the report said.

The H5N8 Bird flu virus has spread among European countries in recent months with more than 20 countries hit so far, according to the OIE.



 Bird flu: Third case confirmed in migrating bird in Ireland [Belfast Telegraph 18 Jan 2017]

by Margaret Donnelly

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Whooper Swans arrive each year to spend the winter in Ireland

A third case of bird flu has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, this time in a Whooper swan - a species that migrates to Ireland for the winter months.

It comes just days after the Republic's Department of Agriculture confirmed the second case of avian influenza H5N8 in a wigeon in Co Galway and one in Wexford in December.

No outbreaks have been detected in poultry in Ireland so far.

It is understood that the case was identified in a Whooper swan near Borrisokane, North Tipperary.

After the second case, the Department emphasised the requirement to confine poultry and other birds, and to apply strict bio-security measures to prevent the introduction of avian influenza.

Poultry flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.

The Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported world-wide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.

The public is advised not to handle sick or dead birds. Department staff will continue to collect sufficient birds for testing to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically, in different species and over time.



 Third case of bird flu confirmed in migrating bird in Tipperary [Farm Ireland, 18 Jan 2017]

by Margaret Donnelly
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Whooper Swans arrive each year to spend the winter in Ireland.

A third case of bird flu has been confirmed in Ireland, this time in a Whooper swan - a species that migrates to Ireland for the winter months.

It comes just days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the second case of avian influenza H5N8 in a wigeon in Co Galway and one in Wexford in December.
No outbreaks have been detected in poultry in Ireland so far.

It is understood that the case was identified in a Whooper swan near Borrisokane, North Tipperary.

After the second case, the Department emphasised the requirement to confine poultry and other birds, and to apply strict bio-security measures to prevent the introduction of avian influenza.

Poultry flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported world-wide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.

The public is advised not to handle sick or dead birds. Department staff will continue to collect sufficient birds for testing to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically, in different species and over time.

The Department is being assisted in this task by patrols carried out by rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Weekly updates on wild birds which test positive for the virus will be published on the Department’s website.



 Third case of bird flu identified in wild bird in Ireland [RTE, 18 Jan 2017]

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Whooper swans migrate to wetlands throughout Ireland from October to April

A third case of bird flu has been confirmed in a wild bird in Ireland.

It was identified in a whooper swan that was found in Borrisokane in Co Tipperary.

It follows a separate discovery of the avian influenza virus in a wild bird in both Co Galway and Co Wexford in the past few weeks.

Last month, the Department of Agriculture activated regulations requiring all poultry and captive birds to be kept within a secure building amid concerns over bird flu.

As a result, all birds at Dublin Zoo were moved indoors for the foreseeable future due to the threat.

Nearly 150 ostriches, penguins, flamingos and other birds have been moved to a "back house" zoo facility.

The public is being advised not to handle dead or sick birds.

No outbreaks have been detected in poultry in Ireland so far.



 GUJARAT HIGH COURT SEEKS ACTION PLAN TAKEN TO PREVENT BIRD FLU IN MEMNAGAR [Pune Mirror, 17 Jan 2017]

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Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court today asked the state government and the city civic body to furnish an affidavit on the action plan followed to tackle bird flu reported at Memnagar and steps to prevent its outbreak in the future.

Stating that the matter is "very serious," a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi today directed the state government and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to file a reply by Friday on a PIL raising questions on preparedness by the civic authorities to tackle the outbreak of the disease in Memnagar.

The PIL filed by 92-year-old resident Bhagwatiben Brahmbhatt also questioned the lack of action plan on AMC's part in preventing the outbreak of the deadly disease, after one sq km zone of Memnagar - a thickly populated residential locality - was declared as bird flu affected area, and 10 sq kms as 'bird flu alert zone' through a district administration notification issued on January 12.

The PIL also sought a report on how 1,400 birds were brought into the premises of an animal rescue centre run by Sarv Dharm Trust in Memnagar and later culled and buried in the same locality.

According to the PIL, as many as 200 out of the 1,400 birds reportedly died from bird flu, as ascertained by a Forensic Science Laboratory report.

"After they were found affected, birds were culled and buried at the same spot, which will affect public at large. A large private school is in the vicinity, raising the possibility of the bird flu spreading across the city," the petition said.

"No order has been issued directing schools and gardens in the area and adjoining localities to remain shut, while danger sign boards along with presence of police personnel have scared people, affecting their daily life," it further said.



 Kenya, Rwanda ban Uganda poultry after bird flu outbreak [Deutche Welle, 17 Jan 2017]


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Kenya and Rwanda have banned poultry products from Uganda after a confirmed outbreak of bird flu. Ugandan authorities detected the virus after a mass die-off of birds on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Kenya's Chief Veterinary Officer Juma Ngeiywa told DW that a newly-imposed ban of poultry products from Uganda would remain in place until the situation in Uganda returns returns to normal.

“It is risky to us. We have to ban the movement of poultry products and birds from Uganda," he said.

Kenyan authorities have also taken further measures to protect the population.
"We are involving the Kenya Wildlife Service and the counties along the border. We are using local radio to talk to the people about the imminent risks," Ngweiya added.

Rwanda's Agriculture Minister Geraldine Mukeshimana announced a similar ban on Monday. It does not only apply to poultry products from Uganda but from all countries in Europe where bird flu has been detected.

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Health officials in protective suits transport sacks of poultry in China in 2014. Cases of bird flu have been on the rise since last year

The authorities are urging people not to eat birds and other wild animals that are found dead.

The United Kingdom and the United States are among countries that have advised citizens travelling to Uganda to avoid visiting areas affected by the virus.

Die-off on Lake Victoria

The first suspected cases of bird flu were discovered early this year after fishermen reported mass die-off of wild birds on the shores of Lake Victoria.

The birds were found in a wetland near Entebbe which attracts bird watchers from all over the world. The town lies some 40 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala.

Over the weekend, the virus was also discovered in domestic ducks in the town of Masaka in western Uganda.

Samples from the two sites tested positive for HPAI. According to the World Health
Organization, some strains of the virus can also spread to humans and cause severe respiratory infections. The flu can be particularly dangerous for young children.

Uganda's agriculture ministry warned that the HPAI vius can affect both humans and animals and could "cause a high number of deaths in both species."

"The symptoms can be sometimes mild but can also be lethal when the disease affects the organs, such as the lungs and the kidneys," the Ugandan health mininistry's Anthony Mbonye said. But he added that the risk of transmissions from birds to humans was low.

Global problem

Bird flu has been rampant worldwide since last year. The H5N8 strain of the virus has been spreading through poultry farms in some parts of Europe, including France and Germany.

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A man with a facial mask pushes a wheelbarrow with dead birds (file). Poultry traders and farmers suffered huge losses after a bird flu outbreak in Nigeria in 2006

In Asia, it has been detected in South Korea and in some parts of China. A man in central Henan Province was the latest casualty of the deadly H7N9 virus. He was diagnosed on January 10 and died the following day.

Uganda is among the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that face a high risk of a bird flu outbreak. Several species of migratory birds that are potential carriers of the virus regularly crisscross the country.



 Uganda in Danger of Possible Avian Flu Outbreak [Latinos Health News 17 Jan 2017]

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Uganda State Minister of Agriculture, Christopher Kibazanga declares nationwide warning of a possible Avian Flu outbreak (Photo : NBS TV Uganda/Youtube)

Uganda's Lake Victoria shores were filled with dead birds on Sunday. The cause is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, mainly known as the Avian flu. The virus had found its way from white-winged black terns to domesticated birds such as chickens and ducks. Both in separate locations

According to VOA, there are two sites that the samples were taken from, including Lake Victoria's beach and somewhere around central Uganda. Both sites showed positive HPAI and there are risks that the virus could affect civilians. Uganda Ministry of Agriculture states that the country should ready for a "catastrophe".

Furthermore, it remains still unclear which HPAI virus that attacked the birds. There's a possibility that it's from the terns, which migrated from Europe. The are also reports that the virus had struck a few places around France and Germany from which the terns had migrated from for winter. But the virus strain is harmless to humans. Last year, however, there's reports from the Middle East that the same virus has detected there. The situation led to the slaughter of farmed birds.

Eye Witness News further reports that the Ugandan government had a series of tests and
states that HPAI could be lethal to humans. However, they did not tell which Avian Flu that hit the birds. One of the first reports about this was from fishermen on January 2, which was first described as "mass death of wild birds". On January 13, five ducks and hen in Masaka found infected with the virus.

This is the first time that Uganda was hit by the infamous avian flu. The virus itself originates from Asia and proved lethal to both humans and bird-like creatures. The Ugandan government has announced a nationwide warning of the virus's outbreak in the country.



 Second Lincolnshire outbreak of bird flu confirmed [Lincolnshire Live, 17 Jan 2017]

By Charlotte Jones

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A second Lincolnshire outbreak has been confirmed.

A second outbreak of bird flu in Lincolnshire has been confirmed.

The strain of bird flu has been found at a turkey farm in East Lindsey.

Some of the 6,000 turkeys have already died and the rest will have to be culled.

A 3km protection zone has been put in place around the farm.

Although authorities have not yet identified the farm, it is said to be near to the turkey farm in Tetney which suffered the first bird flu outbreak in the UK on December 16, 2016.

Most of the 2,500 birds at the farm died and the rest were culled.

Experts say it's unlikely there's a direct link between the two but an investigation is underway.

A strain of avian flu is currently circling in mainland Europe - leading to the culling of hundreds of thousands of birds.

Outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 strain of avian flu have been reported in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland.

In Holland, 190,000 ducks have been culled in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

After the first case in Tetney two wild wood pigeons were found dead in Leicestershire and Somerset and a dead wild peregrine falcon was found with H5N8 in Scotland.

This is the same strain which was found in a wild wigeon in Wales.

There is no suggestion that the disease has spread from the Tetney farm.

The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading with restrictions in place around the affected premises.

"A full investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.

"This finding reminds us that we must all be vigilant for signs of disease and take steps to minimise the risk of birds catching the disease from wild birds – either directly or through the environment.

"This means complying with the legal requirement currently in place to house birds or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds and following strict biosecurity measures to minimise the risk of avian flu spreading via the environment."

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone is currently in place, requiring keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

This means all poultry keepers – even those who just keep a few birds as pets – must do everything they can to keep them separate from wild birds and minimise the risk of them catching avian flu via the environment.

The Chief Vet has issued practical advice for people with backyard poultry on how to limit the risk to their birds.

This includes keeping birds in a suitable building where possible and taking precautions such as putting up netting, keeping food and water inside and disinfecting footwear, vehicles and equipment after contact with birds.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.



 Bird flu outbreak hits North Korea [Dailr NK, 17 Jan 2017]

by Seol Song Ah

An outbreak of avian influenza (AI) has been confirmed in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province. Due to the discovery, Ungok Ranch, which is responsible for producing meat for Kim Jong Un and high-ranking cadres, has reportedly been placed on emergency alert for preventive measures.

Although the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper previously ran a story (on December 29, 2016) about the risks associated with AI and preventative countermeasures, there was no mention of an outbreak within North Korea at the time.

"In mid-December, there was an outbreak of diarrhea among the chickens at a farm village near Sunchon City, South Pyongan Province. After conducting a focused investigation, the Sunchon Veterinary Medical Center declared that the illness was due to AI [known informally as bird flu or avian flu] and initiated a quarantine of the Ungok Farm to prevent the virus spreading,” a source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK on January 5.

The Ungok Ranch occupies a vast tract of land across South Pyongan Province near Anju City and Sunchon City. The farm not only breeds chicken and ducks, but also raises various other types of poultry including pheasant and pigeons, feeding them on special high-quality grasses and weed mixtures. The farm is specially managed by the state to provide high-quality food for Kim Jong Un, his family, and the privileged class in Pyongyang with the objective of improving their longevity and health.

She added, "The Ungok Ranch directly produces food for the Marshal (Kim Jong Un), therefore, the farm executives will face political repercussions if it is confirmed that the virus has spread across the farm. To prevent the spread of AI, the veterinary medical center of the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the provincial veterinary units have been mobilized to cordon off the farm and are conducting frequent sanitation and sterilization inspections.”

AI is an acute contagious viral disease that infects chickens, ducks, and wild birds. While people are seldom infected by AI, the authorities are carrying out thorough preventive measures to eliminate the possibility of it harming Kim Jong Un's health.

A separate source in South Pyongan Province reported that the local hygiene medical centers have been conducting bi-weekly immunity inspections of livestock, vaccinating animals with poor inspection results in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases including AI.

"The city hygiene centers are holding a meeting of the inminban (people's unit) to explain the symptoms of chickens infected with AI to the residents, ordering them to follow hygiene regulations, and encouraging them to gargle with salt water or drink garlic juice to enhance their immunity. They have also banned sales of chicken at the markets," the source said.

However, an additional source noted that chicken meat being circulated in the markets in South Pyongan Province has risen markedly, suggesting that the chicken meat allocated for the elite class is now likely being illegally distributed in the market in large quantities, rather than being destroyed.

"Although the sale of chicken has been prohibited due to the outbreak of AI, chicken meat is still being sold in the markets. The animals that have died of AI have not been destroyed." she noted.

"The market price of chicken eggs has also dropped due to the outbreak of AI. Eggs used to be sold at 800-900 KPW but they are now selling for 600 KPW. Local farmers breeding chickens are in difficult times as the price of chicken meat and eggs has plummeted."



 Bird flu raises fears among fishing communities in Entebbe and Masaka [NTV, 17 Jan 2017]

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Joseph Lwanga is a fish farmer near Lutembe bay and he is one of those for whom the ministry of health’s directive not to come into contact with the dead birds came a little too late.
On Sunday government declared an outbreak of bird flu in two specific areas Lutembe bay in Wakiso district, and Bukakata sub-county in Masaka district after it investigated reports of massive deaths of the white-winged black terns, a migratory species of birds along the shores of Lake Victoria in the two areas.

Joseph Lwanga is a fish farmer near Lutembe bay and he is one of those for whom the ministry of health’s directive not to come into contact with the dead birds came a little too late.

Lwanga is now a worried man not just for himself but also his fish because he says he had been discarding the dead bird's bodies with his bare hands and he is also afraid that their droppings might have contaminated the fish.

Lwanga witnessed many government officials visiting the place and taking samples until it was announced on Sunday that the area is infested with bird flu.

One species, the white-winged black turn so far has tested positive, and residents here have reacted to it, saying government rushed to conclusion.

In Bukakata sub county in Masaka , some domestic birds especially ducks are reported has died of the disease



 Gujarat HC seeks action plan taken to prevent bird flu in Memnagar [The Indian Express, 17 Jan 2017]

According to the PIL, as many as 200 out of the 1,400 birds reportedly died from bird flu, as ascertained by a Forensic Science Laboratory report.

The Gujarat High Court Tuesday asked the state government and the city civic body to furnish an affidavit on the action plan followed to tackle bird flu reported at Memnagar and steps to prevent its outbreak in the future. Stating that the matter is “very serious,” a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi Tuesday directed the state government and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to file a reply by Friday on a PIL raising questions on preparedness by the civic authorities to tackle the outbreak of the disease in Memnagar.

Both Navjot, Amarinder Have Betrayed Their Mother Parties: Parkash Singh Badal

The PIL filed by 92-year-old resident Bhagwatiben Brahmbhatt also questioned the lack of action plan on AMC’s part in preventing the outbreak of the deadly disease, after one sq km zone of Memnagar – a thickly populated residential locality – was declared as bird flu affected area, and 10 sq kms as ‘bird flu alert zone’ through a district administration notification issued on January 12.

The PIL also sought a report on how 1,400 birds were brought into the premises of an animal rescue centre run by Sarv Dharm Trust in Memnagar and later culled and buried in the same locality.

According to the PIL, as many as 200 out of the 1,400 birds reportedly died from bird flu, as ascertained by a Forensic Science Laboratory report.

“After they were found affected, birds were culled and buried at the same spot, which will affect public at large. A large private school is in the vicinity, raising the possibilityof the bird flu spreading across the city,” the petition said.

“No order has been issued directing schools and gardens in the area and adjoining localities to remain shut, while danger sign boards along with presence of police personnel have scared people, affecting their daily life,” it further said.



 Bird-Flu: Government suspends import of poultry from Uganda [The New Times, 17 Jan 2017]

By: EMMANUEL NTIRENGANYA

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has announced new measures intended to curb the outbreak of avian influenza in poultry, commonly known as Bird-Flu.

According to a statement from the ministry, the measures including imposing a temporary ban on chicken and other poultry products countries where the disease has been identified, including neighboring Uganda; and inspection of birds at forests and parks.

The measures are being put in place following the outbreak of the disease in the neighbouring country, in areas like Entebbe and Masaka, according to reports.

The viral disease had earlier been confirmed in some of European countries such as Hungary, Germany, France and Denmark among others.

“The importation of chickens and poultry products (eggs and meat) from Uganda or any other European countries where this disease has been identified are temporally suspended,” reads part of the statement signed by Agriculture Minister Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana.

The established symptoms of the diseases, according to the statement, include head and neck and esophagus swelling (inflammation), complicated breathing, cough and diarrhea.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), public health services of England, Scotland and Wales, within days of symptoms appearing, potentially fatal complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure may develop.

Prompt treatment with antiviral medication may help prevent complications and reduce the risk of death, NHS states.

Vincent Ssempijja, Uganda Agriculture Minister was quoted in the media confirming that specimens taken from white-winged tern birds that died recently in Wakiso District, “unfortunately have turned positive to the very serious disease; the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)”.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHOA), avian influenza viruses are highly contagious, extremely variable viruses that are widespread in birds. Wild birds in aquatic habitats are thought to be their natural reservoir hosts, but domesticated poultry are readily infected.

MINAGRI has requested organs in charge of security, customs, migration and immigration at borders, park and lake wardens and local government to implement and monitor these measures so that the disease does not spread to Rwanda.

The Rwanda Agriculture Board head of animal resources department, Dr. Christine
Kanyandekwe told The New Times on Tuesday that the disease’s virus is very dynamic and that its vaccine needs gradual research like after every six months’ period to ensure its efficacy.

“The avian flu’s virus is so complex such that people prioritise other preventive majors,’ she said.

She noted that all the customs agents have a copy of the statement issued by MINAGRI and that a meeting was held yesterday (Monday) between workers of the three ministries at borders so that they implement the instructions.

Monitoring wild birds

However a complex issue is how to control the probable influx of wild infected birds from the neighbouring country or other countries into Rwanda’s forests or national parks.

The Head of Wildlife Veterinary Unit at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Dr. Tony Mudakikwa said that they are going to train their workers mainly in Akagera [National Park] on monitoring the wild bird flock.

“Because the viral disease has already been confirmed in Uganda, it can reach the lakes and Akagera,” he said.

“We are going to carry out training for our workers on how they can do reporting system, how they can carry out early detection and preventive measures and monitoring so as to control the virus,’ he told The New Times on Tuesday.

There are between 4.5 to five million chickens in Rwanda according to RAB’s Dr. Kanyandekwe.



 Bird flu found in 6,000 turkey flock at East Lindsey farm close to first outbreak [BBC News, 17 Jan 2017]


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About 6,000 turkeys at Low Farm in Fulstow was diagnosed with the same H5N8 strain of avian flu found at Austen Fen Farm, near Louth

Bird flu has been confirmed at a farm in Lincolnshire four weeks after it was found at a nearby unit.

A flock of 6,000 turkeys has been diagnosed with the H5N8 strain of avian flu, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Some of the birds at Low Farm in Fulstow, near Louth, East Lindsey, have died. The rest are due to be culled.

Defra said it was "unlikely to be directly linked to the previous case" at the nearby Austen Fen Farm.

A 1.8-mile (3km) protection zone and a six-mile (10km) surveillance area have been set up around Low Farm to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.

'Investigation under way'

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading with restrictions in place around the affected premises.

"A full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection."

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A protection zone at Austen Fen Farm has been removed but Defra is continuing to monitor the premises

The protection zone at Austen Fen Farm, near Louth, was removed on 9 January but surveillance continued at the site, Defra said.

The same strain has been discovered in birds in Settle, North Yorkshire, a swannery in Dorset and flocks in Carmarthenshire, south west Wales.

Last month, the government introduced an avian influenza prevention zone, which lasts until 28
February, to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu after the strain was found in 14 European countries including Germany and France.



 Kenya on health alert after Avian flu is detected in Uganda [Daily Nation, 17 Jan 2017]

By EUNICE KILONZO
By ANDREW BAGALA

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Chinese quarantine workers vaccinate a chicken with avian flu vaccine. Kenya is on a high health alert after the deadly Avian Influenza was detected in dead birds in Uganda at the weekend. PHOTO | AFP

Kenya is on a high health alert after the deadly Avian Influenza was detected in dead birds in Uganda at the weekend.

An official at the Ministry of Health who is not authorised to speak to the media confirmed on Monday that an “outbreak preparedness taskforce” has been activated.

This team, which has networks across the country, will beef up surveillance in entry points, such as airports and on the Busia and Namanga border points.

It will also be involved in a sensitisation campaign to the larger population with information such as warnings against coming into contact with or eating sick or dead birds.

The source said Kenya is awaiting further details from Uganda — such as how many cases have been reported in humans so far— after confirming the Avian flu (H5N1) through multiple tests at both agricultural and human health laboratories.

Kenya can detect and confirm the viral infection through the National Influenza Sentinel laboratory in Nairobi.

Dr Rosemary Sang, a Virologist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, said while Kenya should be worried about an outbreak across its borders, there was no need for panic.

RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

The Avian flu is an infectious disease from birds and is caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. It can be transmitted to human beings, causing severe respiratory infections.

The flu is characterised by a sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache, severe sickness, non-productive cough and sore throat within two to five days and up to 17 days of infection.

In the very young, it can lead to pneumonia and death. It affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and occasionally the lungs. It is treatable with an antiviral drug called Tamiflu.

The Uganda government on Sunday activated its emergency plan for epidemics control after confirming one strain of the disease — one of three types which affects humans, animals and birds, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Humans beings contract the disease through close contact with infected poultry or with objects contaminated by their faecal matter, according to the organisation.

MASSIVE DEATHS

Mr Vincent Ssempijja, the Ugandan Agriculture minister, said specimens taken from white-winged birds that died en masse on Lake Victoria shores in Lutembe, Wakiso District, “unfortunately have turned positive to the very serious disease; the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)”.

His Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, said there had been massive deaths of migratory birds at Lutembe beach due to avian flu and additional cases had been detected 10 days later in ducks and chicken in Masaka District.

“There is a danger, although it isn’t a big risk, that if the disease crosses to human beings, it will give us a big headache,” she said.

Experts from Uganda’s Health ministry headquarters are due to visit the affected areas to assess the extent and impact of the outbreak and work on ways to contain spread.

Mr Robert Sserwanga, a member of the Association of Uganda Poultry Industry, said the disease was in a central region which was home to over nine million commercial birds. “An outbreak of a viral disease means massive depopulation of birds,” he said.

He asked farmers not to confuse the outbreak with other common poultry diseases such as New Castle that carries similar symptoms.



 Croatia to cull poultry near capital due to H5N8 bird flu [Agweek, 16 Jan 2017]

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Oceanbounddb/iStockphoto

ZAGREB — Croatia said on Saturday it had detected H5N8 bird flu among ducks on a farm some 30 km (20 miles) southeast of the capital Zagreb. The Agriculture Ministry said in a statement that all the poultry on the affected farm would be culled, along with all poultry in non-intensive farming in a 3 km radius. "We're undertaking all the necessary measures to isolate the affected poultry that will have to be culled. The owners will be compensated. We're fighting this in the same manner as many other neighbouring countries," Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolusic said. Two weeks ago there was a similar case on another farm in northeastern Croatia.

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread across Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of farmed birds and the confinement of flocks indoors. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Kevin Liffey)




 Odisha: Nearly 100 pigeons die in Kendrapara district . [The Indian Express, 16 Jan 2017]

A district veterinary official said that avian species are dying almost daily along the seaside in Mahakalpada tehsil

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After death of pigeons was reported, a team of veterinary surgeons has rushed to the village to take stock of the situation. Blood samples have been collected for laboratory test of the samples. (Representational Image)

Nearly a hundred pigeons have died in a far-flung village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, triggering panic in the wake of the bird flu scare gripping the state.

A district veterinary official said today that avian species are dying almost daily along the seaside in Mahakalpada tehsil.

Last week death of chickens has been reported in nearby areas. Similarly, death of rare breed of sheep had hogged the spotlight from a village near here, Kendrapara Chief District Veterinary Officer, Chaitanya Kumar Sethy said.

Death of animals and winged species has made people apprehensive as they fear that bird flu has hit the localities in Mahakalpada tehsil, said former Sarpanch, Bijoy Shukla.

After death of pigeons was reported, a team of veterinary surgeons has rushed to the village to take stock of the situation. Blood samples have been collected for laboratory test of the samples, Sethy said.

After the pathological test, the exact cause of the pigeons’ death could be ascertained. The blood samples which would be tested at headquarters laboratory would later be dispatched to state animal disease research laboratory for confirmatory report regarding the cause of death, he said.

However, there was no reason to panic. Though the birds were found dropping, possibility of their might not have been due to avian influenza or flu. From the symptoms shown by the pigeons, it seems that the birds might have been afflicted with ‘Ranikhet’, a virus-borne disease that hits the winged species. Besides Vitamin C deficiency or food poisoning also results in pigeons’ mortality, CDVO Sethy said.

Asked on the death of chickens and ‘kuji’ breeds of rare sheep recently recorded in Mahakalpada, he said exact cause of mortality could be ascertained after the test report findings is received from the Bhopal-based national animal disease laboratory.

However, the mortality of sheep and chicken has come down considerably from these areas after the vets launched a mass vaccination drive in the affected villages.

“I have reared a dozen pet pigeons. With utmost care, I had installed wooden shelves aviary for the birds to ensure their safety and comfort. I used to feed them with grains thrice every day. I had an emotional bond with them. Since past three days, seven of them died. Pigeons’ death has saddened me. They were like my family members”, said a local resident of Mahakalpada, Sanatan Mallik.



 Second case of bird flu confirmed at another turkey farm in Louth area [Grimsby Telegraph, 16 Jan 2017]

By Laura Gooderham

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Turkey farm affected by bird flu outbreak.

The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a flock of 6,000 turkeys at a farm in the Louth area.

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the premises believed to be infected, to limit the risk of the disease spreading, says the government.

A number of the approximate 6,000 birds at the farm have died and the remaining birds are to be humanely culled.

The case was confirmed by the UK's chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens.

Public Health England have advised that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

This is the same strain of virus which was found at a different turkey farm near Tetney in December and in a number of wild birds across the country.

Two recent cases involved back-yard flocks in South Wales and North Yorkshire.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone is currently in place, requiring keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors. This means all poultry keepers must do everything they can to keep them completely separate from wild birds and minimise the risk of them catching avian flu from the environment.

Chief poultry adviser at the NFU, Gary Ford, said: "This will come as a real set back to the industry as a whole and particularly to those businesses affected by the previous case in December. We understand that this case was reported promptly to Defra which is welcome as it will aid in disease control and eradication. We stand by ready to support our affected members in the area."

The Chief Veterinary Officer has issued advice for people with backyard poultry. To limit the risk to their birds, they must be kept in a suitable building where possible and precautions such as netting, keeping food and water inside, disinfecting footwear, vehicles and equipment after contact with birds must be carried out.

The public have been urged to report dead wild swans, geese or ducks or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location. They should be reported to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.



 Bird flu found in flock of 6,000 turkeys in Lincolnshire [The Guardian, 16 Jan 2017]

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Defra said an investigation was under way after the two cases of bird flu outbreak in Lincolnshire. Photograph: Nurlan Kalchinov/Alamy

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirms H5N8 strain of avian flu present at East Lindsey farm

Bird flu has been confirmed in a flock of about 6,000 turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said. The H5N8 strain of avian flu – the same as that found in a flock of turkeys on a nearby farm on 16 December – was confirmed by the UK’s chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens.

A number of birds at the farm in East Lindsey have died, and those remaining will be culled. The two cases are unlikely to be linked, but an investigation is under way, Defra said.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the affected farm to limit the risk of the disease spreading. It comes after H5N8 avian flu was found in flocks in Carmarthenshire, south west Wales, and Settle, North Yorkshire, earlier this month.



 Uganda reactivates national task force as bird flu breaks out [Business Standard News, 16 Jan 2017]

Uganda has reactivated the National Task Force (NTF) to coordinate the fight against avian flu that has broken out in the east African country, minister of agriculture said Sunday.

Vincent Ssempijja told reporters that the NTF is composed of human and animal experts from government, and non-governmental organisations, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The NTF has experience and has competence to handle such outbreaks, and therefore the situation is under control," Ssempijja said.

He urged the public to report any cases of mass deaths of birds, animal, both domestic and wild to any nearest government authority.

He said bird owners must keep them indoors to avoid them interacting with wild birds and animals and added that people must not touch or eat wild birds or other wild animals that are found dead, but report these instead.

Uganda on Saturday said the avian flu had broken out in the central parts of the country.

Ssempijja said confirmatory tests from a mass death of birds at Lutembe beach on the shores of Lake Victoria turned out positive for avian flu. Other tests on dead birds in Masaka also turned out positive.

Uganda is among the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that face a high risk of a bird flu outbreak because it is crisscrossed by several routes for migratory birds, which are carriers of the virus.

The infection can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness, which may pass unnoticed, to a rapidly fatal disease that can cause severe epidemics.

According to the World Health Organization, avian influenza viruses do not normally infect humans but there have been instances of certain highly pathogenic strains causing severe respiratory disease in humans.
--IANS
vgu/



 Uganda Confirms Avian Flu in Wild Terns, Domestic Birds [The New York Times, 16 Jan 2017]

KAMPALA, Uganda — Tests have confirmed that avian flu is responsible for the mass deaths of wild birds on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, according to the government.

The species so far hit by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, are migratory white-winged black terns as well as domestic ducks and chickens, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement Sunday, warning of an imminent "catastrophe."

Samples from at least two sites, including a beach on the shores of Lake Victoria and elsewhere in central Uganda, have tested positive for HPAI, some strains of which can affect people, said the statement.

It was not clear which strain of the virus is infecting the birds, including the terns that migrate from Europe to Africa during winter.

The H5N8 strain of the virus, which is harmless to humans, has been spreading in poultry farms in some parts of Europe, including France and Germany.

The authorities carried out tests following reports by fishermen of massive deaths of birds on beach near a wetland that is a sanctuary for many birds and which attracts bird watchers from all over the world.

The government is urging people not to eat birds and other wild animals that are found dead.



 Bird flu zone widens into Ribble Valley [Lancashire Evening Post, 16 Jan 2017]

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Bird flu has been confirmed in a handful of chickens and ducks

Poultry keepers in Ribble Valley are being advised that measures to try to prevent the spread of avian flu in the UK have been extended. H5N8 avian flu has been found in a small flock near Settle in North Yorkshire - close to the Ribble Valley border.

A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone, which includes parts of the Ribble Valley have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The remaining live birds in the flock of chicken have been culled. The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency said bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.



 UGANDA DETECTS BIRD FLU IN WILD, DOMESTIC BIRDS [Eyewittness News, 16 Jan 2017]

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread in Europe and the Middle East since late last year.

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FILE: Employees prepare to unload a truck with ducks into an enclosure as they prepare a mass bird slaughter after the detection of bird flu. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Uganda's ministry for agriculture said on Sunday it had detected bird flu in two locations, one affecting wild birds and another hitting domestic birds, but it did not say whether it was a strain that has spread across Europe and the Middle East.

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread in
Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of farmed birds and the confinement of flocks indoors.

China has reported human infections of the H7N9 strain of the virus, resulting in fatalities.

Uganda's Agriculture, Industry and Fisheries Ministry said in a statement that in-country tests had identified "the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), that affects both humans and animals and which causes (a) high number of deaths in both species."

But the statement did not indentify the strain.

Fishermen on 2 January had reported the "mass death of wild birds" on the shores of Lake Victoria, near Entebbe, which lies near the capital. Tests proved positive.

On 13 January five domestic ducks and a hen in Masaka, to the west of Kampala, were also found to be infected.



 Commissioner allays fears of bird flu in Kwara [The Guardian, 16 Jan 2017]

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The Kwara State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Bamidele Adekoge, has allayed fears arising from a recent news of a new strain of avian influenza virus, also known as bird flu.

Adekoge told newsmen on Monday in Ilorin that Kwara State was not among the affected states as bird flu was predominantly noticed in the northern parts of the country.

“The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, during a consultative meeting with state commissioners, uncovered the entrance and scourge of the virus.

“And measures to put a stop to the further spread of the virus were discussed at the meeting.
‘`So, happily, Kwara State is not part of the affected states because the states affected are in the northern part of the country,” Adekoge said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the specie of the virus, which is technically termed H5N8, was said to have been recently discovered in the country.

And Ogbeh during a meeting with Commissioners of Agriculture and Directors of Veterinary Devices from the 36 states of the country said that the virus had spread to 26 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.



 China confirms 1 more human death from H7N9 bird flu [Fox News , 16 Jan 2017]

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Health officers cull poultry at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus, in Hong Kong June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSGBDX

SHANGHAI – A man in China's central Henan province has become the latest person reported to have died this winter from H7N9 bird flu, the state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday citing local health authorities.

The 36-year-old roast duck salesman developed a fever and a cough around Dec. 25 in coastal Zhejiang province, near Shanghai, and returned to Henan in early January, Xinhua said. He was diagnosed with H7N9 on Jan. 10 and died the next day.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring. In recent years, farmers have stepped up cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, in their efforts to prevent the disease.

China's last major outbreak killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

The H7N9 strain does not seem to transmit easily among people, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, the World Health Organization says. The danger is that any such virus mutates and acquires genetic changes that could boost its pandemic potential.




 Bird flu in Odisha capital as crows test positive for H5N1 [Odisha SUN Times, 15 Jan 2017]

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 15:

The deadly H5N1 virus rears its ugly head in Odisha capital as blood samples of dead crows have tested positive for the avian influenza. The samples were sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal.

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Around 53 crows were found drop dead in Bhubaneswar in last two weeks following which blood sample of some crows and poultry were sent to NIHSAD for H5N1 test.

However, chicken sample test reports have not come yet and no case of suspected death of chickens has been found. So, denizens of Bhubaneswar can eat chicken and egg without any hesitation, informed an official of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department (FARDD), Odisha.

According to a senior official of FARDD, blood samples of dead crows were sent from Panposh in Sundargarh district, Saliasahi in Bhubaneswar and ward no 2 in Baripada Municipal Corporation confirmed bird flu (H5N1) virus. Test reports of chicken and cranes have not come yet.

The state Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department has issued a notification to take precautionary measures after bird flu was confirmed in Sundargarh, Bhubaneswar and Baripada.

It has directed to burn carcass of crows and cranes found in the state and to administer preventive vaccine to poultry.

Besides, it has asked to send blood samples of crows and cranes to the Animal Disease Research Institute at Phulnakhara on the outskirts of Odisha capital keeping local veterinary doctor in loop.

No chicken has been detected with bird flu in Bhubaneswar and we have not received death case of any chicken in the city, said Bhubaneswar Sub-Divisional Veterinary Officer Dr. Balaram Sahu.

We are administering preventive vaccine to chickens as a precautionary measure and till date 5000 chickens have been vaccinated, he added.




 China confirms new bird flu case, 79-year-old affected. [Daily News & Analysis, 15 Jan 2017]

More than 10 cases of bird flu have been reported in the country since January 1

A new human H7N9 avian flu case has been reported in China's southwestern Guizhou Province, local officials said on Sunday.

According to the provincial health and family planing commission, the 79-year-old patient is from Kaili City in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture.

The patient went to the fever clinic of the people's hospital in the prefecture and tested positive for the virus on Saturday. It is the third human H7N9 case reported in the province this winter.

The patient is receiving treatment. People who had close contact with the patient were put under medical observation and have not tested positive for the virus yet, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

H7N9, a bird flu strain most likely to strike in winter and spring, was first reported in humans in China in March 2013. On Saturday, a 36-year-old roast-duck vendor from Henan Province died after contracting the flu.

More than 10 cases have been reported since January 1, in Jiangxi, Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong, Guizhou, Shanghai and Macao.

Experts with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that China had entered high season for infection of the H7N9 virus, and the possibility of more reported cases in southern China was not being ruled out, the report said.

The public should avoid contact with dead poultry, live poultry, birds and their waste, and purchase only certified poultry products, they advised.



 Bird Flu: 63 Locations of Infections in Bulgaria [Sofia News Agency, 15 Jan 2017]

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File photo, BGNES

The number of locations where bird flu cases have been registered has risen to 63, officials say.

As many as 430 000 birds have been infected, most of them having been culled already, according to outgoing Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva.
Most of the locations, based in 9 regions in the country, are in the area of Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city.

Currently, the resources set aside to deal with the issue amount to BGN 1 M, but are expected to increase to BGN 5-6 M as reported on Saturday. Compensations for businesses will be designed in a way farmers can bring their work back to normal, but will not be disbursed before the spring as at least a month will be needed after cases of infection before authorities allow them to reopen.

Most of the birds affected are ducks, with Bulgaria experiencing a boom in breeding the birds due to the boom in exports of foie gras.

The infection has spread easily due to poor hygiene at farms, Taneva has said.

Due to the epidemic, eggs prices are expected to rise by around 10%, experts are quoted as saying.



 Avian Influenza (HPAI) Outbreak [Uganda Media Centre, 15 Jan 2017]

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

Speech for the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries during communication of outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in wild and domestic bird in Uganda 15th January 2017.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am honoured to have this opportunity to inform you of an eminent catastrophe faces the people of our country.

My Ministry was on the 2nd January 2017 informed by Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) of a report of mass death of wild birds seen by fishermen at Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe. Another report was also received on 13th January 2017 from Masaka district.

UWEC communicated to Uganda Government Chemist and the Commissioner of Animal Health (CAH) of my Ministry.

My Ministry immediately sent a team to investigate the mass bird death together with a team from government chemist and UWEC.

The specimen unfortunately have turned positive to the very serious disease The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), that affects both humans and animals and which causes high number of deaths in both species.

Things that the public needs to immediately know are:

• The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is commonly referred to as AVIAN FLU or AVIAN INFLUENZA;

• This is the first time AVIAN FLU or AVIAN INFLUENZA breaks out in Uganda;

• HPAI affects humans, birds and animals;

• However, the species that are so far affected are white winged black tern birds and domestic ducks and chicken;

• 7 specimen of the white winged black tern birds have been collected from Lutembe beach and all the 7 are positive for the deadly disease;

• 2 specimen of feaces picked from the ground just dropped by birds flying away from Lutembe beach were also positive for HPAI;

• 5 domestic duck and 1 hen specimen were brought in from Masaka district were too are positive to HPAI;

• Diagnosis was undertaken by the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) MAAIF;

• Diagnosis was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) MOH;

• There is a National Task Force (NTF) which is multi disciplinary with human and animal experts from government, agencies and NGO that is usually called upon to handle outbreaks of diseases that affect both humans and animals. The NTF is anchored at OPM and is co-chaired by MAAIF and MOH;

• The NTF has experience and has competence to handle such outbreaks, and therefore the situation is under control;
Advice to the people:

• Report any cases of mass birds, animal, both domestic and wild to any government authority nearest to you, but especially the veterinary authorities;

• Report any cases of sickness or death of humans to the nearest human health facility (Hospital, clinic) or to the MOH;

• Bird owners MUST house them, avoiding interaction between domestic and wild birds and animals;

• People MUST not touch or eat wild birds or other wild animals that are found dead, they should instead report to the nearest veterinary authority.

What my Ministry is going to do

• Together with MOH, UWEC, UWA, Districts and all other stakeholders will;

o Immediately inform the public to avert any human catastrophe from human infections;

o Calm the population through providing accurate information and facts about HPAI;

o Intensify meetings and actions of the National Task Force on disease;

• Continues with further investigations and prevention of spread of HPAI to domestic animals and possibly to humans;

• Continue providing information to the public;

• Plan to control HPAI in domestic animals and humans.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

This country is faced by looming catastrophe of an outbreak of HPAI currently in wild birds and has already affected some domestic birds in Masaka district;

I am calling up on all of us to actively participate by being alert of the situation and sharing this information. I also ask you to follow instructions as provided by professionals to save our people, poultry, animals and wild life.



 Uganda detects bird flu in wild, domestic birds [Reuters, 15 Jan 2017]


Uganda's ministry for agriculture said on Sunday it had detected bird flu in two locations, one affecting wild birds and another hitting domestic birds, but it did not say whether it was a strain that has spread across Europe and the Middle East.

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread in
Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of farmed birds and the confinement of flocks indoors.

China has reported human infections of the H7N9 strain of the virus, resulting in fatalities.

Uganda's Agriculture, Industry and Fisheries Ministry said in a statement that in-country tests had identified "the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), that affects both humans and animals and which causes (a) high number of deaths in both species."

But the statement did not indentify the strain.

Fishermen on Jan. 2 had reported the "mass death of wild birds" on the shores of Lake Victoria, near Entebbe, which lies near the capital. Tests proved positive.

On Jan. 13 five domestic ducks and a hen in Masaka, to the west of Kampala, were also found to be infected.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Greg Mahlich)



 Uganda detects bird flu [Phys.Org, 15 Jan 2017]


Uganda announced Sunday it had detected bird flu among migratory birds, without specifying whether it was the particularly virulent H5 strain detected this season in countries worldwide.

The agriculture ministry said bird flu had been detected in two spots, one near Entebbe, on the banks of Lake Victoria, and another in the Masaka distict about 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of Kampala.

Five domestic ducks and a hen in Masaka were also infected, leading authorities to call for all poultry to be kept inside to avoid further contagion from migratory birds, it said.

In a statement, Christopher Kibazanga, minister for agriculture, animals and fisheries, said local wildlife authorities on January 2 had reported the "mass death of wild birds, seen by fishermen at Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe".

Another report arrived on January 13 from the Masaka district, and in both cases the specimen tested positive for "the highly pathogenic avian influenza that affects both humans and animals and which causes a high number of deaths in both species", the statement added.

The ministry said the outbreak was a first for Uganda but did not specify which flu strain it was.

In 2016 51 countries declared the outbreak of one of the virulent H5 and H7 strains of bird flu, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). These include H5N1, H5N2, H5N5, H5N6, H5N9, H7N1, H7N3, H7N7 et H7N8.

Europe is battling the spread of H5N1, culling millions of birds on farms and moving them indoors to avoid contagion from infected wildlife.

The strain can be transmitted to humans, and is held responsible for the deaths of several hundred people since 2003.



 China confirms new bird flu case [The Indian Express, 15 Jan 2017]


A new human H7N9 avian flu case has been reported in China’s southwestern Guizhou Province, local officials said on Sunday. According to the provincial health and family planing commission, the 79-year-old patient is from Kaili City in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture.

The patient went to the fever clinic of the people’s hospital in the prefecture and tested positive for the virus yesterday. It is the third human H7N9 case reported in the province this winter.
The patient is receiving treatment. People who had close contact with the patient were put under medical observation and have not tested positive for the virus yet, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. H7N9, a bird flu strain most likely to strike in winter and spring, was first reported in humans in China in March 2013.

Yesterday, a 36-year-old roast-duck vendor from Henan Province died after contracting the flu. More than 10 cases have been reported since January 1, in Jiangxi, Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong, Guizhou, Shanghai and Macao.

Experts with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that China had entered high season for infection of the H7N9 virus, and the possibility of more reported cases in southern China was not being ruled out, the report said. The public should avoid contact with dead poultry, live poultry, birds and their waste, and purchase only certified poultry products, they advised.



 Bird flu-hit S. Korea agrees to import U.S. eggs [Arkansas Online, 15 Jan 2017]

By DAVID PITT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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PHOTO BY AP / YUN TAE-HYUN
Health officials wearing protective suits carry a sack of chickens last month after the birds were slaughtered at a chicken farm where a suspected case of bird flu was reported in Incheon, South Korea. Since November, the country has lost about a third of its egglaying hens to bird flu.

Tests carried out on dead birds found on the shores of Lake Victoria between the capital Kampala and Entebbe, the location of the international airport, but also in Masaka District, have proved positive of avian flu, government officials confirmed late yesterday and earlier today.
Image result for avian flul

A formal press conference is taking place right now at the Uganda Media Centre where Minister of State of Agriculture, Hon. Kibazanga, has confirmed the presence of the disease in East Africa.

Neighbouring countries also bordering Lake Victoria are said to have instituted prompt measures to raise surveillance and monitoring on local and migratory bird populations to determine if the disease has also spread to their own shores.

Lutembe Bay, a major migratory bird route waypoint into and out of Africa, is one of the locations where dead birds were found.



 Avian Flu outbreak not good news for Uganda [TVC News, 15 Jan 2017]


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Tests carried out on dead birds found on the shores of Lake Victoria between the capital Kampala and Entebbe, the location of the international airport, but also in Masaka District, have proved positive of avian flu, government officials confirmed late yesterday and earlier today.

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A formal press conference is taking place right now at the Uganda Media Centre where Minister of State of Agriculture, Hon. Kibazanga, has confirmed the presence of the disease in East Africa.

Neighbouring countries also bordering Lake Victoria are said to have instituted prompt measures to raise surveillance and monitoring on local and migratory bird populations to determine if the disease has also spread to their own shores.

Lutembe Bay, a major migratory bird route waypoint into and out of Africa, is one of the locations where dead birds were found.



 Bird flu breaks out in Uganda [Global Times, 15 Jan 2017]

Birdflu has broken out in the central part of Uganda, a senior ministry of agriculture official said on Saturday.

Connie Acayo, the spokesperson of the ministry told Xinhua by telephone that confirmatory test of dead birds on Lutembe beach on the shores of Lake Victoria and in Masaka district showed that the disease had broken out.

"It is a very serious disease and the minister of agriculture will be issuing out a statement on Sunday," she said.

She added that government is going to issue precautionary measures to prevent the disease from spreading further.

Uganda is among the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that face a high risk of a bird flu outbreak because it is crisscrossed by several routes for migratory birds, which are carriers of the virus.

Birdflu or avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus, according to World Health Organization.

The infection can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness, which may pass unnoticed, to a rapidly fatal disease that can cause severe epidemics.

According to the global health body, avian influenza viruses do not normally infect humans but there have been instances of certain highly pathogenic strains causing severe respiratory disease in humans.



 Bird flu detected at poultry farm in Gifu; 80,000 birds to be culled [Japan Today, 15 Jan 2017]


GIFU —
A lab test confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza among chickens at a poultry farm in Yamagata, Gifu Prefecture, in central Japan on Saturday, the prefectural government said, triggering a decision to cull all 80,000 chickens there.

The farm had notified the prefectural government of a suspected bird flu case in the morning, saying that many chickens there had died. Of seven chickens tested by the local government, six had tested positive in a preliminary exam.

The farm’s chickens are for producing farm eggs. More than 100 have died, according to the local government.



 Taiwan reports five bird flu cases in two weeks [Shanghai Daily, 15 Jan 2017]

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TAIWAN has reported five bird flu cases in the first two weeks of 2017, with a total of 60,000 fowl culled, the island's animal and plant inspection authority said Saturday.

In the latest case, the H5N2 avian flu virus was confirmed Saturday in a chicken farm in Yunlin county, where 16,632 chicken were killed to prevent further infection.

All the five cases were reported in Yunlin, a major chicken supplier in Taiwan.

The authority demanded farm owners to strengthen ventilation and sanitation work, and report unusual deaths of chicken to authorities in a timely manner.

Farm owners will receive compensation for culling poultry if they proactively report anomalies, while cover-up will lead to a fine of up to 1 million New Taiwan dollars (US$31,685), said the authority.

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 11 till 14 Jan 2017




 Croatia to cull poultry near capital due to H5N8 bird flu [Reuters, 14 Jan 2017]


Croatia said on Saturday it had detected H5N8 bird flu among ducks on a farm some 30 km (20 miles) southeast of the capital Zagreb.

The Agriculture Ministry said in a statement that all the poultry on the affected farm would be culled, along with all poultry in non-intensive farming in a 3 km radius.

"We're undertaking all the necessary measures to isolate the affected poultry that will have to be culled. The owners will be compensated. We're fighting this in the same manner as many other neighboring countries," Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolusic said.

Two weeks ago there was a similar case on another farm in northeastern Croatia.

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread across Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of farmed birds and the confinement of flocks indoors.

(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Kevin Liffey)



 Ahmedabad's posh area Memnagar declared bird flu hit [Times of India, 14 Jan 2017]


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(Representative image)

AHMEDABAD: The dreaded bird flu tightened its grip on Ahmedabad as the administration on Friday declared Memnagar, a posh area in west Ahmedabad, as bird flu hit.

Over 159 birds, largely guinea fowls which were found abandoned at a Vastral pond 10 days ago, and kept at Sarvadharma Raksha Trust in Memnagar were culled after bird droppings samples sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal tested positive for H5N1. The Memnagar bird flu comes on heels of the first outbreak reported in Hathjan in east Ahmedabad on January 3 where 1,600 birds were culled.

Given the seriousness of the situation, the administration has also roped in the crime branch to probe bird flu as birds detected with H5N1 virus in Hathijan and Memnagar had come from Mumbai and Allahabad respectively . A station diary entry was made in Ramol police station under whose jurisdiction the guinea fowls were found. "Crime branch teams will probe bird flu spread. Teams will be sent to Allahabad and Mumbai to track the source of the infection and if there was any foul play in landing of infected birds in Ahmedabad," said A K Singh, city police commissioner.



 New Human Death From H7N9 Bird Flu Registered in Central China [Sputnik International, 14 Jan 2017]

A 36-year-old man from China's Henan province died of H7N9 bird flu, local health authorities said Saturday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to a statement of Henan provincial health and family planning commission, the man died on Wednesday some three weeks after infection, state news agency Xinhua reported. The local authorities are monitoring the health conditions of 16 people who had close contact with the infected man.

China has entered high season for bird flu. Earlier this week, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission called for extra efforts to control and prevent the spread of the H7N9 avian flu virus.

Last week, several cases of H7N9 virus were registered across China. A 77-year-old patient died on January 5 in the eastern Shandong province, and a 62-year-old man died in Hong Kong the following day.

On Thursday, a 59-year-old man from Yuanjiang City in Hunan province was diagnosed with bird flu. On Friday, the first case of a human infection with bird flu was registered in China’s autonomous region of Macau.

The first case of a human contracting avian influenza virus of the H7N9 strain was registered in China in March 2013. China has imposed bans on poultry imports from affected countries. Curbs are already in place against some 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea.



 Second case of bird flu in wild bird poses 'no risk to humans' [Breaking News, 14 Jan 2017]

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Farmers are being advised to confine their poultry flock.

The warning comes as a second strain of Avian Influenza was discovered in a wild bird in County Galway yesterday after an initial discovery in County Wexford.

The Department of Agriculture says that flocks are at risk from the virus, although no outbreaks have been detected in poultry in Ireland so far.

Amy Nora Fitzgibbon from the Irish Farmers Journal says the public should not be overly concerned.

She said: "There's no risk in properly cooked poultry meat and there's no infection in poultry flocks yet. This is the second case in a wild bird, it was found in a widgeon in Co. Galway on Friday.

"It hasn't infected the poultry flocks, there's no risk to humans, and even if there was an infection properly cooked poultry meat means that it can't be transmitted to humans as long as people take general precautions."



 Bird flu hits sixth chicken farm in Yunlin in two weeks [Focus Taiwan News Channel, 14 Jan 2017]

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Photo courtesy of the Yunlin county government

Taipei, Jan. 14 (CNA) A total of 15,917 chickens at a chicken farm in Yunlin County have been culled Saturday after they were confirmed as being infected with avian influenza.

The chicken farm was the sixth in the county to be hit with bird flu in the past two weeks, according to the Yunlin Animal and Plant Disease Control Center.

It said the owner of the farm in Mailiao Township informed it Wednesday of the massive deaths of chickens at the farm for unknown reasons.

The center immediately imposed controls on the movements of the chickens and collected specimens for testing before confirming that the farm was infected with H5 bird flu.

The Yunlin County government said the county saw an avian flu outbreak in 2015, and chickens at 462 chicken farms were culled that year. The situation eased the following year, with only sporadic cases reported.

But only two weeks into the new year, it has had to cull chickens at six farms, indicating that chicken farmers must be on guard and heed the health of their chickens.

(By Chiang Chun-liang and Lilian Wu)

Enditem/ls



 After first case in Wexford, second case of bird flu now confirmed in Galway [Big News Network, 14 Jan 2017]


GALWAY, Ireland - The Irish Department of Agriculture has confirmed a second case of bird flu in the Republic of Ireland.

After the first case of avian influenza was identified in County Wexford on December 28, where a wild duck tested positive, now a second case was identified in County Galway.

On Friday, the Irish Farmers Journal said that the officials from the department had confirmed the second case.

According to reports, a type of duck, a wigeon, tested positive for the H5N8 strain of avian influenza.

Reports noted the wild duck was discovered alive but unable to fly.

The department said in a statement, “The department once more emphasises the requirement to confine poultry and other birds, and to apply strict bio-security measures to prevent the introduction of avian influenza. Poultry flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.”

The strain was confirmed to be the same as detected in many European countries, including the U.K.

According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, it can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, but no human infections have been reported from the virus. It said the risk to humans "is considered to be very low.”

However, the department urged poultry famers to be vigilant for signs of the disease in their flocks.

In December, the department instructed flock owners to keep poultry indoors, separate from wild birds, to prevent the flu spreading.

The department is said to be collecting birds for testing in a bid to understand how the disease is distributed geographically.

Further, patrols are being carried out by rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.



 Suspected case of bird flu detected at poultry farm in Gifu [The Japan Times, 14 Jan 2017]


GIFU – Chickens at a poultry farm in Yamagata, Gifu Prefecture, tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza in a preliminary test on Saturday, the prefectural government said.

The local government may order chickens at the farm to be culled depending on the results of a follow-up genetic test.

The farm notified the prefectural government of a suspected bird flu case in the morning, saying that many chickens there had died. Of seven chickens tested by the local government, six tested positive.

The farm has 80,000 chickens for producing eggs. More than 100 have died, according to the local government.

If infections are confirmed through the genetic tests, the remaining 80,000 chickens will be destroyed, while transfers of chickens and eggs in areas around the farm will also be restricted.

According to the agriculture ministry and other sources, human infections with avian flu viruses by the eating of chicken meat or eggs have never been reported in Japan.



 BGN 5-6 M Needed To Deal With Bird Flu in Bulgaria [Sofia News Agency novinite, 14 Jan 2017]

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BGNES

Between BGN 5 M and BGN 6 M will be needed in order for the state to deal with bird flu and compensate farmers, stated outgoing Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva.
Taneva explained that bird flu is not dangerous for people.

“59 locations of infection have been registered. Four of these consist of wild ducks, the rest is home-bred poultry. Bird flu does not threaten people and they should remain calm. Humans cannot be infected by consuming chicken meat,” said Taneva.

BNR reported earlier on Saturday that another infection site has been discovered in Haskovo district.

25,000 birds will be killed in the village of Valgarovo, announced the Food Safety Agency.



 Hundreds of cats quarantined in New York City bird flu outbreak [Reuters, 14 Jan 2017]

By Gina Cherelus, NEW YORK

Hundreds of domestic cats have been quarantined in New York City after contracting a strain of highly contagious avian flu at shelters operated by a major animal rescue organization, and the virus also infected at least one veterinarian, officials said.

It is the first time the H7N2 strain of the virus, commonly found in birds, has infected domestic cats, according to the New York City Health Department.

Symptoms are generally mild, and include sneezing, coughing and runny eyes and noses.

The virus was first detected last month in 45 cats housed at a Manhattan shelter run by Animal Care Center of NYC, and later turned up in cats at shelters in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. It was not immediately clear how the cats contracted the virus or how it spread so quickly, the city's health department said in a statement on Thursday.

"We continue to urge New Yorkers who have adopted cats from ACC shelters to be on alert for symptoms in their pets and take proper precautions,” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement.

She said the risk to human health from H7N2 is low.

H7N2 is a type of avian influenza virus, also known as the bird flu, that can mutate and transfer onto mammals such as cats. It could infect other mammals as well, including humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website. The CDC provides guidance on bird flu in cats on its website. (here)

More than 450 cats will remain at a temporary shelter for up to 90 days until a University of Wisconsin lab confirms they are no longer contagious, the city's health department said. ACC, the New York Health Department and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are monitoring the animals together.

In December, the city's health department and the CDC confirmed that a veterinarian had been infected at the ACC's Manhattan shelter. It was the first case of cat-to-human-transmission of the flu, the city's health department said. The illness was mild and short-lived.

The health department screened more than 160 ACC employees for the virus and contacted more than 80 percent of pet adopters from the Manhattan shelter, but no other cases have been found.

Residents who adopted a cat from an ACC shelter between Nov. 12 and Dec. 15 should monitor their pets for signs of sickness, officials said.

(Editing by Frank McGurty and Matthew Lewis)



 Bulgaria reports virulent bird flu at over 50 farms, culling 430,000 poultry [Reuters, 14 Jan 2017]

A virulent bird flu virus has spread to 55 poultry farms in Bulgaria prompting the veterinary authorities to announce a cull of some 430,000 birds since it was first detected in the middle of
December, agriculture minister Dessislava Taneva said on Saturday.

The Balkan country has also registered four cases of bird flu in wild ducks since mid-December.

Bulgaria has imposed a nationwide ban on poultry markets and on the hunting of game birds, and has already spent over a million levs ($543,714) to cull birds in a bid to contain the outbreak.

"In Bulgaria, we have usually registered bird flu in wild birds in the past few years. It is the first time we have had so many outbreaks in farms," Taneva told Bulgarian Darik radio.

The southern region of Plovdiv was most affected by the highly pathogenic virus H5N8, she said, pointing out that some 300,000 birds, mainly ducks, were culled and another 130,000 were to be killed on Saturday.

The authorities have imposed quarantine zones around the affected farms.

Taneva said over 800 bird flu outbreaks have been detected in Europe since October, with Germany and France being most affected.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Andrew Bolton)



 Did Gujarat hush up bird flu for Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit? [Times of India, 14 Jan 2017]

by Himanshu Kaushik

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The animal husbandry department culled over 159 birds, including a duck and three pigeons, at Sarva Dharma Raksha Trust

AHMEDABAD: It took the state two days to get the report from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) lab in Bhopal confirming the H5N1 virus in birds that died at the campus of an NGO in Hathijan on December 31. Culling operations began on January 3, the day the report was received. Back then, there were just nine days left for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

It took the same state machinery 10 days to get a bird flu confirmation from NIHSAD for another set of birds, at the Memnagar campus of an NGO, Sarva Dharma Raksha Trust. The blood and dropping samples of the Memnagar birds were drawn on January 3 and sent to Bhopal. Interestingly, the state government received the confirmation only on Wednesday, when the Vibrant Gujarat summit was under way. Culling of the birds began late on Thursday night, after the VGGS valedictory function had ended.

How did a matter of serious public health consequences, which also has the city's crime branch probing, go off the state government's radar for more than a week? There are thousands of Amdavadis living in the residential area within the 1-km quarantine zone from the Memnagar epicentre, and there is a school just a stones throw away from it.

Another issue that has come to light is that three of the Memnagar NGO operators — Jaimin Shah, Anil Chaudhry and Sameer Patel — were being administered Tamiflu tablets by the health department since January 7. Was the state aware of the bird flu confirmation on January 7?

A volunteer from the Memnagar trust questioned the Bhopal test report, stating that not a single bird had died between January 3 and January 12 midnight, when the culling began. While in the case of the Hathijan NGO, infected birds died within four days of being brought from Mumbai.

State health minister, Shankar Chaudhary, told TOI "Even during VGGS, I constantly enquired into the bird flu situation. We have been making all possible efforts and never ignored the bird flu scare.

A senior agriculture department official admitted that the culling of birds on the night of January 11, would mean that officials would have had to check the quality of meat at hotels in a 10-km radius when the VGGS foreign delegates and expats were around.



 China confirms one more human death from H7N9 bird flu [Reuters, 14 Jan 2017]


A man in China's central Henan province has become the latest person reported to have died this winter from H7N9 bird flu, the state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday citing local health authorities.

The 36-year-old roast duck salesman developed a fever and a cough around Dec. 25 in coastal Zhejiang province, near Shanghai, and returned to Henan in early January, Xinhua said. He was diagnosed with H7N9 on Jan. 10 and died the next day.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring. In recent years, farmers have stepped up cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, in their efforts to prevent the disease.

China's last major outbreak killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

The H7N9 strain does not seem to transmit easily among people, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, the World Health Organization says. The danger is that any such virus mutates and acquires genetic changes that could boost its pandemic potential.

(Reporting by John Ruwitch)



 Freak Bird Flu Outbreak Prompts NYC to Quarantine All 500 Shelter Cats [GIZMODO, 14 Jan 2017]

by Kristen V. Brown

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It’s difficult to explain exactly how it happened, but 386 New York City shelter cats have contracted a rare avian flu that had never before been seen in cats, and had not been seen in any animals at all in over 10 years.

In November, a gray-striped kitten at a Bronx animal shelter named Alfred came down with the flu, a strain called H7N2 last seen in 2006 at poultry markets in New York and elsewhere. He died on November 12, and the virus quickly spread throughout the city’s shelter population.

Now, The New York Times reports, the entire feline population of New York City’s shelter system—some 500 cats—is being housed at a temporary quarantine center in Queens. The Times described it as “something out of a post-apocalyptic cat video.”

The virus is a mild form of H7N2 and is usually not life-threatening to cats. According to the CDC, it is only rarely transmissible to humans and causes little more than slight illness. Only one person has tested positive for the virus so far in the current outbreak, a veterinarian who was working with the sick cats.

But the mystery of how a strain of avian flu suddenly infected such a large population of New York City’s cats is still cause for concern.

“Any time influenza viruses start to behave in an unusual way, there’s a concern about what might happen,” Aleisha Swartz, a doctor from the University of Wisconsin veterinary school, told The New York Times. “There’s this virus that popped up, and if we didn’t respond, it could have become widespread in cats all over the place.”

For cats, the main symptoms are a runny nose, congestion, coughing and lip smacking. The cats can leave once they are determined to be flu free, which could take weeks.



 1st batch of US eggs arrive here to ease egg shortage amid bird flu epidemic [The Korea Times, 14 Jan 2017]


A hundred tons of eggs from the United States arrived in South Korea on Saturday, as the government seeks to control soaring prices here amid the outbreak of bird flu.

South Korea's agricultural ministry said the eggs, estimated at 100 tons, arrived through Incheon, the country's main gateway, earlier in the day, with more to come down the road. The eggs will hit local shelves starting next week after quarantine procedures.

A batch of U.S. eggs had arrived in South Korea earlier this week as samples, but it marks the first time for the country to begin full-fledged imports to tackle the soaring prices.

South Korea has been suffering from a shortage of eggs, as it has been struggling to contain an avian influenza outbreak that has struck poultry farms across the country since mid-November.

Authorities have culled more than 30 million poultry to prevent the spread, which led to further rises in the prices. (Yonhap)



 South Korea to import 1,500 tonnes of fresh eggs ahead of Lunar New Year [Reuters, 13 Jan 2017]

South Korea is set to import 1,500 tonnes of fresh eggs before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday season in an effort to prevent prices from spiraling higher amid a worsening shortage caused by the country's biggest-ever bird flu outbreak.

South Korea's agriculture ministry said in a statement on Friday that 1,500 tonnes of shell eggs, meaning about 25 million eggs, are expected to come into the country from the United States and Spain ahead of the holiday. Many traditional dishes such as Korean pancakes require the use of eggs in the Lunar New Year, which begins on Jan. 27 this year.

The ministry said it expected the egg imports to bring some relief to the country's egg crisis, sparked by the widespread bird flu outbreak which has led to a record cull of more than 31 million farm birds, mostly egg-laying hens.

The average retail price of 30 eggs shot up 75 percent to 9,491 won ($8.09) as of Friday compared with prices before the first bird flu outbreak of the winter in mid-November, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.

As part of measures to ease the country's egg shortfall, Asia's fourth-largest economy temporarily lifted import tariffs on eggs and finalised negotiations with the U.S. and Spain to clear egg imports.

The first batch of U.S. fresh eggs will arrive in South Korea on Saturday, which is the first time for Korea to bring fresh eggs from the United States and the first imports of fresh eggs since 1999.

In addition to the fresh egg imports, 695 tonnes of egg products such as dried whole eggs and frozen egg yolks, are also set to be imported before and after the holiday season, the ministry statement noted.

(Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)




 City quarantines hundreds of cats amid bird flu outbreak [Fox News, 13 Jan 2017]

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(ASPCA)

This is a cat-astrophe!

A rare strain of bird flu has swept through the Big Apple’s animal shelters — and city officials have locked up about 500 felines in a quarantine facility to stop the outbreak.

So far, 386 of the purring patients have tested positive for the H7N2 virus — the first time the disease has even been found in cats, officials said.

Two of the cats have died, along with the original host: a Bronx shelter adoptee named Alfred, who became sick in October.

But workers have no plans to put down any of the sick cats and instead will treat them for the virus, which has baffled the medical staff.

It was unclear how Alfred caught H7N2, which remains contagious for up to three weeks, officials said.

Even though it is considered only slightly transmittable to humans, workers are taking no chances — wearing hazmat suits whenever they are in the room with the furballs.

The cats were rounded up from shelters in all corners of the city over the last two months and taken to a makeshift facility in an industrial section of Long Island City, Queens, set up by Animal Care Centers of New York City and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

The sick felines are being tested by workers from the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and the process could take up to three months, officials said.



 OVER 150 BIRDS CULLED AFTER BEING DETECTED WITH BIRD FLU [Ahmedabad Mirror, 13 Jan 2017]

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Ahmedabad: As many as 159 birds, in Memnagar area in the heart of the city, have been culled after being detected with avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu.

After the culling operation carried out last night at the centre run by Sarva Dharma Rakshak Seva Trust, city police issued a notification today declaring the one-km area surrounding the centre as 'Affected Zone' while 10-km area has been declared as 'Alert Zone'.

"A team of Animal Husbandry department culled 159 birds, mostly Guinea Fowls and some ducks, at the rescue centre in Memnagar area last night. Culling was done after samples of some Guinea Fowls tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza virus," said an official of district bird flu control room.

To stop the bird flu from spreading, City Commissioner of Police A K Singh issued a notification declaring 10-km area surrounding the centre as 'Alert Zone' while one-km area has been declared as 'Affected Zone'.

With this order, people are barred from taking out any birds, eggs or any machinery outside the farm. In addition, people are prohibited from going inside the farm. Police have also banned the sale and consumption of poultry products in 10-km area.

On January 4, over 1,400 birds kept at a rescue centre run by Asha Foundation in Hathijan area on the outskirts of the city, were culled after authorities found symptoms of bird flu in 7 Guinea Fowls, which had died under mysterious circumstances.

Earlier on January 2, residents living near Vastral area caught a truck driver when he was off-loading over 800 Guinea Fowls near SP Ring Road. While 700 of these poultry birds were taken to Asha Foundation, around 150 were sent to Memnagar based rescue centre.



 China's Foshan city says bird flu 'grim', extends market cleaning periods [Reuters, 13 Jan 2017]


Foshan, a city in China's Guangdong province, said it will extend the monthly cleaning periods for live poultry markets for the next three months to help control the spread of virulent bird flu, with authorities warning the situation is "grim".

The move for the first three months of the year came as authorities in the city of more than 8 million people warned in a statement that all neighboring cities have reported human infections of the H7N9 strain of the virus.

State media Xinhua said it had registered its second case.

Foshan usually shuts markets for one day each month for cleaning and sterilization in the first three months of each year when birds and people are most susceptible to the flu, but this year that will increase to three days, the Foshan Health and Family Planning Bureau said in a statement on its website.

The monthly shutdowns, covering all live poultry markets in the city, will be effective from the 16th to the 18th for the first three months of the year.

Guangzhou, the capital of the southern province, announced a similar move earlier this week.

The province of Guangdong registered 14 cases of human infection in December out of a total of 106 across the country, according to government releases. China has culled over 175,000 birds following five outbreaks among poultry.

While markets and farmers typically ramp up sterilization and cleaning regimes during the winter, the issue has raised concerns this year as nearby countries South Korea and Japan battle particularly severe outbreaks.

Three cities in eastern China's Jiangsu province suspended live poultry trading after neighboring provinces reported human bird flu cases. Local governments in Fujian and Anhui provinces have also restricted poultry trade.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Tom Hogue)



 Second case of bird flu confirmed in Ireland [The Irish Times, 13 Jan 2017]

by Mark Hilliard

Strain of avian flu H5N8 discovered in a wigeon in Co Galway

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As with the original case last month, the strain of Avian Influenze H5N8 was discovered in a wigeon, this time in Co Galway. Photograph: Mark Stanley/Getty Images

A second case of bird flu has been confirmed in Ireland.

As with the original case last month, the strain of Avian Influenza H5N8 was discovered in a wigeon, this time in Co Galway.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has said that although it can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections have been reported from the virus and the risk to humans is considered to be very low.

Poultry flocks and even Dublin Zoo’s bird collection have been confined indoors in an unprecedented move since the outbreak of the new bird flu and several cases reported around Europe.

A wild duck known as a “wigeon” was found to be infected on Wednesday, December 28th. It was discovered alive but unable to fly.

“The department once more emphasises the requirement to confine poultry and other birds, and to apply strict bio-security measures to prevent the introduction of avian influenza,” it said in a statement on Friday.

“Poultry flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.”

Members of the public have been advised not to handle sick or dead birds.

Department staff are collecting birds for testing to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically, in different species and over time, it said.

Patrols are being carried out by rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.



 Longford farming community on guard following avian flu outbreak [Longford Leader, 13 Jan 2017]


The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed avian influenza subtype H5N8 in a wild bird in Co Wexford.

The wild duck – a wigeon - was found alive but unable to fly in Wexford Town on December 28 last.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has also confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported world-wide and therefore the risk to humans is considered very low.

“The finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly pathogenic H5N8 in wild birds in Great Britain in the last two weeks,” a Department spokesperson added.

“It also comes one week after the Minister introduced regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requiring the compulsory housing of poultry as a result of the increased threat.”

The Leader understands that further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same highly pathogenic strain that is currently present in Great Britain and mainland Europe, and the results of these tests will be made available later this week.

The Department has also indicated that strict biosecurity measures are necessary to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks.

“Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office,” the spokesperson concluded.



 Woman Infected With Bird Flu Registered in China’s Macau Region [Sputnik International, 13 Jan 2017]

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The first case of a human infection with bird flu (H7N9 virus strain) has been registered in China’s autonomous region of Macau, local health authorities report.

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Some 17,000 Chickens Killed in Taiwan Amid Bird Flu Outbreak

BEIJING (Sputnik) – The infected 72-year-old woman visited Zhongshan in the province of Guangdong before she was diagnosed. On Thursday, a 59-year-old man from Yuanjiang City in Hunan province was diagnosed with bird flu.

Earlier this week, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission called for extra efforts to control and prevent the spread of the H7N9 avian flu virus.

China has entered high season for bird flu. Last week, several cases of H7N9 virus were registered across China, including in the city of Shanghai. A 77-year-old patient died on January 5 in the eastern Shandong province, and a 62-year-old man died in Hong Kong the following day.

The first case of a human getting infected with avian influenza virus (bird flu virus) of the H7N9 strain was registered in China in March 2013. Since then, China has been imposing bans on poultry imports from affected countries. Curbs are already in place against some 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea.



 Taiwan confirms a new bird flu case, 4th this year [Reuters, 13 Jan 2017]


Taiwan confirmed a new bird flu case on Thursday, the fourth this year, according to a statement posted on the website of the island's Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

The H5N2 avian flu virus was confirmed at a Yunlin county chicken farm, where 16,800 birds were culled to reduce the risk of further spreading, the statement said.

The farm will be compensated for its loss as it followed regulations and reported the case proactively to the authorities, it said.

Taiwan has reported four bird flu cases this year, all in Yunlin county on the island's western coast. More than 43,300 birds have been slaughtered in the county so far, including the most recent cull, according to the bureau's statement.

The Taiwan authorities urged poultry farmers to strengthen protection and sanitation as now is the peak season for bird flu outbreaks.

This comes as South Korea and Japan battle their own major outbreaks. In mainland China, authorities have also culled over 175,000 birds and closed some poultry markets following reported outbreaks among poultry and more than a hundred cases of human infection.

A new human H7N9 avian flu case was confirmed in China's Hunan province on Thursday, reported Xinhua news. The patient, a 59-year-old man from Yuanjiang City, had contact with poultry before he fell ill, said the local authorities.

A bird flu outbreak hit a goose farm in the same city in Hunan province earlier this month, Chinese Ministry of Agriculture had said on Wednesday. The authorities did not reveal whether the two cases were directly related.

Health authorities in Macau also confirmed the first imported human H7N9 infection case there on Thursday, according to Xinhua news. The 72-year-old female patient, a regular resident in Zhongshan in China's southern Guangdong province, raised chickens at her home, Xinhua reported.

China's Ministry of Agriculture said late last month that the recent outbreaks of bird flu have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner and have not affected chicken products or prices.

(Reporting by Taipei Newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue)


 (Bird flu) Infected Hunan man critical [The Standard, 12 Jan 2017]

A new human H7N9 avian flu case was reported in central Hunan province today, the second in the province this year. The patient, a 59-year-old man from Yuanjiang City, is in a critical condition.

The first H7N9 case, a 35-year-old male, was confirmed on Saturday. Sporadic human H7N9 cases have been reported around the country.

H7N9, a bird flu strain most likely to strike in winter and spring, was first reported in humans in China in March 2013, Xinhua reports.




 Macau native contracts bird flu after visit to China: Xinhua [Reuters, 12 Jan 2017]

Health authorities have confirmed the first case of H7N9 bird flu in a 72-year-old woman native of the Chinese territory of Macau, after she returned from a visit to the southern Chinese area of Zhongshan, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Three relatives, four ambulance workers, four hospital roommates and 32 healthcare workers have come in contact with the victim, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

They will receive five days of Tamiflu treatment and remain under observation for an additional 10 days, the report said.

In China, over 100 cases of human contamination of H7N9 - a highly pathogenic strain - have been detected, leading to 20 deaths in December, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)



 City quarantines hundreds of cats amid bird flu outbreak [New York Post, 12 Jan 2017]

By Gabrielle Barkho


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Cats in quarantine at the ASPCA.

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Tiny kitty named Alfred is patient zero in bird-flu outbreak

The bird-flu epidemic that has affected animal shelters citywide all began with a little tabby named Alfred.

The kitten was adopted from a Bronx shelter in late October and showed symptoms of H7N2 a few weeks later. He died Nov. 12.

Soon after, hundreds of shelter cats showed the same signs, including runny nose, watery eyes and general weakness.

“Alfred is Patient Zero,” Dr. Robin Brennen, director of shelter medicine for Animal Care Centers of New York City, told The New York Times.

She said it’s unknown where he contracted the illness.

“That’s to me the scary part,” Brennen said. “Weird.”



 Some 17,000 Chickens Killed in Taiwan Amid Bird Flu Outbreak [Sputnik International, 12 Jan 2017]

Almost 16,800 chickens were killed in a farm located in western's Taiwanese Yunlin County after an outbreak of an avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, local media reported Thursday.

BEIJING (Sputnik) — The outbreak of the H5N2 avian influenza virus was registered at the Yuanchang rural township, the Taiwanese Central News Agency (CNA) reported, citing a local veterinarian center.

The media outlet added that during the last 12 days the bird flu had been registered at five farms of the county.

Bird flu is the disease endemic in Asia. When detected in domestic poultry, authorities typically respond by killing thousands of birds in the area to prevent an epidemic.



 Hundreds of NYC Shelter Cats Quarantined After Bird Flu Exposure [NBC New York, 12 Jan 2017]

More than 450 cats may be in quarantine for up to 90 days

Hundreds of New York City shelter cats have been moved to a temporary quarantine in Queens after being exposed to a rare form of bird flu.

More than 450 cats will have to stay in the quarantine for as long as 90 days until experts from the University of Wisconsin can confirm they are not contagious anymore, Animal Care Centers of New York City said Thursday.

The ASPCA set up and is operating the quarantine with the help of agencies from at least eight other states.

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Adorable Animal Babies: Blue Penguin ChickAdorable Animal Babies: Blue Penguin Chick

The particular strain the cats are infected with, known as H7N2, first popped up in a number of felines last month and spread quickly.

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ASPCA teams prepare to transport some of the hundreds of NYC shelter cats that needed to be quarantined after an outbreak of a rare strain of bird flu. Photo credit: ASPCA

"While some of the cats are showing mild flu-like symptoms such as sneezing or runny nose, others are doing well and settling in at the temporary shelter," ACC said in a statement.

ACC said anyone who adopted a cat from its shelters between Nov. 12 and Dec. 15 should monitor the cats for similar symptoms.

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Caring for Cats
Nancy Notaro of Animal Care Centers of NYC offers tips for those looking to adopt a cat for the first time. (Published Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016)

It also cautioned that humans in contact with sick cats should take appropriate precautions. A veterinarian at an ACC shelter contracted the virus from a cat in December.

There are no other human cases or cases of human-to-human transmission since then, the ACC said. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only three humans are known to have ever been infected with this strain, and all suffered only mild illness.

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Just a regular day on the New York subway. (Credit: @itsthekidwonder/Instagram)



 Bird flu scare sees poultry sales suspended at Melton market [Leicester Mercury, 12 Jan 2017]


By Alan Thompson

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ton Cattle Market are suspended until March at the earliest

Poultry sales have been suspended and two members of staff laid off at Melton Cattle Market in the wake of the latest avian flu outbreaks.

Poultry farmers will be unable to sell their birds at the Scalford Road market until the beginning of March at the earliest.

It follows the latest outbreaks of avian flu, which included a case when a wild bird found dead in Leicestershire last month tested positive for the H5N8 strain of avian influenza.

There have been around 10 other cases across the UK, in neighbouring Lincolnshire, Carmarthenshire, in Wales, Settle, in North Yorkshire and at the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset, which has seen about 80 birds die so far this winter..

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed farmers to keep chicken, geese and ducks away from wild birds in a bid to stop the virus spreading.

A notice posted on Melton market's website states: "Due to the outbreak of avian bird flu, restrictions have been put in place which have stopped poultry sales until further notice.

"Once restrictions have been lifted we will let you know. Please accept our apologies during this difficult time."

The market has been told to suspend poultry sales until February 28, when the situation will be reviewed.

Market manager Tim Webster said: "There will be no poultry sales until the end of February/beginning of March at the earliest.

"We are just telling people if they've got poultry to keep them housed if at all possible to keep them away from the native bird population.

"We've had to lay off two part time staff temporarily. It is not an ideal situation and we want to get back to normal as soon as possible.

"It is important to stop the spread of the disease and we are urging people to take every bio-security measure they can by keeping their birds indoors if at all possible."

The market sells a complete range of pure bred poultry as well as hybrid stock.

Ducks, geese, turkeys, peafowl, guinea fowl and pigeons are also sold at the auctions.

A Defra spokesman said: "If you keep poultry – whether on a commercial scale or simply a small backyard flock – you are now required by law to house them or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds.

"This requirement has now been extended until 28 February 2017. We have also banned gatherings of poultry across the UK."

A spokeswoman for the Uppingham-based National Farmers' Union (NFU) East Midlands, said: "The housing order applies to all poultry, whether you have two hens in the back garden or a commercial free range unit.

"The risk of infection from wild birds is high and so every effort must be made to keep domestic poultry away from them."



 Avian Influenza Found in Wild Duck in Montana, Watched by Poultry Industry [Radio 570 WNAX, 12 Jan 2017]

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PHOTO: WNAX

This week USDA officials announced that a wild duck shot in Montana was carrying the H5N2 strain of avian influenza. The finding means all poultry producers need to be vigilant in guarding against any possible spread of the disease. Steve Olson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Chicken and Egg and Turkey Growers Associations says they weren’t surprised at the finding.

He says all poultry producers need exercise caution and protect their flocks against any recurrence of the disease.

Olson says should avian influenza pop up again in Minnesota, they’re well prepared to battle it.

The sick bird in Montana was harvested for surveillance purposes. The USDA says it hasn’t found any illness in domestic flocks.



 Italy reports outbreak of H5N8 bird flu in wild duck - OIE [Reuters, 12 Jan 2017]

PARIS, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Italy reported a case of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus in a wild duck in the northern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday, citing a report from the Italian ministry of health.

The infected wild duck was found dead close to a natural reserve in Grado, the report says.

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread across Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of poultry and the confinement of flocks indoors. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Gus Trompiz)




 China confirms more human bird flu infections [Daily News & Analysis, 11 Jan 2017]


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China has confirmed 106 cases of human H7N9 bird flu infections, and 20 deaths in December, according to a statement issued on the website of National Health and Family Planning Commission on Wednesday.

The new official number is a significant jump from around 40 cases that had been revealed in media reports and by local government to date. The latest government statement did not include details of where each case happened.

China has culled more than 170,000 birds in four provinces since October and closed some live poultry markets after people and chickens were infected by strains of the avian flu. This comes as South Korea and Japan battle their own major outbreaks. The current outbreaks appear isolated. The virus is likely to strike in winter and spring, and farmers have in recent years ramped up measures such as cleaning regimes to prevent the disease.
Widespread infection can lead to severe health risks and big financial losses.

The last major outbreak in China killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector. China is the world's no. 3 producer of broiler chickens and the second-biggest poultry consumer.



 Italy: H5N8 & H5N5 HPAI [Poultrymed, 11 Jan 2017]


On 10 January 2017 a second positivity to Avian Influenza A virus subtype H5N5 was confirmed in wild birds. The virus was detected in a gadwall (Anas strepera) found dead in the municipality of Grado, in close proximity with wetlands. Further analysis to characterize the virus are ongoing.

On 5 January 2017 the National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease (NRL) confirmed a new positivity to High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza virus subtype H5N8 in a Eurasian wigeon (Anas Penelope) found dead in Grado lagoon in Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The NRL communicated the results of phylogenetic analysis on the HPAI virus subtype H5N5 identified on 28 December: the virus clusters with H5N8 viruses found in Europe, Russia, Mongolia, India e China during 2016 and shows the higher similarity with two viruses identified in Poland in December 2016.

On 28 December 2016 the NRL confirmed as positive to High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza virus subtype H5N5 samples obtained from organs of a wild bird found dead in Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. The positive bird was a Eurasian wigeon (Anas Penelope) collected along with other two ducks of the same species in Grado lagoon, a wetland in Gorizia province. Further analysis of the detected virus are ongoing.



 Bird flu scare: Two more birds found dead in Jamnagar village [The Indian Express, 11 Jan 2017]


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Officers of veterinary department in Jamnagar district found two pot-billed duck dead in the local pond of Keshiya village in Jodiya taluka of Jamnagar on Wednesday afternoon. (Source: Google Maps)

Incidentally, culling of poultry and bird of other exotic species had to be done in Hathijan village of Ahmedabad a few days ago after outbreak of bird flu was confirmed

The series of bird deaths in Koshiya village of Jamnagar district continued as two more ducks were found dead on Wednesday even as samples of the 41 birds which had died earlier reached a laboratory in Bhopal. Officers of veterinary department in Jamnagar district found two pot-billed duck dead in the local pond of Keshiya village in Jodiya taluka of Jamnagar on Wednesday afternoon. Officers said the two dead birds were found during their surveillance exercise.”Our teams have been carrying out surveillance in the area since Monday when 41 birds were found dead in village pond of Keshiya. The teams found two more dead spot-billed ducks floating in the water-body. While one carcass of the bird was in a decomposed state suggesting it could have died on Monday, the other was relatively fresh,” Bhagirath Patel, deputy director of animal husbandry in Jamnagar said.

With this, the number of bird deaths have gone up to 43 in the last three days. “We had conducted a rough survey of number of birds in the pond on Monday and we had spotted around 10 other birds. We have already alerted the irrigation department and forest department about the incident. The surveillance and public awareness campaign is going on while we wait for results of laboratory tests to know if this is an outbreak of bird flu,” Patel further added.

Meanwhile, the deputy director said that samples of seven of the 41 dead birds on Monday has been delivered to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. “We had sent a person to deliver the samples to the lab and the lab has confirmed the receipt of samples,” he said.

Incidentally, culling of poultry and bird of other exotic species had to be done in Hathijan village of Ahmedabad a few days ago after outbreak of bird flu was confirmed. The avian flue can transmit to humans and can prove fatal in some cases. Authorities in Jamnagar are, therefore, not taking any chances and treating the Keshiya incident as a suspected case of bird flu.



 China's fifth bird flu outbreak hits goose farm in Hunan province [Reuters, 11 Jan 2017]


China's Ministry of Agriculture said late on Wednesday that a bird flu outbreak, the country's fifth since last October, hit a goose farm in its southern Hunan province, killing 1,054 birds.

The outbreak in Yuanjiang, a city of more than 700,000 people, was confirmed as a case of the H5N6 strain of the virus, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Local government culled a further 2,067 birds after the outbreak, which the Ministry of Agriculture said had been brought under control.

The case brings China's total poultry cull since October to more than 175,000 birds as South Korea and other neighboring countries battle their own major outbreaks. China has confirmed 106 cases of human H7N9 bird flu infections, and 20 deaths in total in December, the National Health and Family Planning Commision said on Wednesday.

Poultry trade has been suspended or restricted in several provinces following human infections.

The Ministry of Agriculture late last month said the recent outbreaks of bird flu have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner without spreading and have not affected chicken products or prices.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)



 Bird Flu-Plagued South Korea to Buy Eggs From U.S. [The Wall Street Journal Journal, 11 Jan 2017]


South Korea loses about 26 million chickens, surpassing 2014 outbreak

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A customer looks at eggs at a supermarket in Seoul on Jan. 3. The sign says 30 vitamin-enhanced eggs for 10,200 Korean won (about $8.60). PHOTO: YONHAP/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

DES MOINES, Iowa—South Korea, in the throes of a bird-flu outbreak, has asked the U.S. for shell eggs, marking the first time the Asian country has sought to buy large quantities of fresh U.S. eggs.

The demand comes at a good time for the U.S. egg industry, which has been awash in the product. The industry has replenished its flocks after an avian-influenza outbreak in the U.S. in 2015 and has ended up with an oversupply that recently sent domestic prices to lows of about 79 cents a dozen.

In 2015, South Korea was one of the few nations to issue a blanket ban on American egg and poultry imports during the U.S. outbreak, which resulted in the deaths of 49 million turkeys and chickens.

Now struggling with its own outbreak of the H5N6 strain since November, South Korea has lost about 26 million chickens and a third of its egg-laying hens. The death toll has surpassed the 2014 outbreak, in which 14 million birds were killed in South Korea.

The agreement to export shell eggs was announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which kept prices from sliding further, said Urner Berry protein market analyst Brian Moscoguiri. Although deals are still being signed, Mr. Moscoguiri said he is aware of contracts for three or four airline flights of eggs, equivalent to as many as four million eggs.

“We had never shipped shell eggs there before, so we did not have a formal protocol between our two governments,” said Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, an industry trade group.

The U.S. remains free of bird flu in commercial poultry production, although a wild mallard duck in Montana tested positive for the H5N2 virus this week.

“This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still avian influenza circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry,” said Dr. Jack Shere, USDA chief veterinarian, in a statement.



 RSPB confirm bird flu has been found at Conwy reserve [Phy, Prestatyn & Abergele Journal, 11 Jan 2017]

by Annie Roberts

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Bird flu has been found in a bird on a Conwy reserve but its owners insist they will not be closing.

The wild bird, which was carrying the strain of avian flu, was found dead on the RSPB Conwy reserve popular with walkers and families and was reported to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

An RSPB spokesperson said: “We can confirm that avian flu was found on a teal at the Conwy reserve. The bird was found dead and was immediately reported to the Defra helpline by RSPB staff.

“This is is not unexpected as the virus is probably circulating in wild birds throughout the UK. The risk to humans remains low and we have not closed the site, but reserve staff at this site and across our whole reserves network are increasing biosecurity as needed in order to minimise virus spread, and remaining vigilant for dead or sick birds.”

The public are advised that if they see a dead bird to avoid physical contact and phone the Defra hotline on 03459 33 55 77 who are currently requesting reports of any dead ducks, geese, swans, gulls, or birds of prey.

For all other species, please only report if five or more are found in the same place.



 Jersey States Vet warns of bird flu [ITV News, 11 Jan 2017]


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Credit: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand DPA/PA Images

Jersey's States Vet is warning bird owners to be careful after an outbreak of bird flu in Europe.

Although the risk of the disease coming to the island is low, advice have been issued to minimise it:
• Avoid contact between domestic poultry and wild birds.
• Where possible chickens, ducks, geese etc. should be kept indoors or in a netted area.

Bird shows have also been postponed until at least next month.

Islanders are being reassured that this strain of influenza has not affected humans, but are being asked to report any dead wild birds to the States Veterinary office.

You can find more information from the UK government here and you can see a map of how the virus is affecting Europe here.

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 Bird Flu Spreads To 26 Nigerian States, Federal Capital Territory [Sahara Reporters, 11 Jan 2017]

BY PUNCH NEWSPAPERJAN

PIC.-3.-DISPOSAL-OF-DEATH-BIRDS-KILLED-BY-BIRDS-FLU-IN-ADAMAWA.jpg
Disposal Of Birds In Adamawa State
Premium Times

According to the government, in a bid to prevent the entry of the disease into their respective countries, Nigeria’s neighbours have proposed a ban on poultry and poultry products from Nigeria.

A new strain of Avian Influenza virus, popularly known as bird flu, has entered Nigeria and spread to 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with over 3.5 million birds affected, the Federal Government has said.

According to the government, in a bid to prevent the entry of the disease into their respective countries, Nigeria’s neighbours have proposed a ban on poultry and poultry products from Nigeria.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this in Abuja for Tuesday at a consultative meeting with commissioners for agriculture/livestock, states directors of veterinary services and major stakeholders in the poultry industry.

Ogbeh explained that the first outbreak of bird flu in Nigeria was reported in 2006 and spanned through 2008, but was controlled and eradicated through concerted efforts facilitated by the availability of resources from a World Bank-sponsored project and support from the country’s development partners.

The minister said, “Almost a decade later, precisely in December 2014, the disease reoccurred in a commercial poultry farm and a live bird market in Kano and Lagos states, respectively. The current status of the disease in the country is quite alarming; it has now affected 26 states and the FCT, with over 3.5 million birds culled so far.

“Recently, a new strain of the bird flu virus (H5N8) was reported in Kano. The new strain is believed to be very pathogenic and more devastating to poultry species and, therefore, it may further add to the burden of the H5N1 strain that is currently circulating in the country.

“The disease is transboundary in nature and also trade-limiting; some of our neighbouring countries have proposed to ban poultry and poultry products from Nigeria. This may undesirably lead to an egg glut in the country.”

Ogbeh stated that there were already huge and unacceptable losses in the poultry industry and the nation as a whole, and urged the agriculture commissioners of the various states to retrace their steps in order to provide safe food for Nigerians as well as ensure national self-sufficiency in food production.

He noted that aside from paucity of funds, other challenges that led to the outbreak of the disease included lack of compliance with on-farm quarantine measures and movement restriction; violation of biosafety measures leading to rapid spread of the disease; and clustering of poultry farmers with limited adherence to hygienic measures.

Others, according to the minister, are reluctance of poultry farmers to register with the state directors of veterinary services for easy monitoring and regulation; and unregulated activities of egg and manure merchants.

To help address the challenges, Ogbeh said the Federal Government had provided disease containment materials, reviewed the national emergency preparedness plan on Avian Influenza, enhanced the laboratory diagnostics capacity at the National Veterinary Research Institute in Plateau State, and created awareness and advocacy on the disease.

He stated that other measures put in place to address the situation were the allocation of quality grains to the Poultry Farmers Association to support its members across the country, and the payment of N707.67m to 276 farmers as compensation.

“The Federal Government is determined to continue to work with state governments, PAN and other stakeholders in the poultry industry to come up with sustainable measures to prevent, control and eradicate this disease from our country within the shortest time possible. This is the major reason for our meeting here today,” Ogbeh said.

Participants at the meeting urged the Federal Government to complete the payment of compensation to farmers who lost millions of naira as a result of the previous outbreak of bird flu in Nigeria.

This, they said, would encourage the farmers to make public any further development of bird flu in their respective areas before the disease would spread to other locations.

Responding, Ogbeh said, “We acknowledge our inability to act promptly in the past to be ahead of the disease and to complete payment of compensation to affected farmers. This was due to constraint of funds as a result of the prevailing economic downturn.”

“But I want to assure you that we are looking for money and we will pay the compensation.”




 Bird flu-plagued South Korea agrees to buy US eggs [The Seattle Times 11 Jan 2017]

By DAVID PITT

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FILE – In this Dec. 28, 2016, file photo, customers look at eggs at a discount store in Seoul, South Korea, a day after government officials announced that millions of chickens would be culled because of an outbreak of bird flu. Because of the spreading bird flu outbreak, South Korea has asked the United States for the first time to ship it shell eggs. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — South Korea is in the throes of a bird flu outbreak has asked the United States to ship it shell eggs, marking the first time the Asian country has sought to buy large quantities of fresh U.S. eggs.

The demand is good for a U.S. egg industry that’s awash in the product, having replenished its flocks after the 2015 bird flu outbreak and ending up with an oversupply that sent domestic prices to industry lows — about 79 cents a dozen earlier this month.


South Korea had been one of a few nations that issued a blanket ban on egg and poultry imports during the U.S.’ 2015 outbreak that resulted in the deaths of 49 million turkeys and chickens.

But it seeks help now that it has lost about 26 million chickens — and a third of its egg-laying hens — to the H5N6 strain since November. It’s South Korea’s worst bird flu outbreak surpassing the 14 million birds killed in 2014.

The agreement to export shell eggs was announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which kept prices from sliding further, according to Urner Berry protein market analyst Brian Moscoguiri. Although deals are still being signed, Moscoguiri said he is aware of contracts for three or four airline flights of eggs — equivalent to as many as three or four million eggs.

“We had never shipped shell eggs there before so we did not have a formal protocol between our two governments,” said Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, an industry trade group which promotes the global export of U.S. poultry and eggs.

Some of the eggs are coming out of Iowa, which is the nation’s leading egg producer. Marcus Rust, the CEO of Rose Acre Farms, which supplies the second-most eggs in the U.S., says that the demand comes at a good time for producers, who usually see a lull in the first few months of a new year.

The U.S. has been called upon to help because it remains free of the bird flu in commercial poultry production. But the disease is a problem in Asia, Europe and other locations. Birds have died in Bulgaria, China, Iran, Japan, Nigeria and Taiwan, and at least three people have died and 19 people are sick in China from infections of H7N9 strain.

The bird flu is still a threat in the United States, however, with the USDA saying this week that a wild mallard duck in Montana tested positive for the H5N2 virus.

“This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still avian influenza circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry,” said Dr. Jack Shere, USDA Chief Veterinarian, in a statement.



 More bird flu outbreaks can be expected in Europe - animal health chief [Reuters, 11 Jan 2017]

By Johnny Cotton, PARIS

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Ducks are seen in a field in Bourriot Bergonce, southwestern France, January 7, 2017, after France ordered a massive culling of ducks in three regions most affected by a severe outbreak of bird flu as it tries to contain the virus which has been spreading quickly over the past month. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Further bird flu outbreaks caused by migrating birds are likely to hit Europe in the future after a second outbreak in as many years on the continent that was down to chance, said the head of the world animal health body.

A total of 18 European countries have been hit by the contagious H5N8 strain since mid-October, leading to the culling of over 1.5 million poultry so far.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has ordered a massive cull of hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese in southwestern France to halt the spread of the virus. It widened the zone on Tuesday.

"Bearing in mind that particularly in Asia there are always different viruses bubbling up -- no region is really safe from fresh contamination, particularly from migrating wild birds," Monique Eloit, director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), told Reuters.

Even so, she said outbreak's like this year's one in Europe depended on the migratory routes of birds from Asia and there was therefore an element of chance as to whether the birds touched down in poultry-heavy areas.

"In Asia you have an almost permanent situation of influenza cases," she said. "In Europe, and particularly in western Europe, it's a situation that's particular to this year."

Foie gras producers in southwestern France were particularly vulnerable however, she said, because ducks need to spend most of the time outdoors, raising the risk of contamination.

Millions of birds have also been slaughtered in South Korea and Japan as a different strain of the virus spreads through Asia, where outbreaks are more common, Eloit said.

In China, over 100 cases of human contamination of a different strain -- H7N9 -- have been detected leading to 20 deaths in December according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

But Eloit said the European strain had not been found in humans and there was little chance it would.

"Historically H5N8 has never been referenced as posing a potential risk to man," she said.

Southwestern France was the center of a severe outbreak of bird flu a year ago - although that turned out to be other strains of the virus - which led authorities to halt foie gras output for several months in a move that producers say cost them 500 million euros ($528.95 million).

(Additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Richard Lough)



 Thousands of birds to be culled in France to stop bird flu [New Scientist, 11 Jan 2017]

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Flu may have killed 49 swans
Finbarr Webster/REX/Shutterstock

THERE’S no end in sight to the bird flu epidemic, which has struck poultry farms across Europe and the Middle East. Some 800,000 exposed, free-range ducks and geese are set to be slaughtered in south-west France this month to stop the H5N8 virus spreading further.

Meanwhile, nine mute swans carrying the virus have died at a major colony at Abbotsbury in Devon, UK, and 40 more swans may also have died from it.

This flu strain has also been killing other bird species, including endangered ones, says the European Food Safety Authority. Infected white-tailed eagles, as well as peregrine falcons, crows and gulls, have been found dead in Europe. These birds may have caught the virus after eating birds killed by flu.

“Given the pattern of spread, the virus is probably being carried by migrating ducks”


“Given the pattern of spread, and the weather we have seen, I think it is being carried by mallard ducks on the short migrations they make during winter,” says Ab Osterhaus at the Research Centre for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses in Hannover, Germany.

H5N8 doesn’t seem to be a threat to humans. It is similar to H5N1, a bird flu strain that has killed hundreds of people, but is thought to be less likely to jump to people. The winter flu season is just getting started in Europe, but fortunately H5N8 is believed to be unlikely to hybridise with human flu viruses – an occurrence that would pose a severe threat.



 Qatar cracks down on poultry imports after bird flu outbreaks [DOHA News, 11 Jan 2017]

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April Younglove / Flickr
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Reacting to avian flu outbreaks in other countries, Qatar has begun cracking down on live bird imports and exports.

According to Al Raya, a temporary ban has been placed on this type of animal.

A source at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) told the newspaper that the ban also applies to some fresh poultry and eggs.

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Pietro Izzo / Flickr
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the past few weeks, different strains of the bird flu virus have emerged in France, South Korea, India, the UK and many other nations.

In some countries, birds got sick and died of the flu, while in others, humans contracted the virus and grew ill or died.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia has in the past 10 days banned chickens and eggs from India, parts of France and Poland over bird flu concerns.

Safety first

The MME source told Al Raya that all poultry products currently inside of Qatar are safe and subject to rigorous inspection.

These imports cannot pass through Qatar’s ports of entry without certification from their home country that they are free of infectious diseases, he added.

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William Brawley/Flickr
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Veterinarians are also keeping tabs on geese, ostriches and other birds at local farms.

A few months ago in October, the MME said it was taking “precautionary measures” to protect residents against the spread of bird flu.

The virus can cause fever, malaise, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, abdominal pain, chest pain and diarrhea. These can then develop quickly and cause severe respiratory problems.

In a statement last week, the World Health Organization said:

“WHO advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid, if possible, poultry farms, contact with animals in live bird markets, entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water, and follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.”

Thoughts?



 Nearly 3 million U.S. eggs en route to bird flu-hit South Korea [Reuters, 11 Jan 2017]

By Jane Chung | SEOUL

The first batch of fresh eggs from the United States will arrive in South Korea on Saturday to ease the country's egg shortage caused by its worst-ever bird flu epidemic, industry sources and an agriculture ministry official said on Wednesday.

South Korea's two major airliners -- Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, will each carry 100 tonnes of eggs, for a total of 2.98 million, said two industry sources with knowledge of the matter.

Spokesman from both airlines confirmed the shipments.

These are the first fresh egg imports from the U.S. to South Korea and the first fresh eggs imports since 1999.

The imported U.S. eggs will be distributed to grocery stores and supermarkets ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday season at the end of this month.

The shipment follows the announcement last week of measures to bring eggs to South Korea from overseas to alleviate a nationwide egg shortfall.

An additional 200 tonnes of eggs will be transported by two Korean Air aircraft sometime next week, one of the industry sources said.

He also said some Korean egg importers are seeking to bring eggs from Spain. Along with U.S., Korea has also finalised negotiations with Spain to clear egg imports, the agriculture ministry official, who declined to be named, said.

Since the first bird flu outbreak was confirmed in November last year, South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, culled a record of over 31 million farm birds, mainly egg-laying hens, that caused a sharp increase in egg prices.

The average retail price of 30 eggs was at 9,440 won ($7.90) on Wednesday, up nearly 74 percent since the first flu outbreak was confirmed on Nov. 18, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries.

(Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 9 -10 Jan 2017





 Russian zoo culls all its birds over avian flu [Channel News Asia, 10 Jan 2017]

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The zoo in the city of Voronezh, some 450 kilometres south of Moscow, was home to species including parrots, eagles, hawks and owls.

MOSCOW: A Russian zoo has euthanised its entire bird population after an outbreak of avian flu, local authorities said on Monday (Jan 9).

The zoo in the city of Voronezh, some 450 kilometres south of Moscow, was home to species including parrots, eagles, hawks and owls.

But it took the drastic step to put down its remaining 141 birds after 35 died from avian flu earlier this month, local authorities said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
The Voronezh zoo itself declined to comment when contacted by AFP on Monday.

A number of European countries have recently taken measures to curb the outbreak of a virulent strain of bird flu sweeping the continent.

Authorities in southwest France last week began a cull of hundreds of thousands of ducks used to produce foie gras, a controversial delicacy made from the livers of ducks and geese after force-feeding.

The strain of the H5N8 virus has been detected in 17 European countries, according to World Organisation for Animal Health - including Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Hungary and Sweden.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 420 people, mainly in southeast Asia, since first appearing in 2003.

Another strain of bird flu, H7N9, has claimed more than 200 lives since emerging in 2013, according to World Health Organisation figures.

There was no word on which bird flu strain had hit the Russian zoo.
- AFP/de



 AVIAN INFLUENZA REPORTED IN MONTANA [The Western News, 10 Jan 2017]


H5N2 Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a hunter-harvested, mallard duck in Fergus County. At this time there have been no additional detections of avian influenza in Montana in either wild or domestic birds.

Wild migratory waterfowl are the natural reservoir for avian influenza. The mallard duck appears to have a similar strain as the 2014/2015 outbreak that affected domestic birds nationwide. Testing of the sample is ongoing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories. No human health issues have been reported for this strain and no illness or mortalities in domestic poultry in Montana have been detected.

Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans and the meat from these animals is safe for human consumption; however, it is recommended that people follow proper sanitary precautions when handling birds. Wear latex or rubber gloves when cleaning birds, washing hands with soapy water after cleaning, clean and disinfect equipment and surfaces that came in contact with the bird, and cook wild birds thoroughly before eating the meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends following sanitary handling procedures and cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Waterfowl often don’t show symptoms of this disease, so hunters should always take precautions,” said Jennifer Ramsey, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Wildlife Veterinarian. “However, people should avoid contact with any sick bird.”

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) encourages poultry producers, including those with small, backyard flocks to keep domestic birds separate from wild waterfowl and to monitor their birds carefully for any sudden death or signs of illness.

Key facts about Avian Influenza:

• Avian influenza (AI) is an infectious viral disease of birds that can cause high mortality rates in domestic flocks

• Avian influenza viruses rarely cause clinical signs in wild waterfowl, although raptors and wild game birds (pheasants, quail, turkey, grouse) may be more susceptible.

• The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) recommends that poultry producers practice good biosecurity including limiting contact between domestic and wild birds, limiting visitor access to domestic poultry.

• Domestic poultry owners should take precautions to keep wild birds out of flocks.

• If you experience sudden onset of illness or high death loss in domestic poultry, please contact the Montana Department of Livestock (444-2043).



 H5N2 found in wild Montana duck as H5N8 spreads to Italy [CIDRAP news, 10 Jan 2017]

by Lisa Schnirring

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Jim Handcock / Flickr cc

The highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu strain linked to several US poultry outbreaks in 2015 has been detected in a wild mallard in Montana as part of ongoing surveillance, US officials said, while the H5N8 strain has spread to more farms in Europe and was confirmed for the first time in Italy.

Same H5N2 strain hit US poultry in 2015

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said yesterday that the mallard was harvested by a hunter in Fergus County, Montana, and tested as part of routine surveillance. The H5N2 finding is the first since August when APHIS announced that similar testing revealed H5N2 in a wild mallard from an animal refuge near Fairbanks, Alaska.

The sample was initially tested at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, then sent to the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for further characterization.

"This appears to be one of the strains we saw during the outbreak in 2014 and 2015," Jack Shere, DVM, the USDA's chief veterinarian, said in the APHIS statement. "This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still avian influenza circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry."

Last month the USDA launched "Defend the Flock," an educational campaign centered around best biosecurity practices for poultry producers, the poultry industry, and animal health officials.

The H5N2 outbreaks that hit chicken and turkey farms mainly in Midwestern states in 2015 affected 15 states and led to the culling of more than 43 million birds with an estimated $3.3 billion in economic losses.

First H5N8 detection in Italy; more spread in Europe

Animal health officials in Italy, meanwhile, recently confirmed highly pathogenic H5N8 from a Eurasian wigeon found dead in a lagoon in Friuli Venezia Giulia region, located in the northeast near the country's border with Austria, according to a notification posted on the Web site of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSV).

Tests confirmed the finding on Jan 5, and Italy's addition to the list of countries affected by H5N8 was noted yesterday in a situation update from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Elsewhere in Europe, the H5N8 virus hit more farms in Germany and Poland, with more wild bird detections reported in Finland, Germany, and Sweden, according to separate reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Germany yesterday reported 23 more H5N8 outbreaks to the OIE, 6 at farms and 17 involving wild birds. All of the farm outbreaks occurred in Lower Saxony state, five affecting fattening turkey operations and one striking birds at a layer facility. Of nearly 84,000 vulnerable poultry, the virus sickened about 12,000 poultry, killing 154 of them. The remaining birds were culled as a control step.

Poland reported 12 more poultry outbreaks, 6 on farms and 6 involving backyard birds, veterinary officials said yesterday in a report to the OIE. The outbreaks affected five different provinces and led to the culling of nearly 140,000 birds.

In related developments, separate reports to the OIE noted that Sweden reported two more H5N8 detections in wild eagles on the country's southeastern coast, and Finland reported a pair of detections in a duck and an eagle found in the southwestern part of the country.




 Bird flu alert for Shropshire and Mid Wales as case confirmed nearby [Shropshire Star, 10 Jan 2017]

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Shropshire and Mid Wales is now on alert

Poultry and bird owners across the region are being urged to remain on alert after an outbreak of “highly pathogenic” bird flu was confirmed in North Wales.

There are now fears the virus could spread and affect chickens and other wild and domestic fowl in Mid Wales and Shropshire. Some experts say it could already be in the region.

NHS Choices say no humans have been infected with bird flu in the UK, although plans are in place to manage any suspected cases.
It has been confirmed a wild duck has died from avian flu at an RSPB reserve in Conwy.

The H5N8 strain of the infection was detected on December 28 and also confirmed in a back-yard flock of chickens and ducks in the Pontyberem area of Carmarthenshire, South Wales, on January 3, after the birds were culled.

It was the same strain of the virus found in an infected wild duck in Llanelli and turkeys in Lincolnshire.

And around 80 wild swans have died at the historic Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset, with nine having confirmed cases of H5N8.

Chief veterinary officer Professor Christianne Glossop said: “It is extremely important bird keepers practice the very highest levels of biosecurity.

“Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

“The movement of poultry should be minimised and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected.”



 Bird flu fears at Dublin Zoo leave animals out of sight [The Irish Times, 11 Jan 2017]

by Mark Hilliard
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Flamingos at Dublin Zoo. File photograph: Paddy Whelan

Attraction moves all birds indoors after case of H5N8 confirmed in wild bird in Wexford

Dublin Zoo has moved its entire bird collection indoors to avoid the latest threat from bird flu.
Following confirmation of Ireland’s first case of the new H5N8 strain in Co Wexford, zoo officials decided to shelter its ostriches, penguins, flamingos and other exotic species in large “back of house facilities”.

Some of the birds will be unavailable to visitors for an indefinite period.
It follows a direction from the Department of Agriculture to poultry owners to keep their flocks indoors in a bid to reduce any outbreak of the disease.

The new strain, which has been detected in several European countries, poses a very low risk to humans.

Birds relocated inside include eight ostriches, 16 humboldt penguins, 25 waldrapp ibis, five common peafowl, two macaws, a breeding group of 82 Chilean flamingos and a number of chickens and ducks from the Family Farm.

“Dublin Zoo takes all bird flu directives from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. As soon as Dublin Zoo was notified at the end of December, they began implementing their contingency plan,” it said in a statement.

Not unusual

Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel said birds in captivity would have contact with those outside and such a contingency move is not unusual.

“This is about protecting our collection. We don’t want them to get sick, it’s important,” he told The Irish Times.

“It’s not an uncommon protection. Continental Europe, I am familiar with what’s happening there, and zoos will put their collection birds indoors to stop direct contact with outside birds. Our birds are out in the open and wild birds fly across and there is contact.”

On Monday, the Department of Agriculture confirmed the strain of bird flu found in Co Wexford last month is the same as that discovered in the UK and across Europe.

The avian influenza subtype H5N8 was found in a wild duck on December 28th and identified as being the same “highly pathogenic strain that has previously been confirmed in the UK and mainland Europe”.




 South Korea to import 1.6 million U.S. eggs after bird flu outbreak [UPI, 10 Jan 2017]

By Elizabeth Shim

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An outbreak of bird flu in South Korea has resulted in an egg shortage, which is being addressed by a large shipment of eggs to Asia’s fourth-largest economy ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. egg producers and the South Korean government have hatched a new plan to tackle the short supply of shell eggs in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

As part of an accelerated agreement, Korean Air is to begin freight shipments of 1.6 million eggs by air Sunday, ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in the country, Yonhap reported.

Korean Air's Boeing 777 aircraft will leave Los Angeles with about 100 tons of U.S. eggs, and arrive on Monday in the afternoon at Incheon International Airport, according to the report.

The agreement was negotiated between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Seoul, after South Korean farmers were forced to eliminate 30 million chickens and other birds after the presence of a bird flu virus, the H5N6, was discovered in flocks across the country, MeatPoultry.com reported Monday.

"They're in a very desperate situation, in fact a situation similar to what we were in a year and a half ago," said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. "So, we certainly can feel their pain and understand their situation. We're only too happy to try and accommodate them."

U.S. egg producers are in favor of the quickly negotiated deal because of the current surplus of eggs in the United States.

October 2016 egg production was up 11 percent from October 2015, according to the report.

As part of the deal, South Korea waived all duties on U.S. egg products, including shell egg and liquid egg products. The agreement stands through June 2017. Seoul has offered to subsidize transportation costs, according to Sumner.

Korean Air is also planning transport of eggs from logistics hubs in Chicago and other parts of the United States.

Sumner said a previous trade agreement would have spared two to three weeks of negotiations, but the deal now means "billions of dozens of eggs shipped."



 More bird flu incidents likely, warns Lesley Griffiths [BBC News, 10 Jan 2017]

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The risk of more cases of avian flu in poultry and other captive birds may increase in the weeks ahead, Wales' rural affairs secretary has warned.
Lesley Griffiths said the risk would not fall in coming weeks, and spring wild bird migration could increase the chances of further cases.

On Monday it was confirmed that a wild duck died from the disease in Conwy, following cases in south Wales.

On Tuesday, Ms Griffiths told AMs that more cases were likely to be found.

Public health officials have stressed that the risk to humans is "very low".

Ms Griffiths previously announced the extension of an all-Wales avian flu prevention zone until 28 February 2017.

Similar measures have been introduced in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Work is in hand, with Defra and the Scottish Government, to consider what the exit strategy might be for lifting the prevention zone," she said in a statement.

"I cannot stress enough the need for those who keep poultry flocks and other domestic birds to remain alert for signs of the disease, to contact their private veterinarians if they have any concerns and to practice the highest levels of biosecurity," Ms Griffiths added.



 Swans found dead at Clumber Park being tested for bird flu [Notts TV, 10 Jan 2017]

By Ed Henderson

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Picture: Marek Szczepanek

A number of swans found dead at a Nottinghamshire country park have been taken to government labs for testing for bird flu.

Twelve swans found dead near the lake at Clumber Park are undergoing post-mortem examination amid fears of avian influenza, or bird flu, which has previously been confirmed present at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire.

Avian influenza is a highly infectious disease caused by the influenza A virus, which can decimate wild bird populations and animals at poultry farms.

The latest strain, H5N8, is a sub-type of the bird flu virus and although no human cases of infection have been detected, the World Health Organisation has said the risk cannot be excluded.

Bird flu is also closely monitored worldwide because of the small risk it could cross over into the human population and cause a pandemic.

A National Trust spokesman said: “The bodies of a number of dead swans have been discovered at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, since Christmas Eve.

“As a precautionary measure, National Trust rangers informed Government scientists, who removed the swan carcasses this week. A post-mortem examination is currently being carried out.

“Clumber Park will remain open to visitors as usual. Public Health England advises that the risks to public health from the H5N8 virus are very low.

“As with any wild animal, we advise our visitors against feeding or touching the ducks, geese and other wild birds at Clumber Park.”

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The birds were found close to the lake at Clumber Park. (Picture: Bryan Pready, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has sent the samples to their lab in Surrey for testing.

DEFRA confirmed there have been no other findings of bird flu in wild or kept birds in Nottinghamshire to date, so if the virus is found in the swans it will be a first for the county.

Rupert Harker produces poultry on his farm near Clipston, also home to Harker’s Farm Shop, and called for everyone who has birds to be responsible.

He said: “We locked all our poultry away three weeks before Christmas and we are waiting to hear the all-clear.

“We often get warnings this time of year about the risks, it is when the birds are migrating to the continent.

“I have had to keep my free range turkeys in and I’ve heard stories that some people are keeping their domestic chickens out, which they shouldn’t be doing.

“If the birds are shut away it reduces the risk of the disease spreading but it has been a worry for us, I have taken extra precautions by disinfecting more and also being vigilant when vehicles come onto the farm for deliveries, you never know if they have been on other poultry farms.

“These are normal precautions just with a bit more care, it is part and parcel of being a livestock farmer.”



 France extends duck cull zone amid further bird flu outbreaks [Fox News, 10 Jan 2017]

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PARIS – France on Tuesday widened an area in which mass culling of ducks is to take place as new cases of bird flu were confirmed in the southwest, the country's main foie gras producing region.

The government had ordered last week the slaughter of all free range ducks, as well as geese, in part of the southwest in a push to halt the spread of the severe H5N8 bird flu virus.

In a decree published in the government's official journal, France listed 187 districts as covered by the preventative cull, compared with 150 in the initial order last week.

France had as of Monday confirmed 109 outbreaks of the H5N8 virus on poultry farms, according to the farm ministry, compared to around 90 when culling of birds began last Thursday.

A group representing producers of foie gras, the delicacy made from duck or goose liver, last week estimated that at least 800,000 ducks would be slaughtered out of a total of 1.3 million birds that were in the initial zone.

A farm ministry spokesman said the extension of the zone was in response to new bird flu cases, and that this could increase the number of animals culled. He declined to give an estimate as to how many could end up being culled.

Southwestern France was the center of a severe outbreak of bird flu a year ago, related to other strains of the virus, which led authorities to halt foie gras output for several months in a move that producers say cost them 500 million euros ($528.95 million).

The H5N8 strain, which is deadly for poultry but has not been found in humans, has spread across Europe since late last year, leading to the slaughter of some farm flocks and the confinement of poultry indoors.

Different bird flu strains have also spread in Asia in recent weeks leading to the slaughter of millions of birds in South Korea and Japan, and some human infections in China.



 Birds at Dublin Zoo moved indoors over avian flu threat [RTE, 10 Jan 2017]

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The penguins have been moved from their normal habitat to a 'back house' facility at the zoo (Pic: Dublin Zoo)

All birds at Dublin Zoo have been moved indoors for the foreseeable future due to the threat of avian flu.

Nearly 150 ostriches, penguins, flamingos and other birds have been moved to a "back house" zoo facility.

In a statement, Dublin Zoo said it is a precautionary measure to prevent them possibly contracting bird flu from wild birds.

Yesterday, the Department of Agriculture confirmed that a wild bird found in Co Wexford on 28 December was infected with the H5N8 avian influenza virus.

H5N8 is the cause of recent outbreaks of bird flu in the UK and across continental Europe and is highly contagious among birds although it poses a low risk to humans.

Since before Christmas all poultry breeders and others who keep birds have been required to keep them indoors as part of a series of bio-security measures put in place by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

A spokesperson for Dublin Zoo said they take direction from the department in relation to bird flu, and once the department issued guidelines on avian flu last month the confinement of Dublin Zoo birds commenced.

He added they will remain in back of house facilities until the all clear is given by the department.


 Bird flu suspected in Kamrej taluka [Time of India, 9 Jan 2017]

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SURAT: Three hens in the coop of a house at Digas village of Kamrej taluka in Surat district died of suspected bird flu on Sunday. The authorities are conducting tests on the infected hens and expect the reports to come by Monday evening. This incident has occurred soon after three ducks were found to be infected with bird flu in the Union Territory of Daman on Saturday.

District health authorities and animal husbandry department officials of the state government were informed about this and they immediately sent the dead birds for tests at the veterinary college of Navsari Agricultural University.

Dr AA Usmani, an officer of department of animal husbandry, said, "We expect the results by Monday and if needed we may go for a detailed examination of the dead birds at the laboratory in Bhopal. We had checked at least one lakh chickens in the poultry farms of Utchal and Valod talukas in Tapi district and did not find anything abnormal in them."

Daman collector Vikram Singh Malik has prohibited sale of eggs, chickens and ducks for a period of 30 days from Saturday. Daman administration has also banned vehicles coming from outside carrying eggs and chickens to the Union Territory during this period. Meanwhile, no fresh case of bird flu was detected in Daman on Sunday.



 H5N8 HPAI GLOBAL situation update [FAO Rome, 9 Jan 2017]

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Disclaimer
Information provided herein is current as of the date of issue. Information added or changed since the last H5N8 situation update appears in red. Human cases are depicted in the geographic location of their report. For some cases, exposure may have occurred in one geographic location but reported in another. For cases with unknown onset date, reporting date was used instead. FAO compiles information drawn from multiple national (Ministries of Agriculture or Livestock, Ministries of Health, Provincial Government websites; Centers for Disease Prevention and Control [CDC]) and international sources (World Health Organization [WHO], World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE]) as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. FAO makes every effort to ensure, but does not guarantee, accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information. The designation employed and the presentation of material on the map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.

Overview
Situation: H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) 2016 virus in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East with pandemic potential.

Confirmed countries: Austria*, Bulgaria*, Croatia*, Czech Republic*, Denmark*, Egypt, Finland, France*, Germany*, Greece, Hungary*, India*, Iran (Islamic Republic of)*, Israel*, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands*, Nigeria*, Poland*, Romania, Russian Federation*, Serbia*, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden*, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland* and Ukraine*.

Animal/environmental findings

• Domestic bird species affected: Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), Duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus), Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Goose (Anserinae sp.), Guinea fowl (Numididae sp.).

• Wild bird species affected: Been Goose (Anser fabalis), Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), Common Barn-Owl (Tyto alba), Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Common Coot (Fulica atra), Common Crane (Grus grus), Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Common Magpie (Pica pica), Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Common Raven (Corvus Corax), Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), Crow (Corvus sp.), curlew (Numenius sp.), Eider (Somateria mollissima), Emu (Dromaius novaeollandiae), Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopella decaocto), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), Great Cested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Great Egret (Ardea alba), Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), Greylag Goose (Anser anser), Gadwall (Anas strepera), Great black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Greater Rhea (Rhea americana), Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Gull (Laridae), Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix), Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus), Long Eared Owl (Asio otus), Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mew Gull (Larus canus), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), munia (Lonchura sp.), Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Owl (Strigiformes), Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala), Peacock (Pavo cristatus), Pelican (Pelecanus sp.), Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Pheasant (Phasianidae sp.), Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina), Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), Stork (Ciconiidae sp.), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), White Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), White tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Wild Duck (Aythyinae or Anatinae sp.), Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis).

Number of human cases: None reported to date.

Recommendations for affected countries and those at risk

FAO recommends intensified surveillance and awareness raising by national authorities.

There is no benefit to be gained in attempting to control the virus in wild birds through culling or habitat destruction. Spraying of birds or the environment with disinfectant – for example sodium hypochlorite or bleach – is considered potentially counter-productive, harmful to the environment and not effective from a disease control perspective.

There is also no justification for any pre-emptive culling of endangered species in zoological collections. Control measures for captive wild birds in places where virus is detected should be based on strict movement control, isolation and only when necessary limited culling of affected birds.

There is also no justification for any pre-emptive culling of endangered species in zoological collections. Control measures for captive wild birds in places where virus is detected should be based on strict movement control, isolation and only when necessary limited culling of affected birds.

General recommendations

・It is important to report sick or dead birds – both wild birds and poultry - to local authorities (veterinary services, public health officials, community leaders etc.). These should be tested for avian influenza viruses.

・Wash hands properly and often. You should always do so after handling birds or other animals, when cooking or preparing animal products, and before eating.

・Eat only well-cooked meat products, and refrain from collecting, consuming or selling animals found sick or dead.

・Seek immediate advice from your physician if you show signs of fever after being in contact with poultry, farmed birds, wild birds or other animals.

Recommendations to poultry producers

・Farmers and poultry producers should step up their biosecurity measures in order to prevent potential virus introduction from wild birds or their faeces.

・It is important to keep poultry and other animals away from wild birds and their sub-products or droppings through screens, fencing or nets.

・Commercial poultry operations and backyard poultry owners should avoid the introduction of pathogens through contaminated clothes, footwear, vehicles or equipment used in waterfowl hunting.
Recommendations to hunters

・Hunting associations and wildlife authorities should be aware that H5N8 and other avian influenza viruses might be present in waterfowl hunted during fall migration 2016 and that hunting, handling and dressing of shot waterfowl carries the risk of spreading avian influenza viruses to susceptible poultry.

・Avoid introduction of avian influenza viruses to poultry through fomites (clothing, boots, vehicles, etc.) and do not feed wild bird scraps to poultry.

・Water bird scraps should not be fed to domestic animals (cats, dogs, or poultry).

・Any waste from hunted birds should be treated as potentially contaminated and safely disposed of.

Recommendations to national authorities

・Increase surveillance efforts for the early detection of H5N8 and other influenza viruses in poultry and dead wild birds.

・Provide means for reporting sick or dead birds, e.g. hotlines and collection points.

・Raise awareness of the general population, poultry producers or marketers and hunters both about the disease as well as the reporting mechanisms for sick or dead birds.

・Collaborate with hunting associations for laboratory testing of hunted birds, especially in areas that are known to be affected.

・Provide means for and ensure proper disposal of carcases after sample collection.
Ensure that the means for laboratory testing are in place to detect the currently circulating avian influenza viruses, especially those of clade 2.3.4.4.

・Gene sequencing should be performed for all H5 viruses detected, and results shared with the global community in a timely manner. This will aid understanding of how the virus is spreading.

・Action on wild birds not recommended.

x Reports of H5N8 HPAI events in Taiwan, Province of China, are not included in this update since the virus belongs to a genetically different strain.
* Countries in which the virus was detected in poultry.



 H7N9 surge in China puts cases over last season's total [CIDRAP News, 9 Jan 2017]

by Lisa Schnirring, News Editor

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whiz-ka / Flickr cc

China over the past few days reported 82 new H7N9 avian influenza cases, including several previously unreported cases between late November and the end of December, already topping the number seen during the entire fourth wave of infections last season.

So far as many as 125 cases have been reported from the mainland, with Hong Kong confirming 3 imported cases. In December, Chinese researchers in an analysis of the fourth wave of H7N9 activity said 118 illnesses occurred, the fewest in the waves so far. The high mark for illnesses was during the second wave, which in 2014 totaled 304 cases.

At least 35 deaths have been reported this season, according to a case list kept by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

At this point it's not clear why activity is surging this season, but the Chinese researchers said the virus continued to be detected in poultry, mainly at live-bird markets.

Hong Kong notes earlier cases, 2 new infections

Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) today said mainland health officials notified it of 83 cases—25 of them fatal—from four provinces that involved illness onsets from Nov 22 to Dec 29. Provincial health department had already announced 11 of the infections covered in the CHP report, 2 of them fatal, according to earlier government statements translated and posted by FluTrackers.

Of the 83 illnesses covered in the CHP report, affected provinces include Jiangsu (52),
Zhejiang (21), Anhui (9), and Fujian (1). The gender breakdown was 54 men and 29 women. Exposure to poultry or poultry markets was reported for 58 of the patients, with the virus sources still under investigation for 17 people.

The CHP report also noted two more recent case-patients, a 55-year-old woman from the Jiangxi province city of Yichun who is in critical condition at a Nanchang hospital and a 49-year-old female poultry seller from the Guizhou province city of Sandu who is also hospitalized in critical condition.

A CHP spokesman said mainland health authorities have recorded 125 H7N9 cases so far this season.

Because H7N9 continues to persist in animals and the environment in the mainland, more human cases are expected there and in neighboring areas, including Hong Kong.

"Therefore, we strongly urge the public to avoid touching birds, poultry, or their droppings and visiting poultry markets or farms during travel, particularly in the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays," the CHP said. "If feeling unwell, such as having a fever or cough, wear a mask and seek medical advice at once."

Cases in Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Shanghai

In related developments, provincial and local health departments, plus state media, reported eight more cases in the past few days.

Jiangxi province detected four more H7N9 cases, with all the patients in critical condition, according to government reports translated and posted by FluTrackers. Patients are a 72-year-old woman hospitalized in Nanchang, a 83-year-old woman and a 48-year-old man hospitalized in Jiujiang, and a 55-year-old woman hospitalized in Yichun.

Elsewhere, Shanghai health officials reported an H7N9 infection in a 58-year-old man, according to a translation of a government statement. The illness is the third reported from
Shanghai during the current wave of activity. It's not clear if the patients were exposed to the virus in Shanghai or elsewhere; the two earlier infections detected in the city involved patients with connections to Jiangsu and Sichuan province.

Shandong province reported its second recent case, which involves a 53-year-old man from the city of Laiwu, according to a translation of a local health commission statement posted by FluTrackers. Hunan province also reported an H7N9 illness in a 35-year-old man who had close contact with poultry. He is listed in critical condition, according to the translated provincial health department notice.

Guizhou province reported yet another case, that of a 52-year-old man from Qiannan who works as a poultry vendor, Xinhua, China's state news agency. The man is being treated in the hospital.



 H7N9 avian influenza: China reports dozens of cases from December [Outbreak News Today, 9 Jan 2017]

The Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission released data today that shows 83 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including 25 deaths, were recorded in December 2016.


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Image/dinky123uk

The 54 male and 29 female patients aged from 23 to 91 from Jiangsu (52 cases), Zhejiang (21 cases), Anhui (nine cases) and Fujian (one case) had their onset from November 22 to December 29, 2016. Among them, 58 reported exposure to poultry or poultry market while the source of infection of 17 cases was under investigation.

In addition, the Hong Kong CHP is closely monitoring an additional human H7N9 case in Jiangxi yesterday. According to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Jiangxi Province, the female patient aged 55 from Yichun was hospitalised in Nanchang in critical condition.

The Guizhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional case affecting a female patient aged 49 from Sandu involved in poultry selling who was hospitalised in critical condition.

“Most human cases occurred in winter and spring while disease activity was low in summer and autumn. From 2013 to date, 900 human cases have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, 125 of which have been recorded from November 2016 thus far,” a spokesman for the CHP said.



 Bird flu fears as swans found dead in Clumber Park [Lincolnshire Live, 9 Jan 2017]

By James Peck

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Swans pictured in Clumber Park on Sunday after 12 were found dead during the festive period

Twelve swans have been found dead at Clumber Park prompting bird flu concerns.

Government investigators have taken the carcasses to be lab tested and say they are not making any conclusions until the results have returned.

Bosses at the popular National Trust property and park near Retford have urged people to avoid going near wildfowl at the site, which has huge populations of birds attracted by the large, serpent-shaped lake.

A National Trust spokesperson said: "The bodies of a number of dead swans have been discovered at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire. A total of 12 swans have been found near the lake at Clumber Park since Christmas eve.

"As a precautionary measure National Trust rangers informed Government scientists, who removed the swan carcasses this week. A post-mortem examination is currently being carried out.

"Clumber Park will remain open to visitors with usual. Public Health England advises that the risks to public health from the H5N8 virus are very low.

"As with any wild animal, we advise our visitors against feeding or touching the ducks, geese and other wild birds at Clumber Park."

Visitors to the park this weekend were concerned by the news.

"We love coming to Clumber and one of our favourite things is for the children to feed the swans, geese and ducks," said mum-of-two Lydia Carmichael, 44, from Sheffield.

"It's so sad to hear swans are dying - you hear all the fears about bird flu and wonder if it's got here."

Vanessa Sanchez, 56, added: "When you see the swans on the lake at this time of year when it's all misty, it's just wonderful. I hate the idea that some awful disease is wiping them out."

Retford bird expert, Adrian Blackburn, treasurer of Lound Bird Club, said the public have next to nothing to fear about any potential bird flu outbreak at the park on their health, but said if it is found then other sites in the area could become affected.

"If it is bird flu, the chances of it spreading to humans is negligible with this particular strain, H5N8," he said.

"But it's not just wildfowl at Clumber it could affect. Ducks, geese and swans don't just stop at Clumber - there's proof that they go around other areas in north Notts like Rufford and Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

"I'm not sure what the approach would be - if it is bird flu then it won't be like the outbreak in Louth late last year. There, it was a captive turkey population that was culled with a 10km restriction zone around it which looks to have possibly ended the problem.

"But here it's a wild population. Where would you stop with a cull? That's unlikely. I think they would say business as usual and monitor the situation.

"Until the results come back we just don't know what's going to happen."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who are probing the swan deaths, say samples from Clumber have been sent to its lab in Surrey for a number of different tests, including for H5N8.

The latest strain of bird flu has been found in Wales, Scotland, Merseyside, Gloucestershire and Somerset, as well as in some of the 2,500 turkeys culled in Lincolnshire.



 Avian Influenza Outbreak 2017: Symptoms To Know As Cases Of Bird Flu Are Identified Across The Globe [Medical Daily, 9 Jan 2017]


Most forms of avian influenza strictly affect birds, but cases of human infection have been reported. With recent outbreaks of bird flu around the world, and reports of several deaths due to the disease in China, it’s important to know the symptoms, which will vary depending on the strain.

At least four people have died this winter in China from H7N9 bird flu, Fox News reported. Meanwhile, an unidentified bird flu strain hit a Russian zoo, which resulted in the euthanization of 141 birds on Monday. According to AFP, other European countries have also been taking steps to avoid outbreaks.

H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu, and symptoms are typical of other types of flu, according to HealthLine. They include cough, diarrhea, respiratory difficulties, high fever, headache, muscle aches, runny nose, and sore throat. H5N1 has a high mortality rate, while other types of avian influenza don’t.

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Human infection typically occurs when bird flu virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or is inhaled.
Photo courtesy of Pexels

Laboratory testing is required to diagnose avian influenza in humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Human infection typically occurs when bird flu virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or is inhaled. Additionally, the spread of avian influenza viruses from one infected person to another has been reported, but it happens very rarely.

According to the New York Times, your risk of getting the bird flu virus is higher if you work with poultry, travel to countries where the virus is present, or eat raw or undercooked poultry meat, or eggs.

Treating bird flu in humans also varies based on strain and symptoms.



 Up to 80 swans are killed by bird flu outbreak at nature reserve owned by earl's granddaughter with £420million fortune [Mail Online, 9 Jan 2017]

By Richard Spillett

• Aristocrat is only other person other than the Queen to be able to own swans
• The swannery she owns in Dorset has seen 80 of the birds die this winter
• Experts have confirmed nine cases of bird flu, with many more feared
• Outbreak of the disease in birds has hit other areas of the country this winter

A famous swannery owned by one of the richest women in Britain has been struck by a bird flu epidemic.

Eighty wild swans have died at the historic Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset - with nine confirmed cases of H5N8 strain of avian influenza.

The site is owned by Charlotte Townshend, the granddaughter of the 7th Earl of Ilchester and daughter of the 9th Viscount Galway.

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Up to 80 wild swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset have died after a bird flu outbreak

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The case is the latest of wild birds testing positive for avian influenza this winter

The 61-year-old - whose fortune has been estimated at £420 million - is the only person in Britain other than the Queen entitled to own swans.
It is the same strain of avian flu that has broken out in other areas of Britain, including the Wildfowl and Wetlands Slimbridge reserve in Gloucestershire.

Staff are now battling to stop the outbreak - thought to have been brought into Britain by migratory birds from Europe - from spreading to local poultry.

DEFRA has confirmed nine cases of bird flu at Abbotsbury in its mute swans. They stopped testing once it has been detected so the actual number of cases could be as much as the 80 that have died.

The attraction is closed until March, with access restricted to authorised staff who are taking extra precautions to prevent the outbreak from spreading further.

Abbotsbury Tourism general manager John Houston said: 'Unfortunately there's nothing we can do about it. You can't stop migratory birds dropping in to local colonies like ours and infect the population.

'What seems to be happening is it's attacking the younger swans who haven't built up their antibodies and immunity in the way the older swans have.

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The site is owned by Charlotte Townshend, the granddaughter of the 7th Earl of Ilchester

'We expect to have 30 or 40 swans die over the winter period due to cold weather, old age and other ailments, but so far 80 have died, which is above the norm.

'Nine have definitely tested positive for bird flu but since DEFRA stops testing once they have detected it they don't test anymore so we can't be sure if other cases are bird flu or not. But it is a very big outbreak.

'The current H5N8 strain of bird flu is of very low risk to public health and has never transferred to humans. It's not a problem for the human population thankfully, it's totally a bird disease.'

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Staff at the site are now battling to stop the disease spreading to local poultry

Abbotsbury Swannery, which sits behind Chesil Beach, near Weymouth, was hit in January 2008 when restrictions were put in place after a number of dead birds were found to have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus.

The origins of the swan herd date back to the 11th century when they were originally farmed by Benedictine monks for banqueting.

Abbotsbury Swannery is owned by the Ilchester estate, which first bought the swans from Henry VIII in 1541.



 Bird flu outbreak hits Abbotsbury swannery in Dorset [The Guardian, 9 Jan 2017]

Nine dead swans have tested positive for H5N8 strain of virus at site where about 80 birds have died so far this winter

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A swan watches over its cygnets at Abbotsbury swannery in Dorset. Measures are being taken to prevent the disease spreading to poultry flocks. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty


An outbreak of avian influenza has been detected at the historic Abbotsbury swannery in Dorset, where 80 birds have died.

The H5N8 strain of bird flu has been confirmed in nine mute swans but testing stops once the presence of the disease has been established so it is not known how many have been struck by the disease. Usually 30-40 swans would be expected to die over a typical winter.

Measures are being taken to stop the disease spreading to poultry flocks but the 1,000 free-flying swans at Abbotsbury are wild and it is not possible to completely confine them.

Avian flu has been detected in poultry flocks from Lincolnshire to south-west Wales and as far north as Yorkshire as well as in wild birds across the country.

Poultry keepers in England, Wales and Scotland have been ordered to keep their flocks separate from wild birds until the end of February.

Staff at Abbotsbury swannery, which is thought to have been established by Benedictine monks in the 11th century, spotted mute swans looking lethargic and then dying shortly before Christmas.

It sent the bodies for testing and the H5N8 strain was confirmed in nine birds.

John Houston, the Abbotsbury Tourism general manager, said the welfare of the birds and of swannery staff was the priority.

“Cases of avian flu have been reported in wild birds in Europe and in a number of locations across the UK. The current H5N8 strain of bird flu is of very low risk to public health and has never transferred to humans, but the wellbeing of the swans and other birds that visit the swannery is paramount,” he said.

“The swannery is closed to the public for the winter and is not due to reopen until March. Current access to the site is therefore restricted to staff members only. We are closely monitoring the health of the swans and our staff are taking all necessary precautionary measures as advised.”

Houston said staff were very distressed over the outbreak. “This is a vocation for them. They live and breathe it. But that is nature.”

Benedictine monks used to farm the swans at Abbotsbury for lavish banquets.

In November and December, the population triples when hundreds of other swans not native to the area go to Abbotsbury to feed on the plentiful eelgrass.



 Bird flu confirmed at world-renowned swannery in Dorset [The Telegraph, 9 Jan 2017]

by Anita Singh

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An outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset CREDIT: APEX

An outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset, one of Britain’s top nature attractions, with nine swans testing positive for the disease and dozens more cases suspected.

Abbotsbury has the only managed colony of mute swans in the world and this winter recorded double the usual number of bird deaths.

The nine birds tested positive for the H5N8 strain of avian flu, which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has classified as ‘very low risk’ to humans.

John Houston, tourism general manager at the swannery, said: “At this time of year we would expect 30-40 deaths - from old age, bad weather, a low supply of eelgrass, or general wear and tear - but this year we have had 80 so far.

“Once Defra have a positive result, they don’t carry on testing, so we have not submitted any more birds to them. But we can assume, because it’s above the norm, that this is the cause of death in the others.

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Abbotsbury Swannery is closed for the winter as usual, and will reopen in March CREDIT: FINBARR WEBSTER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

“The disease has been in Europe for months now and we knew it was only a question of time before it came to England because of the migratory patterns. Our swans are here all year because it is an ideal nesting area, but other birds just fly in and we have no control over them.”

Mr Houston added: “Our staff are taking it very hard. We may have a colony of over 1,000 birds here but we are attached to them, and the ones that have died were all cygnets born in May this year.

“That is one encouraging fact - it seems to be in very young birds who haven’t yet built up enough immunity. The older birds are more resilient.”

The swannery is closed for the winter and will re-open as normal in March.

The H5N8 strain has been detected in the wild bird population at other sites around the UK, including the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre at Slimbridge, Gloucs, and RSPB reserves in Devon, north Wales, Lincolnshire and Merseyside.

An RSPB spokesman said: “The risk to humans remains low and we have not closed the affected sites, but staff at these sites and across our whole network are increasing biosecurity as needed in order to minimise virus spread, and remaining vigilant for dead or sick birds.”

Keepers of chickens, ducks and geese are required by Defra to keep them indoors, or separate from wild birds using netted enclosures, under a “prevention zone” in place until May. There is a also a Britain-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

It comes after the disease was confirmed in a back yard flock of chickens and ducks in Carmarthenshire, while a turkey farm in Lincolnshire suffered an outbreak before Christmas.

The Food Standards Agency has reassured consumers that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.



 Avian influenza detected in Fergus Co. [NBC Montana, 9 Jan 2017]


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HELENA, Mont. - The following is a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks:

H5N2 Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a hunter-harvested, mallard duck in Fergus County. At this time there have been no additional detection of avian influenza in Montana in either wild or domestic birds.

Wild migratory waterfowl are the natural reservoir for avian influenza.

The mallard duck appears to have a similar strain as the 2014/2015 outbreak that affected domestic birds nationwide.

Testing of the sample is ongoing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

No human health issues have been reported for this strain and no illness or mortalities in domestic poultry in Montana have been detected.

Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans and the meat from these animals is safe for human consumption; however, it is recommended that people follow proper sanitary precautions when handling birds.

Wear latex or rubber gloves when cleaning birds, washing hands with soapy water after cleaning, clean and disinfect equipment and surfaces that came in contact with the bird, and cook wild birds thoroughly before eating the meat.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends following sanitary handling procedures and cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Waterfowl often don’t show symptoms of this disease, so hunters should always take precautions,” said Jennifer Ramsey, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Wildlife Veterinarian. “However, people should avoid contact with any sick bird.”

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) encourages poultry producers, including those with small, backyard flocks to keep domestic birds separate from wild waterfowl and to monitor their birds carefully for any sudden death or signs of illness.



 USDA finds bird flu in Montana wild duck [Manitoba co-operator, 9 Jan 2017]

By Tom Polansek

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A male mallard duck. (Alain Carpentier photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Chicago | Reuters — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday it had detected a type of bird flu in a wild duck in central Montana that appeared to match one of the strains found during an outbreak of the disease in 2014 and 2015 that led to the deaths of millions of chickens.

No U.S. poultry have been found to be sick or dead from the disease in connection with the latest discovery, USDA said.

The sample came from a bird harvested by hunters in Fergus County, roughly 250 km south of where the state line meets the Alberta/Saskatchewan provincial border.

Different strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been confirmed across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks. Authorities have culled millions of birds in affected areas to control the outbreaks.

In 2014 and 2015, the U.S. killed nearly 50 million birds, most of which were egg-laying hens, during its bout of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. The losses pushed U.S. egg prices to record highs and prompted trading partners to ban imports of U.S. poultry.

“This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still HPAI circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry,” said Jack Shere, the USDA’s chief veterinarian.

The infected mallard duck in Montana was found as part of routine surveillance for bird flu, according to USDA. The agency said it was actively looking for the virus in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in other wild migratory birds, which can carry the disease without appearing sick.

The strain of flu detected in Montana was a “Eurasian/North American reassortant” of the H5N2 strain of the virus, according to USDA.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has reported outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus.

In South Korea, the rapid spread of the H5N6 strain of the virus has led to the country’s worst-ever outbreak of bird flu.

In China, people have died this winter amid an outbreak of the H7N9 virus in birds.

No human infections have occurred in the U.S., according to the USDA.

— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago, with files from AGCanada.com Network staff.



 Bird flu confirmed in Fergus Co. duck [Great Falls Tribune, 9 Jan 2017]

by David Murray

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(Photo: AP)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported Monday that a hunter-harvested mallard duck in Fergus County has tested positive for the H5N2 Avian influenza virus. This is the first recurrence of the highly contagious “bird flu” disease since 2015, when close to 50 million chickens and turkeys in the U.S. either died or were put down in response to the outbreak.

“The mallard duck appears to have a similar strain as the 2014/2015 outbreak that affected domestic birds nationwide,” the MFWP news release states. “Testing of the sample is ongoing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories. No human health issues have been reported for this strain and no illnesses or moralities in domestic poultry in Montana have been detected.”

Tissues from the Fergus County mallard were tested at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Characterization of the sample is ongoing.

While the immediate detection remains limited to a single occurrence, USDA officials are bracing themselves for a possible resurgence of the same bird epidemic that the U.S. egg industry just two years ago. At its height, close to half of the commercial egg producing operations in the upper Midwest were completely shut down, resulting in a total economic loss of approximately $3.3 billion in dead birds, lost sales and replacement costs.

“That was the most costly animal health emergency in the history of this country,” said Marty Zaluski, state veterinarian for the Montana Department of Livestock.

The death loss was so dramatic that producers were at a loss as to where to dispose of the mountains of dead birds left in the epidemic’s wake. Egg prices across the upper Midwest rose by as much as 85 percent, and processed turkeys were in short supply throughout the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday.

“This appears to be one of the strains we saw during the outbreak in 2014 and 2015,” Dr. Jack Shere, USDA chief veterinarian, said in a USDA news release issued Monday. “This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still avian influenza circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about bio-security to protect domestic poultry.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to the general public from H5N2 infections to be extremely low. No human infections have occurred in the United States.

In Montana, only two cases of H5N2 avian influenza were confirmed in 2015; the first detected in a privately owned gyrfalcon that had been fed meat from a wild duck harvested in Lake County, the other in a backyard poultry operation of about 40 chickens at a farm in Judith Basin County.

At this juncture, Department of Agriculture officials are downplaying the severity of the recent Fergus County detection.

“The detection of this virus is not as concerning (as in 2015), so long as we don’t detect the spill-over into commercial poultry in particular,” Zaluski said. “We wouldn’t want to see it in domestic poultry of any sort. This is basically a wake-up call. This disease is present in wild waterfowl, do what you can to make sure that you keep domestic poultry away from them to the extent possible.”

“Either putting a net over their pen, or otherwise preventing the commingling of domestic and wild avian species would be to best advantage,” Zaluski said. “You can do that by keeping your birds in full confinement or again, by putting some kind of netting over the birds so you don’t have a bunch of waterfowl come in.”

Learn more

The USDA has recently launched “Defend the Flock,” a new educational campaign that provides commercial poultry owners and growers, as well as federal, state and local animal health officials resources to help ensure that the best bio-security practices are being used to protect commercial flocks from infectious disease. Defend the Flock information can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.

Hunters should dress game birds in the field whenever possible and practice good bio-security to prevent any potential disease spread. Bio-security information is available at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2015/fsc_hpai_hunters.pdf.

All bird owners should report any sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state and federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on bio-security for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.



 Bird flu reported in Fergus County, Mont. [Agweek, 9 Jan 2017]


H5N2 Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a hunter-harvested, mallard duck in Fergus County. At this time there have been no additional detections of avian influenza in Montana in either wild or domestic birds.


Wild migratory waterfowl are the natural reservoir for avian influenza. The mallard duck appears to have a similar strain as the 2014/2015 outbreak that affected domestic birds nationwide. Testing of the sample is ongoing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories. No human health issues have been reported for this strain and no illness or mortalities in domestic poultry in Montana have been detected.

Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans and the meat from these animals is safe for human consumption; however, it is recommended that people follow proper sanitary precautions when handling birds. Wear latex or rubber gloves when cleaning birds, washing hands with soapy water after cleaning, clean and disinfect equipment and surfaces that came in contact with the bird, and cook wild birds thoroughly before eating the meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends following sanitary handling procedures and cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Waterfowl often don’t show symptoms of this disease, so hunters should always take precautions,” said Jennifer Ramsey, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Wildlife Veterinarian. “However, people should avoid contact with any sick bird.”

The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) encourages poultry producers, including those with small, backyard flocks to keep domestic birds separate from wild waterfowl and to monitor their birds carefully for any sudden death or signs of illness.

Key facts about Avian Influenza:

・Avian influenza (AI) is an infectious viral disease of birds that can cause high mortality rates in domestic flocks

・Avian influenza viruses rarely cause clinical signs in wild waterfowl, although raptors and wild game birds (pheasants, quail, turkey, grouse) may be more susceptible.

・The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) recommends that poultry producers practice good biosecurity including limiting contact between domestic and wild birds, limiting visitor access to domestic poultry.

・Domestic poultry owners should take precautions to keep wild birds out of flocks.
If you experience sudden onset of illness or high death loss in domestic poultry, please contact the Montana Department of Livestock (444-2043).

If you find sick or dead wild birds that have died from unknown causes please contact your local FWP Warden, Biologist or Regional office, or call the FWP wildlife veterinarian (994-5671).

Fergus County is in zone 1 of Montana’s Central Flyway which includes the central and north eastern portion of Montana. Duck season in zone 1 closed Jan. 5. Duck season in zone 2 of Montana’s Central Flyway, which is much of the south central part of the state, closes Jan. 17.



 U.S. agriculture department finds bird flu in Montana wild duck [Reuters, 9 Jan 2017]

By Tom Polansek, CHICAGO

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday it had detected a type of bird flu in a wild duck in Montana that appeared to match one of the strains found during an outbreak of the disease in 2014 and 2015 that led to the deaths of millions of chickens.

No U.S. poultry have been found to be sick or dead from the disease in connection with the latest discovery, the USDA said.

Different strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been confirmed across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks. Authorities have culled millions of birds in affected areas to control the outbreaks.

In 2014 and 2015, the United States killed nearly 50 million birds, most of which were egg-laying hens, during its bout of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. The losses pushed U.S. egg prices to record highs and prompted trading partners to ban imports of U.S. poultry.

“This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still HPAI circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry," said Jack Shere, the USDA's chief veterinarian.

The infected mallard duck in Montana was found as part of routine surveillance for bird flu, according to the USDA. The agency said it was actively looking for the virus in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in other wild migratory birds, which can carry the disease without appearing sick.

The strain of flu detected in Montana was a "Eurasian/North American reassortant" of the H5N2 strain of the virus, according to the USDA.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has reported outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus.

In South Korea, the rapid spread of the H5N6 strain of the virus has led to the country's worst-ever outbreak of bird flu.

In China, people have died this winter amid an outbreak of the H7N9 virus in birds.

No human infections have occurred in the United States, according to the USDA.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Bill Rigby)



 The same bird flu that wiped out millions of US egg laying hens is back [Quartz, 9 Jan 2017]

Quartz1.jpg


The US poultry industry is on high alert after the US Department of Agriculture on Jan. 9 announced a dangerous strain of H5N2 avian influenza was discovered on a duck in Fergus County, Montana.

Word about that particular strain of bird flu is enough to trigger nightmares for many American egg farmers, who suffered more than $1 billion in losses over six months after the virus spread from migratory birds and into their flocks in 2015, killing more than 48 million hens in 223 separate outbreaks across the country. During that period, egg prices surged by as much as 31%.

Quartz2.jpg


“This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still [avian influenza] circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry,” said Jack Shere, the government’s chief veterinarian.

The virus outbreak in 2015 caused US trading partners to ban American egg exports. Revenue for the poultry industry dropped $400 million, or 14%, in the first half of that year compared to the previous year, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. US congressional leaders held hearings to discuss how to improve poultry barn biosecurity, and the USDA dispatched investigators into midwest and southern states to assist in installing protective measures.

This time around, the egg industry says it’s cautiously optimistic about measures taken to protect against the virus. Those include restricting the number of people with access to egg farms, preventing hens from being exposed to wild birds and their droppings, increasing veterinary monitoring of flocks, and using protective gear when working around hens, said United Egg Producers president Chad Gregory .

“Consumers should know that avian influenza cannot be transmitted through safely handled and properly cooked eggs and poultry,” Gregory added.

The virus is particularly threatening because of how easily it can be transmitted. Excrement from infected migratory fowl flying above farms and barns can seep through cracks in barn roofs. Farm workers can track it into barns with dirty shoes, and farm trucks can even carry it on dirty wheels. If one bird is found to be sick, farmers must then destroy the entire flock, often by gassing hundreds of birds to death at once.



 Bird flu suspected in Kamrej taluka [Times of India, 9 Jan 2017]

Surat: Three hens in the coop of a house at Digas village of Kamrej taluka in Surat district died of suspected bird flu on Sunday. The authorities are conducting tests on the infected hens and expect the reports to come by Monday evening. This incident has occurred soon after three ducks were found to be infected with bird flu in the Union Territory of Daman on Saturday.

District health authorities and animal husbandry department officials of the state government were informed about this and they immediately sent the dead birds for tests at the veterinary college of Navsari Agricultural University.

Dr AA Usmani, an officer of department of animal husbandry, said, "We expect the results by Monday and if needed we may go for a detailed examination of the dead birds at the laboratory in Bhopal. We had checked at least one lakh chickens in the poultry farms of Utchal and Valod talukas in Tapi district and did not find anything abnormal in them."

Daman collector Vikram Singh Malik has prohibited sale of eggs, chickens and ducks for a period of 30 days from Saturday. Daman administration has also banned vehicles coming from outside carrying eggs and chickens to the Union Territory during this period. Meanwhile, no fresh case of bird flu was detected in Daman on Sunday.

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 5 to 8 Jan 2017



 Bird flu detected in Daman; poultry items banned for a month [The New Indian Express, 8 Jan 2017]

poultry_EPS.jpg File photo for representation purpose only.

DAMAN: Two samples of chicken were found positive for H5N1 bird flu in Kadaiya village in Daman district following which the administration has prohibited import, sale and storage of poultry products, and banned restaurants from serving chicken and egg products for a month.

The Daman district in the Union Territory of Daman and Diu has been declared as "surveillance zone" and Kadaiya village panchayat an "infected area" after bird flu was detected, officials said today. "Due to positive sample of H5N1 (bird flu/avian influenza), the Kadaiya village area is hereby notified as 'infected area' and the whole Daman district is notified as 'surveillance zone' for a period of 30 days till February 7, 2017," said a notification issued by district administration.

"In pursuance of probability of H5N1 in Daman district, the import, sale and storage of all poultry product particularly eggs, chicken, ducks, etc, are prohibited for a period of 30 days upto February 7, 2017," another order said. "Samples of two chicken tested positive for H5N1 bird flu aviation influenza, after which we issued the above order last night itself. All shops selling poultry products have been closed, and teams of Excise, transport, food inspector, along with senior officials of the district administration are out to ensure that the order is implemented effectively," said J B Singh, adviser to administrator, Daman and Diu. Daman Deputy Collector Karanjit Vadodariya said the district administration met last evening and took the decision to this effect.

"A rapid response team has also been mobilised," Vadodariya said. Experts from Union Health Ministry had yesterday taken stock of situation at Hathijan village in Gujarat's Ahmedabad district where over 1,400 birds were culled following the death of Guinea Fowls, brought from Mumbai, due to birdflu.



 CHP closely monitors six human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland [Military Technologies, 8 Jan 2017]


The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (January 8) closely monitoring a total of six additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Jiangxi, Shanghai, Hunan and Shandong, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

According to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Jiangxi Province, the three patients include two women aged 72 and 83 both in critical condition as well as a man aged 48 in stable condition.

The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning reported that the patient is a man aged 58. The Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the male patient aged 35 in critical condition had close contact with poultry. In addition, the Health and Family Planning Commission of Laiwu Municipality reported that the patient is a man aged 53.

„We will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments,” a spokesman for the CHP said.

„As H7N9 virus continues to be detected in animals and environments in the Mainland, additional human cases are expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas. Epidemiological experience in the past few years shows that most imported human H7N9 cases were detected in Hong Kong in the first quarter. In view of the heavy trade and travel between the Mainland and Hong Kong, further sporadic human cases in Hong Kong every now and then are expected, especially in the coming few months,” the spokesman said.

„Therefore, we again urge the public to avoid touching birds, poultry or their droppings and visiting poultry markets or farms during travel, particularly in the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays. If feeling unwell, such as having a fever or cough, wear a mask and seek medical advice at once. Travellers returning from affected areas should consult doctors promptly if symptoms develop, and actively inform the doctors of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment,” the spokesman added.

The CHP’s Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.

The display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.

The public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below while handling poultry:



 Bird flu detected in Daman; poultry items banned for a month [Firstpost, 8 Jan 2017]

Daman: Two samples of chicken were found positive for H5N1 bird flu in Kadaiya village in Daman district following which the administration has prohibited import, sale and storage of poultry products, and banned restaurants from serving chicken and egg products for a month.

The Daman district in the Union Territory of Daman and Diu has been declared as "surveillance zone" and Kadaiya village panchayat an "infected area" after bird flu was detected, officials said on Sunday.

"Due to positive sample of H5N1 (bird flu/avian influenza), the Kadaiya village area is hereby notified as 'infected area' and the whole Daman district is notified as 'surveillance zone' for a period of 30 days till 7 February, 2017," said a notification issued by district administration.
Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

bird_flu_Reuters.jpg
Representational image. Reuters

"In pursuance of probability of H5N1 in Daman district, the import, sale and storage of all poultry product particularly eggs, chicken, ducks, etc, are prohibited for a period of 30 days upto 7 February, 2017," another order said.

"Samples of two chicken tested positive for H5N1 bird flu aviation influenza, after which we issued the above order last night itself. All shops selling poultry products have been closed, and teams of Excise, transport, food inspector, along with senior officials of the district administration are out to ensure that the order is implemented effectively," said J B Singh, adviser to administrator, Daman and Diu.

Daman Deputy Collector Karanjit Vadodariya said the district administration met last evening and took the decision to this effect.

"A rapid response team has also been mobilised," Vadodariya said.

Experts from Union Health Ministry had yesterday taken stock of situation at Hathijan village in Gujarat's Ahmedabad district where over 1,400 birds were culled following the death of Guinea Fowls, brought from Mumbai, due to birdflu.



 BIRD FLU UPDATE: Keep birds inside until spring, poultry owners advised [North Devon Journal, 8 Jan 2017]

by North Devon Journal

15784874-large.jpeg
Avian flu outbreaks have been confirmed in multiple UK locations.
Read more at http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/update-keep-birds-inside-until-spring-poultry-owners-advised/story-30039956-detail/story.html#Gd0gspTRztyGSWvg.99

THE advice now to those who keep poultry Poultry keepers is to keep their birds inside until the end of February as outbreaks of avian flu are confirmed in the UK.

The Government's chief veterinary officer declared a Prevention Zone back in December after the bird flu strain was found in dead wild birds in countries across Europe, from Poland to France.

But now outbreaks have been confirmed in a backyard flock in Yorkshire as well as Lincolnshire and Wales and in wild birds across the UK.

It has prompted officials to warn chicken, turkey and ducks owners to keep them inside until February 28 in a bid to protect poultry from a dangerous and highly infectious strain, H5N8.

Public Health England (PHE) has said the threat to humans remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Defra's warning applies to farmers and anyone who keeps birds - even a few chickens in the back garden.

There is also a ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

The Protection Zone covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales.

There is also a ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "The Prevention Zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

"Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn't possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

"Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds."

Defra is asking the public to report cases of dead wild waterfowl such as swans, geese and ducks, or gulls, or five or more dead birds of other species to its helpline on 03459 33 55 77.



 Nine cases of avian influenza, bird flu, have been confi rmed in swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery in West Dorset [Dorset ECHO, 8 Jan 2017]

by Alex Peace, Senior Reporter

bird flu.jpg.gallery.jpg
Nine cases of bird flu confirmed in swans at popular tourist attraction

CASES of bird flu have been confirmed in swans at a popular tourist attraction.

It has been confirmed to the Echo that nine cases have been confirmed of avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu, at the Abbotsbury Swannery.

The attraction is currently closed for the winter with access to the site restricted to staff members only.

Abbotsbury Tourism general manager John Houston said that the welfare of the birds and of staff is the top priority.

He said: “Cases of avian flu have been reported in wild birds in Europe and in a number of locations across the UK.

“The current H5N8 strain of bird flu is of very low risk to public health and has never transferred to humans, but the wellbeing of the swans and other birds that visit the swannery is paramount. The swannery is currently closed to the public for the winter and is not due to reopen until March. Current access to the site is therefore restricted to staff members only.

“We are closely monitoring the health of the swans and our staff are taking all necessary precautionary measures as advised.”

Last month members of the public were being urged to report findings of dead wild birds after three tested positive for avian flu around the country.

Experts have said that the threat to public health from the virus is very low.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the swannery has been affected by bird flu. It was hit in January 2008 when restrictions were put in place after a number of dead birds were found to have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus.

A prevention zone is currently in place and has been extended until the end of February 2017, which requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep them inside or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them, from wild birds.

A ban is in place on events involving gatherings of poultry including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, such as auctions and livestock fairs across England, Scott and Wales to prevent the spread of the disease.

A charity has also announced that it is has been forced let 12,000 hens go to slaughter, including some that were set to be re-homed in Dorset.

The British Hen Welfare Trust re-homes commercial laying hens and encourages support for British free range eggs.

As it is now illegal to hold any poultry gathering or to allow hens to be free range 12,000 hens which were due to be collected by it in December, January and February have gone to slaughter.

Some of the hens were set to be re-homed in Sturminster Newton.

Jane Howarth MBE, the charity’s founder, said it was a “difficult time” but that it “prided itself on acting responsibly”.



 Bird flu found in North Yorkshire backyard [The Guardian, 8 Jan 2017]

by Helen Pidd North of England editor

UK’s chief veterinary officer warns poultry owners to be vigilant as surveillance zone set up to limit risk of disease spreading

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The Food Standards Agency says bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Photograph: Sam Frost

Bird flu has been found in a small flock in a backyard in North Yorkshire, the UK’s chief veterinary officer said, warning that people who kept chickens and ducks in their gardens needed to be vigilant.

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the infected premises, near Settle, to limit the risk of the disease spreading. The remaining live birds in the small flock of chickens and ducks are being humanely culled, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The same H5N8 strain of avian flu has been confirmed at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire and at a premises in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales.

The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low. The Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, said: “We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Restrictions are now in place around the affected premises and a full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection.

“This finding in a backyard flock shows how essential it is for all poultry owners, even those who just keep a few birds as pets, to do everything they can to keep them separate from wild birds and minimise the risk of them catching avian flu via the environment.

“This means keeping birds in a suitable building where possible, and taking precautions such as putting up netting, keeping food and water inside and disinfecting footwear and equipment after contact with birds.”

An avian influenza prevention zone that has been in place since 6 December will be extended until 28 February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu, Gibbens said.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

It covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales. There is also a Britain-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.



 Vibrant Gujarat Summit: Cops to ‘probe’ source of bird flu in Ahmedabad [Times of India, 8 Jan 2017]

by Sarfaraz Shaikh
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The police will investigate how and why the birds infected with the bird flu virus landed in the city. Photo: TOI

AHMEDABAD: The bird flu scare in the city has taken a serious turn, just two days before the Vibrant Gujarat Summit (VGS). The district collector has asked Ahmedabad rural police to conduct an inquiry into how and why the birds infected with the deadly bird flu virus landed in the city.

Sources said the collector has asked Ahmedabad rural police to uncover the trail of the birds, from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Questions have also been raised on why an offence was not registered against the NGO right at the onset by police, for causing danger to public health.

A senior police official of Ahmedabad rural police told TOI that though an offence has not been registered yet, the collector has asked them to conduct a thorough inquiry into the bird flu scare.

"The inquiry will start after VGS summit is over. Our team will visit Mumbai soon," a top police official said.

The episode started after a team from department of animal husbandry visited Asha Foundation in Hathijan area on December 31 after heavy mortality of the birds kept was reported. The following day, the same organization got over 600 guineafowls abandoned in Vastral area.

As the samples of 10 birds — turkeys and guineafowls — tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the influenza virus, a total of 291 birds and animals at the facility were culled. Harmesh Bhatt, running the foundation, had mentioned that the infected birds were rescued by an animal lover from Crawford Market in Mumbai. The person had handed over 80 guineafowls and 40 turkeys for treatment at the foundation.

On Friday, a two-member team of doctors from Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Safdarjung Hospital visited Hathijan area in the city and reviewed the measures taken by the state administration to curb the spread of the dreaded H5N1virus.



 Bird flu: Reopening of Mysuru zoo within a month ruled out [The Hindu, 8 Jan 2017]

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Mysuru zoo executive director Kamala Karikalan, Zoo Authority of Karnataka chairperson Mallige Veeresh, and M.K. Somashekar, MLA, at a press meet in Mysuru on Saturday.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

The reopening of Mysuru zoo before February 2 has been ruled out, with scientists and experts in veterinary sciences backing its closure like other zoos in the country did after the outbreak of avian influenza.

The zoo has been closed till February 2 after over a dozen migratory birds died of avian influenza (H5N8) recently. A specified time for its reopening cannot be set, according to experts.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has reportedly backed the zoo’s decision as the matter concerned the health of public and birds and animals. Until two consecutive samples of bird droppings test negative for the influenza, the decision on its reopening the zoo cannot be considered.

Zoo Authority of Karnataka chairperson Mallige Veeresh, MLA M.K. Somashekar, zoo executive director Kamala Karikalan, and Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals director Byre Gowda convened a press meet at the zoo on Saturday to explain the outcome of a meeting chaired by Mr. Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru on Friday. “The Chief Minister justified the zoo’s closure but asked officials to ensure that it is reopened at the earliest in the interest of tourism,” Mr. Somashekar said.

Therefore, the question of reopening the zoo before February 2 does not arise at all, he said. “Since winter is the season of migration of birds, the Chief Minister directed the authorities for taking extra precaution to check the spread of the influenza,” the MLA said.

Ms. Veeresh said the samples of bird that died on Thursday had tested negative for the influenza and this has come as a relief for the zoo. The situation was under control and there was no need to panic, she said.

Mr. Gowda said the zoo cannot be reopened by February 2 unless two consecutive samples test negative. The virus survives in marsh conditions for one month and the protocol practised worldwide for avian influenza had been followed by the zoo, he said.

While complimenting the zoo for taking effective steps to control bird flu, he said though the virus was less pathogenic to human beings, precautions had to be taken. No human being had been affected by the H5N8 strain world over since its first outbreak. “Still, we need to be careful and the zoo had taken steps accordingly.”

Mr. Gowda said the economic loss would be huge if the disease spreads to the poultry sector and therefore the guidelines must be followed stringently.

Ms. Karikalan said the zoo had followed all the guidelines and migratory birds visiting the zoo were being closely monitored since the guidelines were against their culling.



 Hen keepers in Kent advised to keep birds inside until end of February as outbreaks of bird flu confirmed in UK [Kent Online, 7 Jan 2017]

by Clare Freeman

Poultry keepers have been told to keep birds inside until the end of February as outbreaks of avian flu have been confirmed in the UK.

The government’s chief veterinary officer declared a Prevention Zone in December and owners were advised to keep birds inside for 30 days in an effort to protect poultry from a highly infectious strain, H5N8, which had affected farms in Europe and been detected in wild ducks in northern France.

But after outbreaks were confirmed in captive birds in Lincolnshire and Wales and in wild birds across the UK, owners are now being told to keep their birds inside until February 28.

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 Poultry owners have been advised to keep their birds inside until the end of February

Chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: "The Prevention Zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

"Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

"Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds."

Keepers of poultry and other captive birds must continue to keep their birds indoors, or take practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

"Anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds" - Nigel Gibbens

The zone covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Mr Gibbens added: "Recent H5N8 avian flu findings in wild birds and a backyard flock in Wales highlight just how essential it is to minimise contact between wild and captive birds and maintain good biosecurity to reduce the risk of infection.

"We must continue to be vigilant and do all we can to protect against this highly pathogenic strain of the disease, which is why we are extending the Prevention Zone, have introduced a ban on poultry gatherings and continue to strengthen surveillance to understand the extent of infection in wild birds."

When the zone was originally declared back in December, Amey Evans, who keep 34 chickens at Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary in Rainham, said it was “awful” having to keep her chickens locked up.

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Amey Evans with one of her birds

She said: "I’ve got a large walk-in run but I like my chickens to free-range as much as possible. I feel bad normally if I don’t let them out for two days."

She said some poultry keepers wouldn’t have the capacity to keep their chickens indoors, but that she would be sticking to the guidelines even if it meant having to go the extra mile to entertain her cooped-up hens.

She added: “I want to keep my flock, so if people want to let their chickens out it’s at their own risk. It’s a deadly virus so it will wipe out your whole flock.

“I’m going to have to provide extra food and objects like mirrors and hanging CDs to keep them amused.”

Members of the public are asked to call the Defra helpline - 03459 335577 - if they find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location.



 China Confirms Human Case of Bird Flu in Hunan Province [Sputnik International, 7 Jan 2017]

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Health authorities in the central Chinese province of Hanan on Saturday confirmed a new human case of bird flu.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – The 35-year old man from the city of Zhuzhou tested positive for the H7N9 avian influenza, Hanan’s center for disease control and prevention said. The patient is in critical condition.

The news comes a day after the second case of bird flu infection in a week had been registered in China’s eastern Jiangxi province. Also on Friday, a 62-year old man died from bird flu in Hong Kong. Earlier in the week, two new infection cases were registered in the southeastern Chinese city of Zhongshan in the Guangdong province.

The first case of a human contracting avian influenza virus of the H7N9 strain was registered in China in March 2013.

China has imposed bans on poultry imports from affected countries. Curbs are already in place against some 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea.



 Chile says bird flu strain detected not particularly dangerous [Channel New Asia, 7 Jan 2017]


SANTIAGO: Chile's Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) said on Friday that the strain of bird flu detected at a turkey production plant in the country's central Valparaiso region is not highly dangerous.

The outbreak was detected at a plant run by a subsidiary of poultry producer Agrosuper . The SAG has said it will cull some 350,000 affected birds and quarantine the area to prevent the infectious disease from spreading.

The SAG said that lab tests undertaken in conjunction with the U.S.-based Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service "confirmed that the bird flu virus detected at the turkey plant in Quilpue township is of low pathogenicity, meaning this case poses little risk to animal health."

It added that the results would allow for normal exports from Chile to continue, after countries such as Peru halted poultry imports from the neighboring nation.

In 2002, a highly infectious strain of bird flu was detected in Chile for the first time, curtailing poultry exports. That outbreak was brought under control.

Different strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Matthew Lewis)



 Vegetarian only menu: No chicken at vibrant Gujarat summit after bird flu [Hindustan Times, 7 Jan 2017]

by Hiral Dave, Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad

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Health department officials from Gujarat state wear protective suits enter the Asha Foundation, an animal and bird rescue shelter, for a cleanliness drive at Hathijan village, some 20km from Ahmedabad. (AFP Photo)

Nearly 6,000 foreign delegates, coming for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, may end up having vegetarian meals as chicken has been removed from the menu of most hotels and restaurants in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar over an outbreak of bird flu.

Adhering to Gandhian principles, the menu was already ‘vegetarian-only’ for the January 10 dinner at Mahatma Mandir — the venue of the four-day summit — where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will break bread with nearly 60 CEOs of international and national companies.

Now, trying out popular Indian non-vegetarian dishes at five- and four-star hotels has also been ruled out. These hotels will be hosting most of the state guests, including Presidents of Kenya and Rwanda, Prime Ministers of Portugal and Serbia, deputy PMs of Russia and Poland, nine Nobel laureates, and delegates from nearly 80 countries.

“We have stopped serving chicken and egg items since this week. We have explained to the foreign delegates who have already arrived about the bird flu situation,” said Annirudh Limay, executive chef of Courtyard Marriot. The five-star hotel has replaced chicken items with mutton and fish.

Though the options of mutton and fish are still there, the volume of non-vegetarian platters has gone down drastically as chicken delicacies dominate the non-vegetarian menus of most of the city hotels and other food joints. The hotels have, however, not received any notification in this regard from the government.

Some of the hotels have introduced special Japanese and Chinese menus for foreign delegates to replace dishes prepared with chicken. “As per Government of India’s guidelines, the state government is proactively taking all precautionary measures. It is a continuous process that goes throughout the year. (Before this) not a single case of bird flu was reported from Gujarat in the past 10 years,” said animal husbandry minister, Babu Bokhiriya.

The Gujarat government has awarded Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel the contract to prepare lunch for the state guests and dinner for CEOs, both scheduled for January 10 at Mahatma Mandir. Taj chefs will supervise the preparation of all-vegetarian meals, said an official.



 Turkeys to be culled after bird flu found on German farm [Retuers, 6 Jan 2017]

About 7,000 turkeys are to be culled after a case of H5N8 bird flu was found on another German farm in the major German poultry production region of Lower Saxony, authorities said on Friday.

The contagious H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed on the farm and the birds are being culled, the local government in Oldenburg in Lower Saxony said.

The H5N8 strain has been found in over 500 wild birds in Germany in recent weeks. There have also been a series of cases in farms, mostly in north Germany, although the government introduced tough sanitary rules to prevent infection by wild birds including orders to keep poultry indoors in high-risk regions.

Some other European countries and Israel have also discovered cases of H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks and some ordered poultry flocks be kept indoors to prevent the disease spreading.

France on Wednesday ordered a massive cull likely to involve 800,000 ducks in three regions most affected by a severe outbreak of bird flu as it tries to contain the virus which has been spreading quickly over the past month.

The H5N8 strain has never been found in humans and cannot be transmitted through food.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Susan Fenton)



 Bird flu cases recorded in two regions of Ukraine [Kyiev Post, 6 Jan 2017]


By Interfax-Ukraine.

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Ukraine reported an outbreak of a highly contagious bird flu virus among backyard birds in the southern part of the country. Photo by AFP

The State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Rights Protection of Ukraine recorded avian influenza cases in private households in Chernivtsi and Odesa regions.

The main department of the authority said that over a thousand hens and geese in private households died. The avian influenza virus was proven.

When monitoring private households in Chortoryia settlement of Chernivtsi region due to the death of wild swans in January, three hens also died. Testing samples proved highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak.

Measures are being taken to localize the disease on the site of the outbreak and prevent the spread of bird flu virus.



 Bird flu infection forces cull of backyard flock of chickens and ducks in North Yorkshire with 3km quarantine zone [Daily Mail Online, 6 Jan 2017]


The birds in Settle to be hummanely culled to limit the spread of H5N8 avian flu
A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have also been put in place
The flock included 17 chickens and ducks, several of which have already died
H5N8 strain found in Wales earlier this week and at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire

By Alexander Robertson

Bird flu has been confirmed in chickens and ducks on a premises in North Yorkshire, the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer has said.

The decision to humanely cull the birds, which are a small backyard flock at a property near Settle, has been taken to limit the spread of H5N8 avian flu.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have also been put in place.

Professor Nigel Gibbens said: 'We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

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Experts say the risk to the public is very low and so long as poultry is thoroughly cooked there is no risk of contracting the virus (stock)

'Restrictions are now in place around the affected premises and a full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection.

'This finding in a backyard flock shows how essential it is for all poultry owners, even those who just keep a few birds as pets, to do everything they can to keep them separate from wild birds and minimise the risk of them catching avian flu via the environment.

'This means keeping birds in a suitable building where possible, and taking precautions such as putting up netting, keeping food and water inside and disinfecting footwear and equipment after contact with birds.'

It is understood the affected flock included 17 chickens and ducks, several of which have already died.

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Workers carry ducks before placing them in a bin filled with poison gas a poultry farm in Latrille, southwestern France on Friday

H5N8 is the same strain which was found in a backyard flock in Carmarthenshire, Wales, earlier this week, at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last month and in a number of wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland.

Public Health England have said the risk to people from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since December 6 has been extended until February 28.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

A 62-year-old man travelling from mainland China died in Hong Kong from a differnt strain of bird flu on Friday, the second such death this winter.

The man, who visited the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in mid-December and was hospitalized in the neighbouring city of Dongguan earlier this week, died from H7N9.

Hong Kong has confirmed three human cases of H7N9 in three weeks as fears grow over the spread of the disease in South Korea, Japan and China.

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A military vehicle sprays disinfectant on a road near Gwangju, some 330km south of Seoul, South Korea on Friday



 Bird flu order extended [Shetland News, 6 Jan 2017]


AN ORDER advising poultry owners to keep birds indoors or away from other wild birds following a flu alert has been extended.

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Poultry should be kept indoors and separate from wild birds.

Avian influenza prevention measures will now be in place in Scotland, England and Wales until 28
February after previously running until Friday (6 January).

The countries were originally declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on 6 December. The threat to the public remains very low.

Under the order, all poultry and captive bird keepers should keep their birds indoors, or otherwise separated from wild birds.

Keepers should discuss their biosecurity arrangements with their local vet, if necessary.

Since the order was introduced, the risk level for avian influenza incursions into flocks in the UK has been raised to 'low to medium' for poultry or captive birds, while it is 'high' for wild birds.



 Bird flu: High alert sounded in Shivamogga [The Hindu, 6 Jan 2017]


Following the bird flu outbreak at Mysuru zoo, an alert has been sounded across Shivamogga as the district has a significant migratory bird population.

Bhaskar Naik, Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry Department, said no case of bird flu has been reported in the district. Shivamogga has 305 poultry farms with a bird population of around 15 lakh.

Samples of droppings and serum collected from the birds in the poultry units are sent for testing every month. Following the outbreak in Mysuru, vigilance has been stepped up in the farms, with a team of veterinary experts from the department visiting them and apprising the staff about the precautions to be taken. The staff have been directed to inform the department about cases of unusual and mass bird deaths.

S. Shivashankar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said samples of the droppings of reared birds in Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari and of migratory birds in Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary and Gudavi Bird Sanctuary have been sent to the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals in Bengaluru. The staff have been directed to keep a close watch on the movement and behaviour of the birds, he added.

Meanwhile, a team of officials from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, led by District Surveillance Officer Shankarappa, visited the three places on Friday. Mr. Shankarappa said Forest and Animal Husbandry officials have been directed to contact the District Epidemics Surveillance Cell at the Government McGann Hospital in the city if there are any suspicious bird deaths.



 Bird flu found in chickens and ducks in North Yorkshire [Evening Standard, 6 Jan 2017]

by FRANCESCA GILLETT

A bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in north Yorkshire.

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Virus: Ducks in France after the country ordered a massive cull in regions affected by bird flu. REUTERS

Chickens and ducks in a small backyard flock at a property near Settle, on the border of the Yorkshire Dales, were found to have avian flu, the UK’s most senior vet said.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone has been put in place around the property and the birds will be humanely killed.

"We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading,” said Professor Nigel Gibbens, the UK’s chief veterinary officer.

“Restrictions are now in place around the affected premises and a full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection.

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France: French workers gather ducks as a massive cull is underway. (REUTERS)

"This finding in a backyard flock shows how essential it is for all poultry owners, even those who just keep a few birds as pets, to do everything they can to keep them separate from wild birds and minimise the risk of them catching avian flu via the environment.

"This means keeping birds in a suitable building where possible, and taking precautions such as putting up netting, keeping food and water inside and disinfecting footwear and equipment after contact with birds."

It is understood the affected flock included 17 chickens and ducks, several of which have already died.

H5N8 is the same strain which was found in a backyard flock in Carmarthenshire, Wales, earlier this week, at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last month and in a number of wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland.

Public Health England have said the risk to people from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.

On Friday French authorities began a massive cull of ducks in a bid to contain the dangerous H5N8.



 BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: Government extends prevention zone [Buxton Advertiser, 6 Jan 2017]

by LOUISE COOPER

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The prevention zone is in place until February 28.

A prevention zone to protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu has been extended, the government has announced.

The prevention zone was introduced in December for 30 days but this has now been extended until February 28.

It requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "The Prevention Zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

"Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

"Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds."

The H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe for several weeks. An outbreak was confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December and swift action taken to limit the risk of spread, including a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected farm.

A further case was confirmed in a back yard flock in Carmarthenshire on 3 January and the Welsh Government has put in place control measures including a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected premises.

The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales, England and Scotland.

All bird keepers must take extra biosecurity steps, including:

* minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds

* making sure that feed and water can’t be accessed by wild birds

* taking all reasonable precautions to avoid the transfer of contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and footwear

* reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept

* implementing effective vermin control programmes around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept

* thoroughly cleansing and disinfecting housing and equipment at the end of a production cycle

* keeping Defra-approved disinfectant at the right concentration at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses



 Czechs cull thousands of poultry near bird flu outbreaks [Reuters, 6 Jan 2017]


Czech authorities ordered a cull of thousands of chickens and ducks around outbreaks of bird flu on two small farms in the southeast on Friday, as reports of the disease came in from across Europe.

The order came as France started culling about 800,000 ducks in its southwest and Austria told its farmers to keep all poultry indoors following cases reported in its neighbors Switzerland and Germany.

The Czech veterinary authority said its order would affect several thousand birds from small flocks and 6,000 ducks at a larger farm, all within 3 km (2 miles) of Ivancice and Moravsky Krumlov.

The H5N8 bird flu strain is deadly for poultry but has never been found in humans and cannot be transmitted through food.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Andrew Heavens)



 Ducks gassed in thousands as France fights bird flu virus [Reuters, 6 Jan 2017]


By Regis Duvignau

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Ducks are culled in southwest France due to bird flu outbreak

Workers wearing masks and protective clothes gassed thousands of ducks in southwest France on Friday, in a massive cull that was ordered in an attempt to prevent a spread of the H5N8 bird flu virus.

At one farm in the village of Latrille, in the heartland of duck and geese rearing country, 8,000 ducks were taken by hand and put in coloured metal containers where carbon dioxide was piped in to kill them, normally within seconds.

In scenes reminiscent of apocalypse-themed movies, workers clad in head-to-toe protective suits, face-visors and gas masks, finished the slaughter in the space of a few hours.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has reported 95 outbreaks of the virus this time around.

Most of the cull is taking place in and around the Gers area of southwest France, where geese and ducks are reared in vast numbers to make the 'foie gras' duck liver delicacy.

Some 800,000 of the birds out of a population of around 18 million in the whole of the southwest, are due to be killed in the coming week.

(This version of the story corrects name of virus in first paragraph to H5N8 from H5N5 and number of outbreaks in paragraph 4 to 95 from 89)

(Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus)



 French authorities gas thousands of ducks after bird flu outbreaks [The Guardian, 6 Jan 2017]

Reuters in Latrille

Workers continue planned cull of 800,000 birds in south-west France to prevent spread of H5N8 virus

3552.jpg
Workers wearing masks and protective clothes have gassed thousands of ducks in south-west France, in a massive cull that was ordered in an attempt to prevent a spread of the H5N8 bird flu virus.

At one farm in the village of Latrille, in the heartland of duck and geese rearing country, 8,000 ducks were taken by hand and put in coloured metal containers where carbon dioxide was piped in to kill them, normally within seconds.

Workers in head-to-toe protective suits, face shields and gas masks, finished the slaughter in a few hours.

France, which has the largest poultry flock in the EU, has reported 95 outbreaks of the virus.

Most of the cull is taking place in and around the Gers area of south-west France, where geese and ducks are reared in vast numbers to make foie gras.

About 800,000 birds out of a population of about 18 million in the south-west are due to be killed in the coming week.

Authorities in the Czech Republic also ordered a cull of thousands of chickens and ducks, as reports of bird flu came in from across Europe.

The Czech veterinary authority said its order would affect several thousand birds from small flocks and 6,000 ducks at a larger farm, all within two miles of Ivančice and Moravský Krumlov.

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The operation is part of mass cull of poultry in France, which has reported 95 outbreaks of the H5N8 bird flu virus. Photograph: Bob Edme/AP

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A no entry sign at the entrance of a duck farm in Latrille. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

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France, which has the largest poultry flock in the EU, has ordered the cull of ducks in its three most-affected regions. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters



 Hong Kong confirms second bird flu death this winter [CNBC News, 6 Jan 2017]


A 62-year-old man travelling from mainland China died in Hong Kong from bird flu on Friday, the second such death this winter, the Hospital Authority said.

The man, who visited the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in mid-December and was hospitalized in the neighbouring city of Dongguan earlier this week, died from H7N9.

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A man wearing a 3M mask in Beijing

The patient was admitted to hospital in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the authority said. It wasn't immediately clear how or where he contracted the virus.

He had said he hadn't had any recent exposure to poultry or wet markets, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

Hong Kong has confirmed three human cases of H7N9 in three weeks as fears grow over the spread of the disease in South Korea, Japan and China.

All three patients in Hong Kong had visited southern China. The second case was confirmed last Friday, while the first patient died from H7N9 on Christmas Day.

In mainland China, H7N9 has killed at least four people this season, with the latest death reported in the eastern province of Shandong on Thursday. At least 19 infections have been confirmed.

China saw its last major bird flu outbreak in late 2013 and early 2014, when 36 patients died and the agricultural sector suffered more than $6 billion in losses.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.



 Hong Kong confirms third bird flu case in three weeks [The Indian Express, 6 Jan 2017]

The latest case, confirmed on Thursday, comes as fears grow over the spread of bird flu in South Korea, Japan and mainland China.

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The latest case, confirmed on Thursday, comes as fears grow over the spread of bird flu in South Korea, Japan and mainland China. (Representational image)

Hong Kong has confirmed its third case of human bird flu in three weeks, a 62-year-old man who was in critical condition, after a second patient was confirmed to have contracted the same H7N9 strain of the disease last Friday. The first patient died from H7N9 five days earlier. The latest case, confirmed on Thursday, comes as fears grow over the spread of bird flu in South Korea, Japan and mainland China.

A total of 19 people have been infected with bird flu in China so far this winter, all with the H7N9 strain, killing at least three. Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health said a 62-year-old man, who travelled to Guangzhou in southern China in mid-December, was in hospital in nearby Dongguan on Monday and Tuesday. He discharged himself and was admitted to hospital in Hong Kong on Wednesday in critical condition, it said.



 BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: Government extends prevention zone [Derbyshire Times, 6 Jan 2017]

by LOUISE COOPER

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The prevention zone is in place until February 28.

A prevention zone to protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu has been extended, the government has announced.

The prevention zone was introduced in December for 30 days but this has now been extended until February 28.

It requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "The Prevention Zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

"Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

"Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds."

The H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe for several weeks. An outbreak was confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December and swift action taken to limit the risk of spread, including a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected farm.

A further case was confirmed in a back yard flock in Carmarthenshire on 3 January and the Welsh Government has put in place control measures including a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected premises. The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales,

England and Scotland. All bird keepers must take extra biosecurity steps, including:

* minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds

* making sure that feed and water can’t be accessed by wild birds

* taking all reasonable precautions to avoid the transfer of contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and footwear

* reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or
captive birds are kept

* implementing effective vermin control programmes around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept

* thoroughly cleansing and disinfecting housing and equipment at the end of a production cycle

* keeping Defra-approved disinfectant at the right concentration at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses



 Third Bird Flu Case Registered in Hong Kong [Sputnik, 6 Jan 2017]

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A new case of a human infection with bird flu (H7N9 virus strain) has been registered in Hong Kong, local health authorities report.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – The man who traveled to China's Guangzhou in December has been diagnosed with bird flu, the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Thursday.

"The male patient, aged 62 with underlying illnesses, departed Hong Kong since December 15 last year and travelled to Zengcheng, Guangzhou. He has developed fever, cough and shortness of breath since January 1. He was admitted to a hospital for treatment in Dongguan during January 2 to 3. The patient discharged himself against medical advice on January 3 and returned to Hong Kong via Lo Wu on the same day," the CHP said in a release.

According to CHP, the patient is currently in critical condition at the Yan Chai Hospital in Hong
Kong. "His endotracheal aspirate and nasopharyngeal aspirate specimen were confirmed to be positive for influenza A(H7N9) virus by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch tonight," CHP said, adding that the man "denied recent exposure to poultry or wet market."

Thus, a total of three human cases of bird flu virus have been registered in Hong Kong in the past three weeks. On December 25, a 75-year-old man died from bird flu in Hong Kong, while on December 30 a 70-year-old Hong Kong resident was reported to have bird flu.



 Hong Kong man critically ill in city’s third imported bird flu case in three weeks [South China Morning Post, 6 Jan 2017]

by Danny Mok

Patient travelled to Guangzhou in December and developed symptoms on New Year’s Day

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A 62-year-old Hongkonger is critically ill with H7N9 bird flu in the city’s third confirmed imported case in three weeks.

The man travelled to Zengcheng in Guangzhou on December 15, the Centre for Health Protection said.

On New Year’s Day, he developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath. He was admitted to Shijie Hospital in Dongguan.

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He discharged himself against medical advice on Tuesday and returned to Hong Kong via Lo Wu on the same day.

He attended Yan Chai Hospital in Tsuen Wan on Wednesday and was admitted.
His condition deteriorated on Thursday, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit in critical condition.

He tested positive to H7N9 viral infection on Thursday night.

The patient denied having recent exposure to poultry or wet markets, the major cause for most of the imported cases in the city.

His close contacts remained asymptomatic and were put under medical surveillance. The centre is tracing his other contacts in Hong Kong

The case was reported to the Guangdong and Macau health authorities.

The deadly bird flu has claimed the life of a 75-year-old man in the first imported case this winter, reported on December 19.

The 70-year-old man in the second case was in critical condition according to earlier reports.



 Strain of bird flu found in Ireland still unconfirmed [The Irish Times, 6 Jan 2017]

Mass culls of poultry announced in France as the disease spreads across Europe

by Rachel Flaherty

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The disease has been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The strain of avian bird flu found in Co Wexford last month has yet to be confirmed as more cases are being discovered across Europe.

The Department of Agriculture said the influenza subtype H5N8 was found in a wild duck known as a “wigeon” on December 28th. The bird was found alive but unable to fly.

The department said further tests were being carried out to find out if the virus is the same as highly pathogenic strain currently present in Britain and mainland Europe.

A spokeswoman said on Thursday the results of these tests have not come back yet.

“ Further tests are now required to determine whether the virus is the same strain as that in GB and mainland Europe but it is likely to be the same strain,” she said.

“ There is no evidence to date of further spread of the virus.”

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) had said although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections of the virus have been reported anywhere.

The risk to humans is “considered to be very low”, it said.

The department took the unprecedented step of ordering farmers to move their poultry indoors days before the discovery.

France

On Wednesday, France ordered a massive cull of ducks after a severe outbreak in three regions.

France has the largest poultry flock in the EU and has reported 89 outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 so far.

“The principle is to quickly kill the species most affected to date by the virus,” the French ministry said in a statement.

All free range ducks and geese, about 800,000 birds, will be slaughtered until about January 20th in an area in southwestern France, which includes parts of the Gers, Landes and Hautes-Pyrenees.



 Worcestershire trading standards chiefs issue advice over Avian flu [Worcester News, 5 Jan 2017]


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Avian flu warning

by James Connell

TRADING standards are urging people to follow advice to stop the spread of Avian flu.

There have been further outbreaks of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 including one at a smallholding in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

The national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, introduced by the chief veterinary officer before Christmas, remains in force following a review and has been extended to February 28.

This requires poultry to be “housed” away from wild birds. It also introduced mandatory biosecurity measures and requires the compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds.

For farmed geese, game birds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep these birds separate from wild birds.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: “We have issued this reminder as officers have had to speak to one bird keeper already about ensuring his poultry remains housed.

"However, the risk to kept birds cannot be eliminated by housing alone so we are asking bird keepers to continue to follow the biosecurity measures identified in the guidance from the Ministry.

"We would also ask all bird keepers to remain vigilant and report any signs of the disease. If a flock gets infected the controls put in place will impact on bird keepers within several kilometres radius of the outbreak location, so if individual keepers take these steps it helps protect all of their fellow keepers in the area.

"We also need people to continue to report findings of dead wild birds so that they can be investigated.

"If poultry keepers or the general public find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey they should also report this to the DEFRA helpline."

Details of good practice and how best to protect yourself, your property and your birds can be found on the Gov.UK website, at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-winter-2016-to-2017.




 France Is Slaughtering Nearly 1 Million Ducks [TIME, 5 Jan 2017]

by Julia Zorthian

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People buy foie groie in the market in Samatan, southwestern France on Dec. 5, 2016. An outbreak of avian influenza H5N8, "highly pathogenic" for birds but "harmless to humans", was detected in a duck farm in the Tarn commune of Almayrac, announced on Dec. 2, 2016 the Ministry of Agriculture.

Due to a severe outbreak of bird flu

France ordered a large-scale killing of ducks on Wednesday in three areas where a severe bird flu outbreak is currently underway, according to a Reuters report.

The country’s agriculture ministry said the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus has spread quickly through poultry populations in southwestern France, with 89 cases reported in total so far. So the ministry ordered that the free range ducks and geese in the administrative departments of Gers, Hautes-Pyrenees and Landes be culled in response — with an estimated total of 800,000 in the next week, Reuters reports.

“The principle is to quickly kill the species most affected to date by the virus,” the ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters. The statement added that the ducks to be killed were owned by foie gras producers.

Marie-Pierre Pe from foie gras-maker CIFOG told Reuters that the number of ducks killed could continue to increase if authorities fail to stem the spread of the virus. The ministry gave a deadline of Jan. 20 for the culling, but an official said they could stop earlier if the outbreak is contained.

Both the Czech Republic and Slovenia announced the first outbreaks of this bird flu strain Wednesday.



 Precautions taken as bird flu spreads [The Local, 5 Jan 2017]

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What are you in for?" Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian Health authorities ordered on Thursday poultry farmers to keep all birds inside starting next week in an attempt to restrict the spread of bird flu.

Neighbouring countries are seeing the contagion spreading, carried by wild birds which mix with poultry who are outside.

Some individual farms next to Lake Constance near the borders with Switzerland and Germany had already been instructed to keep poultry indoors, disinfect equipment more rigorously and avoid using open pools of water.

Now that Slovakia and Czech Republic are seeing cases, it's likely that the protection zones will be extended to cover the whole of the country, according to a spokesman from the Health Ministry.

In November, a turkey in Vorarlberg tested positive for one of the more virulent forms of bird flu.



 Another bird flu outbreak in the UK [Grimsby Telegraph, 5 Jan 2017]

By Connor Lynch

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2,500 birds died from the virus in December

Poultry and bird owners are being asked to remain vigilant following another outbreak of bird flu in the UK.

This latest outbreak of the H5N8 strain of the infection, was confirmed in Wales earlier this week after chickens and ducks in the Pontyberem area were culled.

This comes just weeks after thousands of birds in Tetney had been killed by the virus, leading to a temporary ban on gatherings at auctions, livestock fairs and bird shows involving poultry.

The ban was part of what officials say are the Government's robust measures to tackle the disease and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

The first case of bird flu in Lincolnshire was confirmed at the farm on December 16 and all 2,500 birds died from the disease or were humanely culled.The farm has been disinfected and there have been no subsequent cases reported, though restrictions around the site and locally throughout the region remain in place.

Speaking on Wednesday, chief veterinary officer Prof Christianne Glossop said: "It's disappointing that the infection, which we first of all found in wild birds in Wales, has seemed to have spilt over into a domestic flock, but it's not surprising.

"What we need people to do is to be really vigilant - and we are very grateful to the owners of these birds, that they noticed signs of disease and they called a vet."

Read More: Aldi to trial shopping trolley seat-belts following outcry

Prof Glossop said the Pontyberem birds had "quite severe" symptoms.

"We know that we are dealing with highly pathogenic flu in the birds in Lincolnshire - so yes - it is quite a virulent stain of the virus," she told BBC Radio's Good Morning Wales programme.

The chief vet said bird owners should get veterinary advice if they see symptoms such as their birds:
• Appearing unwell
• Stop laying eggs
• Stop eating
• Sneezing, nervous signs, or swellin
Members of the public have been encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location.



 China confirms latest human death from H7N9 bird flu [Fox News, 5 Jan 2017]

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Health officers cull poultry at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus, in Hong Kong June 7, 2016. (REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

BEIJING – A man in China's eastern province of Shandong has become at least the fourth person to die this winter from H7N9 bird flu, state media said on Thursday, while officials in southern Guangdong confirmed 14 cases of the virus in December.

Regional fears of a major bird flu outbreak have been sparked by a record outbreak of avian influenza in poultry in South Korea, as well as infections in birds in Japan.

The 77-year-old man diagnosed in Shandong's Rizhao city on Tuesday died later the same day, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Guangdong authorities said the December bird flu cases were scattered around the province, according to the state-run China News Service. Dozens of human cases have been confirmed around China this winter.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring. IN recent years, farmers have stepped up cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, in their efforts to prevent the disease.

Widespread infection can lead to severe risks and huge financial losses for farmers. China's last major outbreak in China killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

The H7N9 strain does not seem to transmit easily among people, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, the World Health Organization says.

The danger is that any such virus mutates and acquires genetic changes that could boost its pandemic potential.

Normal seasonal flu, while not serious for most people, still costs hundreds of thousands of lives every year.



 800000 birds to be culled in France after bird flu outbreak [euronews, 5 Jan 2017]

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800,000 ducks and geese will be culled under measures announced by the French Government to halt the spread of bird flu. The slaughter will take place in the period up to January 20: the strategy is to kill the species most affected by the disease to date.

So far 89 cases of the highly-contagious H5N8 virus have been reported on farms in France, which has the largest poultry flock in Europe. Earlier measures have been unsuccessful in containing the French outbreak, which began late last year.

Three departments in the South West are affected: Gers, the Landes and the High Pyrenees.

The region has achieved international renown for its foie gras, whose industry will be hard hit by the measures.

There are 1.3 million birds in the targeted area. Some farms are being exempted, including those that confine birds, or perform full production cycles.

Avian influenza has spread rapidly through the migration of wild birds.

Over ten other European countries have reported cases of H5N8 since the first reported death in Hungary last October. There are related outbreaks in Asia, too.

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The virus is not currently thought to pose a significant threat to human health and cannot be transmitted through food.



 Chile detects bird flu at poultry producer Agrosuper's plant [Channel News Asia, 5 Jan 2017]


SANTIAGO: Chile has detected bird flu at a turkey production plant run by poultry producer Agrosuper in the country's central Valparaiso region, the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) said on Wednesday.

SAG said it plans to cull the affected birds and quarantine the area to prevent the infectious disease from spreading.

No humans have been affected by the outbreak, it said.

Specialized laboratories are working to determine what strain of bird flu has infected the animals and once the results are available SAG will decide what further sanitary measures need to be taken.

In 2002, a highly infectious strain of bird flu was detected in Chile for the first time, curtailing poultry exports. That outbreak was brought under control.

Agrosuper said that the turkey plant, operated by its Sopraval unit, is located in rural Quilpue.

Different strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks, leading to the slaughtering of millions of birds in South Korea and Japan and several human infections in China.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)



 Bird flu scare: Guinea fowls, ducks, turkey among 1,500 culled poultry in Ahmedabad [The Indian Express, 5 Jan 2017]

A team from Health Ministry set to visit the site today.

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Rare birds like vultures, flamingos, pelicans, fox sparrows, geese, emus and owls were culled too. Express

Fearing the spread of avian influenza (H5N1) to other areas, about 1,500 birds, many of them rare, at an animal helpline — Asha Foundation — in Ahmedabad were culled by the state animal husbandry department Wednesday. The process to cull another 150 birds with residents within 1 km radius of the epicentre (the NGO site at Hathijan) at the earliest has started. A team from Health Ministry will be visiting the site on Thursday.

The state government authorities claimed that on Wednesday, the NGO was left with no bird after the culling process. The animal husbandry department is trying to investigate the source of the outset of bird flu at the NGO. At the same time, out of the total staff of 22 members of the NGO, 14 are under antiviral medicine tamiflu (Oseltamivir phosphate). Disinfection within 1-10 km radius is also under process.

The state government on Tuesday declared two “alert zones” — all villages within 10 km radius of Hathijan village in Daskroi taluka of Ahmedabad and those surrounding Kheda district. These zones cover a total of 36 villages in two districts – 30 in Ahmedabad and 6 in Kheda. The notification of the two alert zones issued by the Animal Husbandry Department on Tuesday stays. This was issued after the interim test reports by the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD), Bhopal, confirmed the bird flu among the bird that died at Asha Foundation on December 30 and 31.

“Till afternoon, as many as 1,481 birds have been culled. Out of these, nearly 1,333 are guinea fowls. The remaining are 118 ducks, 4 turkey and some other birds. The survey, conducted by the department staff, has identified another 150 birds – hens and pigeons reared by the residents within 1 km of Asha Foundation at Hathijan.They are under the process of being culled. Also, around 4-5 poultry shops in this radius have been sealed,” said Dr S Murali Krishna, secretary Animal Husbandry Department.

The authorities are also in the process of identifying the source of this viral infection that can also infect humans and other animals. The human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally and it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. However, when infected, the human mortality rate is as high as about 60 per cent.

“At this stage, we are ruling out all foul play. Investigations are still going on. Since the NGO founder belongs to Pune, there could be chances that he might have brought these birds en route Mumbai. On the other hand, investigations have revealed that those birds that were found from Vastral area were being transported from Uttar Pradesh and were taken to Surat. Still, we are trying to verify the authenticity of the sources,” said Dr Krishna.

The NGO director, Harmesh Bhatt, had brought nearly 200 guinea fowls and turkeys from Mumbai’s Crawford market. After a few days, another 700-750 guinea fowls were brought at the animal helpline from Vastral after these were unloaded from a truck suspiciously. In between, nearly 4-5 birds died at the foundation premises.

Bhatt claims he had informed the animal husbandry department on both the occasions. “I informed the animal husbandry department that I brought 200 birds from Mumbai and also about the ones brought from Vastral.” He blamed the authorities for not following the protocol and the guidelines laid down by the Centre during the culling process. “The authorities have not sealed the one kilometre radius neither the foundation’s premises. Everyone is allowed to move freely,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, appealing to all not to panic, state health minister Shankar Chaudhary told reporters in Gandhinagar, “Though human beings are not the carrier of this virus, still as a precautionary measure, 14 staff members of Asha Foundation are being administered tamiflu and kept in isolation for seven days.” Animal Husbandry Minister Babu Bokhiriya said, “On December 30 and 31, 26 birds died at Asha Foundation. Their samples were sent to Bhopal (NIHSAD). As per Government of India’s guidelines, the state government is proactively taking all precautionary measures. Also, bird flu check has been a continuous process throughout the year followed by the state government. That is the reason that in the last ten years, not a single case has been reported from Gujarat.”



 Bird flu detected in Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust [Gloucestershire Live, 5 Jan 2017]

By MattDiscombe

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Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Bird flu has been detected in Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust as further warnings are being made to prevent the spread of the disease.

The wildlife reserve near Stroud is taking precautions against bird flu after the disease was detected in birds flying through the area.

It comes after Bird Flu, the common name of avian influenza, was found in four wild birds in the county in December as the disease spreads across Europe.

Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust now has disinfectant mats at all its entrances and exits, handwashing facilities, and vehicle movements on and off the reserve are being restricted.

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Peter Morris, from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust which runs the centre, said: "This strain of bird flu has never transferred to humans, the public risk is considered to be very low. We are working closely with the public and health authorities who have advised us on measures to take.

"The key thing is to protect local birds by stopping anyone inadvertently transporting the disease on footwear, hands or equipment.

"We're very mindful that a lot of people locally keep birds or go to other nature reserves, so we're making sure we're as biosecure as possible for the benefit of ourselves and our neighbours."

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A total of four ducks and geese in Gloucestershire were identified as having bird flu on Boxing Day and were four of the 18 wild birds in the UK which were found with the H5N8 strain of the disease last month.

Bird flu presents a low health risk to the public and does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The government says it's important that poultry keepers maintain high biosecurity standards.

It has also been announced today that an avian influenza prevention zone for England has been extended until February 28.

Keepers of poultry and other captive birds are required to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds while the prevention zone remains.

Similar measures have been announced in Scotland and Wales.

Nigel Gibbens, the UK's chief veterinary officer, said: "Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn't possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

"Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds."

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 1 to 4 Jan 2017




 Slovenia confirms first case of H5N8 bird flu [Reuters, 4 Jan 2017]


Slovenia confirmed on Wednesday its first case of H5N8 bird flu, detected in a swan in the town of Pragersko some 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the capital Ljubljana, officials said.

Farmers in the area will be required to keep their poultry indoors to prevent the spread of the virus to farm animals, Matjaz Emersic, a spokesman for the National Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection, told Reuters.

Cases of bird flu have been found in a number of countries across Europe in recent months, including in all of Slovenia's neighbors: Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy.

The Czech Republic and Bulgaria also announced cases of bird flu on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Gareth Jones)



 Bird flu threat rears its ugly head [The New Indian Express, 4 Jan 2017]

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Veterinary officials vaccinating poultry birds in the village | Express

KENDRAPARA: At least 200 poultry birds have died in the last two days in Kharinashi village under Mahakalapada forest block within Bhitarkanika National Park fuelling fears of bird flu. A general flu alert has been sounded in the area, said Dr Chaitanya Charan Sethi, the Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO) of Kendrapara on Tuesday.

The birds had died in the farm house of a fisherman in the village. The area and 2 km radius around it has been kept under surveillance, he added.

Forest and veterinary officials have also sounded bird flu alert in Bhitarkanika and Bagagahana, the heronry where migratory birds have arrived, and are taking precautionary measure to detect sick birds.

This apart, the veterinarians have recently vaccinated 38,000 poultry birds to protect them from Ranikhet disease (also known as New Castle Disease or Doyle’s disease) and bird flu. “We have also requested farmers rearing poultry birds to utilise this opportunity and approach the nearest veterinary dispensaries to get the birds vaccinated to prevent the viral disease”, added Dr Sethi. Rapid Response Team (RRT) has been formed in all nine blocks of the district and 19 Veterinary Assistant Surgeon (VAS), 55 livestock inspectors, one Gomitra, Zilla Parishad members and social workers are the members of each RRT.

Forest and veterinary officials are keeping a watch on the migratory birds as they are prone to carry H5NI strain of avian influenza. “We had started examining some avian species in Bhitarkanika but could not find any sick birds,” the officer said.

Samples of blood, stool, tracheal and cloacae of 28 poultry birds were sent to Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI), Cuttack, for examination. These samples will be later sent to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal for tests. Around 45 poultry farm owners have been trained to detect any sick hens.



 Avian flu scare: Mysuru zoo closed till Feb [OneIndia, 4 Jan 2017]

By: Anusha Ravi

Mysore Zoo will remain closed for a month from January 4 following the death of birds due to avian influenza


Following reports of avian influenza causing the death of six birds in Mysuru zoo, authorities have decided to close the zoo till February. Two spot billed pelicans and four greylag goose died in a span of two days in a pond inside the zoo. Samples were sent for tests which confirmed avian influenza (H5N8). The zoo authorities in a statement claimed that the deceased birds were migratory and free ranging birds.

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Mysuru zoo

The carcasses of the birds have been sent to Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals in Bengaluru for further investigations. A report that the zoo authorities received from National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases confirmed avian influenza in free ranging birds that died in the zoo. As a precautionary measure, the zoo will remain shut till February.

The zoo authorities also confirmed that staff have been given Tamiflu prophylactically. One of the many tourist attractions in the city of Mysuru, this will be the longest that the zoo will remain shut since its existence.



 Dreaded bird flu reported in Ahmedabad [Time of India, 4 Jan 2017]


AHMEDABAD: The dreaded avian flu or bird flu has again reared its head in Ahmedabad city. This is the second coming of the H5N1 virus in Gujarat, while the first was reported in 2006.

The state animal husbandry department on Tuesday confirmed that seven samples from bird carcasses and three blood serum samples from live birds, retrieved from birds at the facility of the Asha Foundation NGO at Hathijan, tested positive for bird flu. The samples were sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD) in Bhopal.

The state animal husbandry department has ordered culling of birds at the NGO and on neighbouring farms.

"According to the World Health Organization and central govenrment guidelines, all birds at the NGO's facility will have to be culled. Birds at the four backyard poultry farms near Asha Foundation will also be culled," Ahmedabad collector Avantika Singh said.

There was major commotion amongst the locals as cops, their faces masked with handkerchiefs, kept the curious people at bay while animal husbandry officials began `operation clean-up' of culling birds. The state government sounded an alert and declared a 10-km radius from the NGO's facility in Hathijan a 'regulated zone'. Any movement of birds, eggs, bird droppings, farm machinery or other equipment will also restricted in this regulated zone.

Director of the state animal husbandry department Dr Hita Patel said, "All birds in a radius of 1 km from the epicentre will be culled as per WHO and central government guidelines. A notice to this effect has been issued to the NGO. Since the birds had been received by Asha Foundation from Crawford Market in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has been alerted about this as well," Dr Patel said.

Harmesh Bhatt,, founder of Asha Foundation said, "An animal lover rescued 80 guineafowl and 40 turkeys from Crawford Market in Mumbai. As he did not have space, these birds were given to us for lodging in Ahmedabad. Three days ago, we realized that seven turkeys had died.

Sensing something amiss, we informed the animal husbandry department, which sent the samples to Bhopal."

Bhatt insisted that the 120 birds brought from Mumbai were kept in isolation and had not mingled with birds rescued from other places. "There are around 1,000 odd-birds in the infected area, which also include the 800 guineafowl rescued from Vastral on Monday," said Bhatt.

The animal husbandry department officials said all birds in the infected area will be culled as no risk should be taken in dealing with the dreaded H5N1 virus, which is known to have a high mortality rate.


Four bird flu cases found at Slimbridge reserve [BBC News, 4 Jan 2017]

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Four cases of bird flu have been confirmed at the wildlife reserve

Four cases of avian flu have been confirmed at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Slimbridge reserve in Gloucestershire.

A total of 18 cases, including these four cases of the H5N8 strain, have been detected across the UK so far.

Measures including disinfectant mats are in place, but the centre remains open as the public risk is deemed "very low", Pete Morris from Slimbridge said.

"This strain of bird flu has never transferred to humans," Mr Morris added.

He said the outbreak was "not unexpected", with the current European outbreak "now being found in all parts of Great Britain".

"We have disinfectant mats at all entrances and exits to the wetland centre, hand washing facilities and vehicle movements on and off the reserve are being restricted," he said.

Mr Morris said staff were looking out for symptoms on the 670-acre (271-hectare) reserve and sending dead birds to the government for testing.

He added they were not seeing unusual numbers of wild bird deaths. Instead, only a few ducks and geese among the tens of thousands of birds migrating and passing through Slimbridge were being affected.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said restrictions implemented by the nature reserve will stay in place until 28 February.



 Bird flu prevention zone extended [ITV News 4 Jan 2017]


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 There are extra precautionary steps people who keep poultry should follow.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since 6 December will be extended until 28 February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

It covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

All bird keepers must take extra biosecurity steps, including:

・minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds
making sure that feed and water can’t be accessed by wild birds

・taking all reasonable precautions to avoid the transfer of contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and footwear

・reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept

・implementing effective vermin control programmes around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept

・thoroughly cleansing and disinfecting housing and equipment at the end of a production cycle

・keeping Defra-approved disinfectant at the right concentration at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The Prevention Zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

– CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER NIGEL GIBBENS



 Farmers warned to be 'vigilant' after bird flu outbreak still remains a threat in Lincolnshire [Lincolnshire Live 4 Jan 2017]

By Holly O'Flinn

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Measures extended to ensure farmers keep birds inside after virus outbreak

Measures to stop the spread of bird flu are being extended until the end of next month.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was introduced after the outbreak last month at a Turkey farm near Louth.

That has now been extended until February 28 to help protect poultry and captive birds from the virus, the Chief Veterinary Officer has announced.

The farm near Louth had a confirmed outbreak on December 16 and swift action was taken to limit the risk of it spreading, including a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone around the infected farm.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

Today, Wednesday, January 4, the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Andrea Leadsom told the Oxford farming conference that the housing order will continue.

It covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales. There is also a nationwide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "The prevention zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

"Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn't possible, owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

"Even when birds are kept indoors, a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds."

People who keep poultry are told they must practice good biosecurity to minimise the risk of infection spreading via items such as feed, clothing or equipment.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The H5N8 (a sub-type of the influenza A virus) strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe for several weeks.

A further case was confirmed in a backyard flock in Carmarthenshire on January 3 and the Welsh Government has put in place control measures including a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone around the infected premises.

The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales, England and Scotland.

Nigel Gibbens added: "Recent H5N8 avian flu findings in wild birds and a backyard flock in Wales highlight just how essential it is to minimise contact between wild and captive birds and maintain good biosecurity to reduce the risk of infection.

"We must continue to be vigilant and do all we can to protect against this highly pathogenic strain of the disease, which is why we are extending the prevention zone. We have introduced a ban on poultry gatherings and continue to strengthen surveillance to understand the extent of infection in wild birds."

The department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) has offered information to all bird keepers to keep their flock contained and secure. Here are the steps they advise farmers to take...

・minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds
・make sure that feed and water can't be accessed by wild birds
・take all reasonable precautions to avoid the transfer of contamination between premises, including cleansing and disinfection of equipment, vehicles and footwear
・reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept
・implement effective vermin control programmes around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept
・thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing and equipment at the end of a production cycle
・keep Defra-approved disinfectant at the right concentration at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses



 Bird flu confirmed in chickens and ducks in Wales as disease spreads [The Telegraph News, 4 Jan 2017]

by Sophie Jamieson

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There has been another bird flu outbreak in the UK CREDIT: PA

Bird flu has been confirmed in chickens and ducks in Wales, in the latest instance of the spread of the avian disease across Britain.

The decision was taken to cull the birds before confirmation, amid strong suspicion of avian influenza H5N8 on a premises near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire.

It follows previous outbreaks across the country, including cases last month in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, and Somerset and Leicestershire.

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Restrictions have been placed on poultry farming following bird flu outbreaks CREDIT: NIALL

The disease has also affected other parts of Europe where thousands of farmed birds have been slaughtered following outbreaks.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place to limit the risk of the disease spreading in the latest instance, as part of the wider surveillance and disease control measures.

An avian influenza prevention zone declaration was made by Welsh ministers on December 6 last year.

It means extra biosecurity measures for all poultry and captive birds to protect them from the risk from wild birds.

The zone covers the whole of Wales and is due to remain in place until January 6.

It requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds. For farmed geese, game birds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.



 Avian flu: Defra tells owners to keep poultry indoors until spring [The Guardian 4 Jan 2017]

by Steven Morris

Extension of prevention measures announced one day after a backyard flock in south Wales was found to have disease

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Keepers had been hoping that birds used to roaming free would be allowed out this month. Photograph: Alamy

Poultry owners across Britain have been told they must keep their chickens, ducks and geese away from wild birds until the start of spring to counter the threat of avian influenza.

Keepers, including people with just a few backyard hens, must place poultry indoors or take other measures to reduce the chances of them coming into contact with wild birds.

The prevention measures were initially imposed on 6 December but keepers had been hoping that birds used to roaming free would be allowed out this month.

On Wednesday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that the restrictions would be maintained in England until 28 February. Similar moves were made in Scotland and Wales and there is a Britain-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

It comes a day after the Welsh government said a backyard flock in south-west Wales had been slaughtered after catching avian flu.

The H5N8 strain of avian influenza has been circulating in Europe for several weeks. An outbreak was confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December. The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales, England and Scotland.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

England’s chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, said: “Anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

“Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

“Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds.”

The chief veterinary officer in Wales, Christianne Glossop, said: “Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure that every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.”



 Bird flu confirmed in chickens and ducks in Wales [Oxford Mail, 3 Jan 2017]

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A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place

Bird flu has been confirmed in chickens and ducks on a premises near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales said.

The decision was taken to cull the birds before confirmation, amid strong suspicion of avian influenza H5N8.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place to limit the risk of the disease spreading, and as part of the wider surveillance and disease control measures.

An avian influenza prevention zone declaration was made by Welsh ministers on December 6 last year.

It means extra biosecurity measures for all poultry and captive birds to protect them from the risk from wild birds.

The zone covers the whole of Wales and is due to remain in place until January 6.

It requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds.

For farmed geese, game birds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.



 Poultry cull after bird flu confirmed in Carmarthenshire garden [Wales Online, 3 Jan 2017]

By Carmarthen Journal

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Avian flu has been confirmed in a flock of ducks and chickens in Pontyberem

A FLOCK of chickens and ducks have been culled in Carmarthenshire after strains of bird flu were found.

The decision was taken after a "strong suspicion of disease" was found in poultry who were housed in the backyard of a residential property in Pontyberem.

The presence of Influenza H5N8 has been confirmed by the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales.

A protection zone of 3km and a surveillance zone of 10km have been put in place around the property in question, in order to try to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

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A wild duck was confirmed to have bird flu in Llanelli in December

It is thought that this particular strain is the same one that was identified in a wild duck in Llanelli before Christmas.

Lesley Griffiths AM, cabinet secretary for the environment and rural affairs, said: "This case of Avian Influenza H5N8 in a backyard flock near Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire follows the findings of infection in wild birds and a confirmed case in Lincolnshire.

"It serves to reinforce the need for all bird keepers, particularly back yard flock keepers, to adhere to the requirements set out in the prevention zone, remain vigilant for signs of disease and practice good biosecurity at all times."

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Cabinet secretary for the environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Christianne Glossop, said: "This case serves to remind us all of the risk of infection. The Prevention Zone and temporary suspension on gathering of poultry remain in place.

"It is extremely important that bird keepers practice the very highest levels of biosecurity. Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

"The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected."




 More cases of bird flu have been found in Wales [Wales Online, 3 Jan 2017]

Chickens and ducks at a premises in Carmarthenshire were culled after a "strong suspicion" of bird flu was discovered



BY RUTH MOSALSKI
Bird-flu-outbreak ccc.jpg
Avian flu has now been confirmed in the flock of ducks and chickens (Photo: PA)

A flock of chickens and ducks at a premises in Carmarthenshire have been culled after bird flu were found.

The flock of chickens and ducks were culled after a "strong suspicion of disease" was found in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire .

Before the infection could be confirmed, it was decided to cull the birds but the discovery of Avian Influenza H5N8 has been confirmed by Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales.

The premises affected is not a farm or commercial property but the animals lived in a backyard of a residential property.

'Need to be vigilant'


A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the infected premises, to limit the risk of the disease.

It is the same strain of the virus identified in a wild duck in Llanelli on 22 December, a turkey farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December and cases in wild, captive or domestic birds in many European countries, the Middle East and North Africa.

The advice from Public Health Wales (PHW) is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has confirmed a finding of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a wild duck a wigeon in Llanelli

RNP_MAI_221216_-Wigeon_1001JPG vvvv.jpg
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has already confirmed a finding of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a wild duck a wigeon in Llanelli (Photo: Michele Lamberti/ Creative Commons)

Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “This case of Avian Influenza H5N8 in a backyard flock near Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire follows the findings of infection in wild birds and a confirmed case in Lincolnshire.

"It serves to reinforce the need for all bird keepers, particularly back yard flock keepers, to adhere to the requirements set out in the Prevention Zone, remain vigilant for signs of disease and practice good biosecurity at all times.

'Movement of poultry should be minimised'


The Chief Veterinary Officer, Christianne Glossop, said: “This case serves to remind us all of the risk of infection. The Prevention Zone and temporary suspension on gathering of poultry remain in place.

“It is extremely important that bird keepers practice the very highest levels of biosecurity.

"Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

"The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected.”

lesley-griffiths ccc.jpg
Lesley Griffiths AM

NFU Cymru President, Stephen James said: “Poultry producers in Wales will understandably be concerned with this confirmed case of Avian Influenza in Carmarthenshire.

"NFU Cymru remains in close dialogue with Welsh Government on this issue and are keeping our members informed with the latest information.

“The prevention zone across all of Wales, which requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them from wild birds, still remains in place, as does the temporary suspension on gatherings of poultry.

“NFU Cymru is reminding everyone who keeps poultry, no matter the size of the flock, to continue to practice good biosecurity, remain vigilant and report any suspected cases to their local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

“It is worth reminding people that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has also made it clear that Avian Influenza does not pose a food safety risk for people.”

Anyone concerned about the health of their birds you should seek advice from a vet.

If you suspect that your birds are showing signs of the disease you should immediately report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

Poultry keepers are encouraged to provide details of their flocks to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.


 Fresh avian flu case found in Carmarthenshire back yard [BBC News, 3 Jan 2017]


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Chickens and ducks have been found with avian flu at a property in Carmarthenshire.

The chief veterinary officer for Wales confirmed the H5N8 infections in a back yard in Pontyberem on Tuesday - after the birds had been culled.

It is the same strain of the virus found in an infected wild duck in Llanelli and turkeys in Lincolnshire.

A 3km (1.8 mile) protection zone and 10km (6.2 mile) surveillance zone have been put in place around the premises.

It comes on the same day the National Welsh Poultry Weekend in Pembrokeshire was cancelled over avian flu fears.

Public Health Wales has said the risk to public health was "very low" with the Food Standards
Agency having also said avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

'Remain vigilant'

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: "It serves to reinforce the need for all bird keepers, particularly back yard flock keepers, to adhere to the requirements set out in the Prevention Zone, remain vigilant for signs of disease and practice good biosecurity at all times."

National Farmers Union Cymru president Stephen James said it remained in "close dialogue" with the Welsh Government on the issue and it was keeping members informed with the latest information.

The chief veterinary officer, Prof Christianne Glossop, said it was "extremely important" bird keepers practiced the "highest levels of biosecurity".

"Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

"The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected," she added.

Members of the public have been encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location.



 Avian flu found in backyard flock in Welsh village [The Guardian, 3 Jan 2017]

by Steven Morris

Protection zone placed around village of Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, after H5N8 virus found in chickens and ducks

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Keepers have been instructed to keep their flocks away from wild birds. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

A 3km protection zone has been placed around a Welsh village after a backyard flock of chickens and ducks was found to have avian flu.

The birds were infected by avian influenza H5N8, which has previously been discovered on a turkey farm in Lincolnshire and a wild duck in Llanelli, south Wales.

Christianne Glossop, the chief veterinary officer for Wales, said the small flock at a property in the village of Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, had been culled.

Restrictions were already in place to try to stop the spread of avian flu across mainland Britain, with keepers ranging from large-scale farmers to those with a few chickens or ducks in their garden instructed to keep them away from wild birds.

The imposition of a protection zone around Pontyberem means keepers will additionally have to keep records of visitors and of the movement of all poultry and eggs. A 10km surveillance zone has also been introduced.

Glossop said: “It is extremely important that birdkeepers practise the very highest levels of biosecurity. Even when birds are housed there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds. The movement of poultry should be minimised, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected.”

She added: “If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds are showing signs of the disease, you should immediately report it to your local animal and plant health agency office.”

The Welsh government’s cabinet secretary for the environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “This case of avian influenza H5N8 in a backyard flock near Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire follows the findings of infection in wild birds and a confirmed case in Lincolnshire.

“It serves to reinforce the need for all birdkeepers, particularly backyard flock keepers, to adhere to the requirements set out in the prevention zone, remain vigilant for signs of disease and practise good biosecurity at all times.”

The Welsh government said the advice from Public Health Wales (PHW) was that the risk to public health from the virus was very low and the Food Standards Agency had made clear that avian flu did not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. It said thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, were safe to eat.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.


Saudi bans Indian poultry products on bird flu scare [Business Standard, 3 Jan 2017]


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Photo: Shutterstock

Four weeks after the World Organisation for Animal Health reported an avian influenza outbreak, Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned imports of poultry products from India.

In a note dated January 2, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) informed Indian poultry exporters, “The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia has decided to impose a temporary ban on the import of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India due to the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.” Such bans, however, are periodically reviewed and lifted in three months.

Saudi Arabia is the second largest importer of poultry products from India and exporters fear other importing countries might follow suit. But with exports contributing to less than 1 per cent of India’s poultry industry, the impact of Saudi Arabia’s ban may not be significant. “India’s exports of hatching eggs and eggs will be stopped if India is declared as a bird flu positive country. Low pathogenic avian influenza is present in our country, which flares up sometimes,” said Balram Yadav, managing director, Godrej Agrovet.

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Data compiled by Apeda showed a steady increase in India’s exports of poultry products from $92.53 million in 2013 -14 to $117.40 million in 2015-16. Exports of poultry products to Saudi Arabia have also moved up from $7.94 million in 2013-14 to $14.63 million in 2015-16. Saudi Arabia contributes around 15 per cent of India’s exports of poultry products after Oman with a share of over 26 per cent.

According to experts, bird flu is carried by wild and migratory birds. India being a large country, with a $15 billion poultry industry, does not permit vaccination to prevent bird flu outbreaks. Many countries, including Bangladesh, have allowed vaccination to prevent outbreaks. In India, keeping track of small poultry farms in remote areas is difficult.

“India’s chicks exports to Saudi Arabia are costly compared to those from Brazil and America. Input cost, including corn and other bird feed, is cheaper in Brazil and America. So the temporary ban is unlikely to affect the poultry sector in India,” said Ramesh Khatri, President, Poultry Federation of India.

Khatri urged the government to declare bird flu-free zones. “This will help shipment of poultry products from the regions declared safe and prevent exports from sensitive zones,” he added.

Starting in Tripura early in 2016, the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak was reported in many parts of the country throughout the year. But no major outbreaks and culling of birds were reported.


Bird flu scare spreads wings [Orissa Post, 3 Jan 2017]

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Bhubaneswar: Bird flu scare has panicked the citizens of the Capital city with the sudden death of 10 crows in Salia Sahi slum area Monday. The state administration, however, ruled out the possibility.

The residents of Salia Sahi and nearby areas Monday morning spotted carcasses of 10 crows at Nilachakranagar vegetable market here.

“Excluding Khurda and Rourkela, the bird flu menace has not spread its tentacles to any part of the state so far. The death of birds in other areas, are either natural deaths or due to other reasons but not bird flu,” claimed fisheries and animal resources development secretary Bishnupada Sethi.

In the wake of the suspected bird flu outbreak in Salia Sahi area, the locals have started avoiding consuming chicken. The poultry owners in Salia Sahi area are also worried about their healthy fowls being infected by the disease.

The first bird flu incident was detected in Khurda district and a few days later the government found that some birds of Indira Gandhi Park (zoo) at Rourkela were also infected with bird flu virus H5N1. The administration has closed the Indira Gandhi Park at Rourkela for indefinite period after traces of the virus was detected in a bird.

“Bird flu has not been traced in chickens in Rourkela area, but a pelican and a crow in Panposh area of Rourkela had traces of the virus. A laboratory report confirmed that some chicken had died due to heavy cold in Keonjhar. Similarly, some other chickens had died of Ranikhet disease in Bhadrak,” Sethi added.

Meanwhile, the culling operation of poultry in Keranga village of Khurda district was completed to stop spread of bird flu virus. Two veterinary experts have also reached the steel city to review the situation. The two would visit the affected areas to create general awareness among the people about the disease, the sources added.


Bird flu effect: Saudi slaps temporary ban on Indian poultry products [The Hindu Business Line, 2 Jan 2017]

by VISHWANATH KULKARNI

BENGALURU, JANUARY 2:
Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on the import of Indian poultry products, following the recent outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu in several parts of the country.

Saudi joins other West Asian countries such as Kuwait in banning the imports of poultry from India, which reported about seven instances of bird flu outbreak during 2016 with the latest being in Khordha district of Odisha. Saudi was the second largest buyer of Indian poultry products in 2015-16. As per DGCIS, India’s poultry exports to Saudi Arabia stood at ₹95.64 crore, accounting for over 12 per cent of the country’s total poultry shipments of ₹766.71 crore in 2015-16.

Saudi’s decision to ban Indian poultry imports was disclosed by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) through its website on Monday.

“The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia vide its Note Verbale no. 209/404 dated 25.11.2016 has informed that the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia have decided to impose a temporary ban on the import of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India due to the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza,” Apeda said in a notice on its website on Monday.

The outbreak of avian flu was reported from Punjab, Haryana, Tripura, Karnataka, Kerala and Odisha during 2016.

Ashok Kumar, President of the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association, said the poultry sector is getting used to such frequent bans by overseas buyers.

The government should come out with pro-active policies for the sector to help realise its potenial, he added.

Double whammy

Saudi’s ban on Indian imports has added to the woes of the poultry farmers, who are already reeling under the impact of frequent outbreaks of bird flu in the country and the ongoing cash crunch.

Kumar said typical seasonal surge witnessed during Christmas and New Year was not there this time due to the curtailment in consumer spend on account of prevailing cash shortages.

Shipments suffer

As a result of tempered demand for poultry products, the prices were near normal during the season.

India’s poultry exports, which have been on an upswing in the recent years, are seen facing a slowdown in the current financial year.

According to Apeda, India’s total poultry exports during April-October 2016 were down 36 per cent at ₹297.53 crore as against ₹465.32 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Poultry exports grew from ₹566.80 crore in 2013-14 to ₹766.71 crore in 2015-16 on increase in purchases by countries such as Oman and Saudi Arabia.


France finds bird flu in new part of country [Reuters, 2 Jan 2017]


Local authorities in France confirmed on Monday an outbreak of severe bird flu in the Deux-Sevres administrative department in the west of the country, an area previously unaffected by a recent spate of bird flu cases.

Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of H5N8 avian influenza among backyard birds and at a poultry farm in two rural districts near the western town of Niort, the Deux-Sevres prefecture said in a statement.

The H5N8 strain of the disease is highly contagious among birds and has spread in a number of European countries since late last year. It is not known to be contagious for humans.

France has already confirmed more than 80 cases of H5N8 bird flu among domestic poultry, but these have been in southwestern areas far from the latest outbreaks.

The country, which is has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, was already affected by a severe bird flu episode a year ago in the southwest that led the authorities to suspend duck and goose breeding in the region known for production of foie gras liver pate.

Different strains of bird flu have also spread in Asia in recent weeks, leading to the slaughtering of millions of birds in South Korea and Japan and several human infections in China.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

America bids for eggs-cellent deal with South Korea after bird flu outbreak [Daily Express, 2 Jan 2017]


US OFFICIALS are urgently seeking an agreement with South Korea that would allow imports of American eggs so farmers can cash in on a shortage caused by the Asian country's worst-ever outbreak of bird flu.

USA-and-South-Korean-Flags-749329.jpg
US bids for egg deal with South Korea after its worst-ever bird flu outbreak

The two sides are negotiating over terms of potential shipments after South Korea lifted a ban on imports of US table eggs that it imposed when the United States grappled with its own bout of bird flu last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

If an agreement is reached, US shipments could bring some relief to South Koreans who have faced soaring egg prices and rationing since the outbreak there began last month.

The egg shipments also would help US farmers cope with an oversupply that is depressing prices.

The opportunity to profit by filling South Korea's shortfall with US eggs has sent brokers and traders into overdrive.

About 26 million birds, more than a quarter of South Korea's poultry stock, have been culled to control the outbreak, and most of the birds have been egg-laying hens.

Strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks. Two people in China and one person in Hong Kong have died in the outbreaks.

The United States could reach agreement to open trade with South Korea as early as next week, said Mark Perigen, national supervisor for shell eggs for a division of the USDA.

South-Korean-officials-774480.jpg
South Korean officials stand by a 'Keep Off' sign to stop people entering a bird-flu affected area

“Everybody's working hard to get it done,” Perigen said in an interview on Friday, adding that USDA employees had worked during holiday vacations on the issue.

“They're desperate for eggs over there, and the government realises that,” Perigen said.

South Korea's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Glenn Hickman, chief executive of Hickman's Eggs in Arizona, has received calls from brokers searching for US eggs to ship to South Korea.

“Everybody in Korea who needs eggs has Googled everybody in the world who might have eggs,” Hickman said.

“We're getting calls from brokers who have no idea even the right questions to ask us,” he added. “It's just somebody who knows how to freight stuff from the US to Korea.”

With no agreement yet between the two countries, Hickman is asking employees to take contact information for the potential customers.

Eggs-774487.jpg
About 26 million birds, more than a quarter of South Korea's poultry stock have been culled

United States Egg Marketers, a cooperative of farmers that was established to export eggs, has received “numerous inquiries about this already, including from people who have never exported anything in their lives,” said Eka Inall, the group's president.

“Our phone is blowing up, our email is blowing up,” she said.

Last year, US food companies imported eggs from Europe after bird flu ravaged domestic chicken flocks and sent egg prices to record highs.

Since then, US prices have tumbled as farmers have ramped up production.

The United States produced 7.44 billion table eggs in November, up 11.5 percent from a year earlier, and there were 312 million hens laying table eggs on Dec. 1, up 8 percent from a year before, according to USDA.

On Dec. 26, the average price for a dozen large white US eggs was $1.17, down from a high of $2.88 in August 2015, according to market data firm Urner Barry.

South-Korean-quarantine-officials-774489.jpg
South Korean quarantine officials entering a poultry farm

“Current conditions in the US are definitely a motivating factor to get this thing done,” Brian Moscogiuri, an Urner Barry egg analyst, said about US efforts to start shipments to South Korea.

If South Korea begins importing US eggs, its residents may need to adjust to a different appearance of the food staple.

Jim Sumner, president of the US Poultry and Egg Export Council, said many Koreans prefer brown coloured eggs, while the United States mostly produces white eggs.

“As they say, beggars can't be choosers,” he said.


Germany to cull more turkeys after bird flu outbreak spreads [Reuters, 2 Jan 2017]


About 22,000 turkeys are to be culled after suspect cases of bird flu were found on two more German farms in the major German poultry production region of Lower Saxony, authorities said on Monday.

It is not yet known if the cases involve the contagious H5N8 flu strain but the birds will be culled as a precaution, the local government authority in Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony said.

Around 90,000 turkeys, chickens and ducks were also culled last week after the H5N8 strain was confirmed on farms in Lower Saxony while 16,000 turkeys were culled on a farm with the H5N8 strain in the neighboring state of North Rhine Westfalia.

The contagious H5N8 strain has been found in more than 500 wild birds in Germany in recent weeks. Outbreaks on farms have been rare after the government introduced tough sanitary rules to prevent infection by wild birds including orders to keep poultry indoors in high-risk regions.

A series of European countries and Israel have found cases of H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks and some ordered poultry flocks be kept indoors to prevent the disease spreading. France has widened high risk restrictions to the entire country after the detection of several cases of the H5N8 strain.

A case was also found in the Irish Republic last week.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Louise Heavens)


 Bird Flu Scare In Rourkela, Keonjhar Town; Vets On Toes [Odisha Television, 1 Jan 2017]

vlcsnap-2017-01-01-14h49m37s834-750x430.jpg


Rourkela/Keonjhar: Suspecting spread of bird flu in Rourkela, the Sundargarh administration has formed four teams to collect blood samples of birds in the steel city and nearby areas.

Talking to newsmen, Rourkela Sub Collector Himanshu Sekhar Behera said, “The Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) authorities were asked to close the Indira Gandhi Park for visitors suspecting spread of bird flu among birds kept in a zoo located inside it. Besides, the symptoms of bird flu were observed in birds in the CISF campus.”

Besides, the officials at the District Veterinary, Municipal Corporation and Health department were alerted by the district administration about chances for spread of bird flu. The rapid response team has also been given training on how to control the avian flu.

The Joint Secretary of the Disease Control and a scientist have reached the Steel city to take stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, after two crows were found dead at different places in Keonjhar town, a team led by the District Veterinary Officer reached the spot to collect samples of the carcasses.

Jaladhara Mallick, chief veterinary doctor, said, “We will send the samples to the Animal Disease Research Institute, Phulnakhara for a test. If the institute thinks it would be appropriate to send the samples outside the state, centres at Kolkata or Bhopal will be considered. Further action will be decided after getting reports from the tests.”

Commenting on the bird flu scare in the State, Agriculture and Fishing Minister Pradeep Maharathy told newsmen in Bhubaneswar, “The disease was detected in Kerang village of Khurda district so far following which 845 birds were culled and 151 eggs buried under soil. Compensation was also provided to bird owners of Kerang for the loss incurred because of the culling.”

Samples from Rourkela will be tested at the laboratory to get confirmation on bird flu spread. The minister added.



 RPT-UPDATE 1-U.S. scrambles to clear egg exports to bird flu-hit Korea [Reuters, 1 Jan 2017]

(Repeats earlier story for wider readership with no change to text.)

By Tom Polansek

Dec 30 U.S. officials are urgently seeking an agreement with South Korea that would allow imports of American eggs so farmers can cash in on a shortage caused by the Asian country's worst-ever outbreak of bird flu.

The two sides are negotiating over terms of potential shipments after South Korea lifted a ban on imports of U.S. table eggs that it imposed when the United States grappled with its own bout of bird flu last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

If an agreement is reached, U.S. shipments could bring some relief to South Koreans who have faced soaring egg prices and rationing since the outbreak there began last month.

The egg shipments also would help U.S. farmers cope with an oversupply that is depressing prices.

The opportunity to profit by filling South Korea's shortfall with U.S. eggs has sent brokers and traders into overdrive.

About 26 million birds, more than a quarter of South Korea's poultry stock, have been culled to control the outbreak, and most of the birds have been egg-laying hens.

Strains of bird flu, which can be spread to poultry by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks. Two people in China and one person in Hong Kong have died in the outbreaks.

The United States could reach agreement to open trade with South Korea as early as next week, said Mark Perigen, national supervisor for shell eggs for a division of the USDA.

"Everybody's working hard to get it done," Perigen said in an interview on Friday, adding that USDA employees had worked during holiday vacations on the issue.

"They're desperate for eggs over there, and the government realizes that," Perigen said.

South Korea's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Glenn Hickman, chief executive of Hickman's Eggs in Arizona, has received calls from brokers searching for U.S. eggs to ship to South Korea.

"Everybody in Korea who needs eggs has Googled everybody in the world who might have eggs," Hickman said.

"We're getting calls from brokers who have no idea even the right questions to ask us," he added. "It's just somebody who knows how to freight stuff from the U.S. to Korea."

With no agreement yet between the two countries, Hickman is asking employees to take contact information for the potential customers.

United States Egg Marketers, a cooperative of farmers that was established to export eggs, has received "numerous inquiries about this already, including from people who have never exported anything in their lives," said Eka Inall, the group's president.

"Our phone is blowing up, our email is blowing up," she said.

Last year, U.S. food companies imported eggs from Europe after bird flu ravaged domestic chicken flocks and sent egg prices to record highs.

Since then, U.S. prices have tumbled as farmers have ramped up production.

The United States produced 7.44 billion table eggs in November, up 11.5 percent from a year earlier, and there were 312 million hens laying table eggs on Dec. 1, up 8 percent from a year before, according to USDA.

On Dec. 26, the average price for a dozen large white U.S. eggs was $1.17, down from a high of $2.88 in August 2015, according to market data firm Urner Barry.

"Current conditions in the U.S. are definitely a motivating factor to get this thing done," Brian Moscogiuri, an Urner Barry egg analyst, said about U.S. efforts to start shipments to South Korea.

If South Korea begins importing U.S. eggs, its residents may need to adjust to a different appearance of the food staple.

Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, said many Koreans prefer brown colored eggs, while the United States mostly produces white eggs.

"As they say, beggars can't be choosers," he said.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis and Michael Perry)



 China confirms another human bird flu case, second case in three days [International Business Times, 1 Jan 2017]

By Samhati Bhattacharjya

imgchina-confirms-second-human-bird-flu-infection-stops-poultry-sales.jpg
A health officer put culled poultry in a plastic bag at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virusReuters

China health authorities confirmed a new case of a man being infected by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, state news agency Xinhua said late on Saturday.

According to Xinhua, a 53-year-old man is being treated in hospital in the southern China province of Jiangxi provincial and is in a critical condition.


Till date, China has reported a total of 17 bird flu infected people and at least two of them have died. Since October, China has culled more than 170,000 birds in four provinces and has closed some live poultry markets after people and birds were infected by strains of the avian flu.

China suffered the last major bird flu outbreak from late 2013 to early 2014 that had killed 36 people and led to more than US$6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector. Earlier this month, Shanghai, the largest city of China with more than 24 million residents, has also already reported one human case of H7N9 infection.

The virus was first reported in humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Reports say six people had died and subsequent outbreaks have killed hundreds more worldwide.

China's Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday that the recent outbreak of the virus have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner. It did not spread and have not affected chicken products or prices.

The farmers have also increased cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, among other steps, to prevent the disease.



 Llanelli Wetlands Centre reopens following investigation into bird flu discovery Read more at [South Wales Evening Post, 1 Jan 2017]

15772742-large.jpeg The centre was closed after the discovery of a wigeon breed of duck with bird flu
Read more at http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/llanelli-wetlands-centre-reopens-following-investigations-into-bird-flu-discovery/story-30023437-detail/story.html#G1zeZlH8UkcfOBSu.99

LLANELLI's Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre has reopened after nine days of closure following an outbreak of an infectious strain of avian flu.

The H5N8 strain was found in a wigeon at an estuary near the the Wetland Centre last week. It was closed as a precautionary measure on December 23, and bosses were forced to cancel Christmas activities.

But the centre has released a statement to say the birds look fine and that staff will be keeping a close eye on them.

The Welsh Government said it was the first time the H5N8 strain had been found in a wild bird in the UK.



 High Alert Issued In Odisha's Rourkela After Bird Flu Reports [NDTV, 1 Jan 2017]

bird-flu_650x400_41462734256.jpg
Rourkela's famous Indira Gandhi Park has been shut down due to reports of H1N5 influenza.

ROURKELA: Authorities in Odisha's Rourkela issued a high alert after reports of bird flu surfaced in Odisha's Rourkela.

"Following reports about H5N1 avian flu influenza, we are on high alert and are keeping a close watch on the developments round the clock," Sundargarh Collector B S Punia said.

"A team of experts will arrive from Bhubaneswar to take stock of the situation," he said.

A task force meeting comprising officials from the administration, health department, Rourkela Municipal Corporation and Rourkela Steel Plant was held to take stock of the situation, officials said.

As a precautionary measure, the administration has shut down Indira Gandhi Park, a major tourist destination in the city, for an indefinite period.

The decision was taken in view of the report about the presence of H5N1 virus received from National Institute of High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, Mr Punia said.

Sub-Divisional Medical Officer Pushpa Mishra advised people to use masks and report about any death of birds and also anyone feeling uneasy.

In the last one week, dead crows were found in the local Central Industrial Security Force colony.

Subsequently, three pelicans, two white ibis and one duck were found dead in quick succession after which samples were sent to the Bhopal laboratory.

Meanwhile, a team led by joint director of disease control, B K Parida and a scientist arrived at Rourkela from Bhubaneswar. Four rapid response teams have been formed to keep an eye on the development here. The teams have been formed with experts drawn from different departments.

The Odisha government had on December 28 formally launched culling of chicken suspected to be affected by H5N1 virus at Keranga village under Khurda district.

The villagers also came forward to support the culling operation after they were made aware on the impact of the bird flu which may also affect human beings, according to Fisheries and Animal Resources Secretary B P Sethi.

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 30 Dec 2016


China confirms another human bird flu case [Reuters, 31 Dec 2017]

Health authorities in the southern China province of Jiangxi have confirmed a new case of a person infected by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, state news agency Xinhua said late on Saturday.

The 53-year-old man is being treated in hospital in provincial capital Nanchang and is in a critical condition, Xinhua said in a brief report.

A total of 17 people have been infected with bird flu in China so far this winter, at least two of whom have died.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

China has culled more than 170,000 birds in four provinces since October and closed some live poultry markets after people and birds were infected by strains of the avian flu.

China's Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday the recent outbreaks of bird flu have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner without spreading and have not affected chicken products or prices.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)


 Nigerian state culls 9,000 birds to curb bird flu [Naija247 News, 31 Dec 2016]


A total of 9,000 birds have been culled in Nigeria’s Kano State as authorities move to curb the spread of bird flu which resurfaced two weeks ago in the state.

Shehu Bawa, an official at the state’s ministry of agriculture and natural resources, said on Thursday the disease was detected in two local farms in the northern state, Xinhua reported.

Bird flu, or avian flu, is an influenza that spreads among birds and can affect humans.

Bawa told Xinhua the birds were killed as part of the measures being taken by state authorities to contain the resurface of bird flu in the state.

According to the official, 500 birds were killed in one farm, while 8,500 were killed in the other.

The virus was first detected on a local poultry in the state on December 15. Authorities said they were earlier prompted to kill all the birds there to prevent an outbreak.

Bawa said government would continue to take proactive measures to ensure the influenza did not spread to other farms.

He said local poultry farmers have been urged to report any sign of the virus on their farms to the authorities.

Early this year, at least 80,000 birds were killed in 45 farms following an outbreak of avian influenza in the state.

–IANS



 Bird flu discovered in wild duck in Co Wexford [The Irish Times, 31 Dec 2016]

by Mark Hilliard

image00.jpg The wild duck – a wigeon – was found alive but unable to fly in Wexford town on December 28th. Photograph: Mark Stanley/Getty Images.

Department of Agriculture confirms virus has been found but says risk to humans is very low

A confirmed case of avian bird flu has been detected in Co Wexford following a number of recent discoveries in Europe.

The Department of Agriculture said the influenza subtype H5N8 was found in a wild duck known as a “wigeon” on Wednesday, December 28th. The bird was found alive but unable to fly.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has said although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections of the virus have been reported anywhere. The risk to humans is “considered to be very low”, it said.

The discovery comes after the Department of Agriculture took the unprecedented step this month of ordering farmers to move their poultry indoors.

Regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 require “flock keepers to confine all poultry and captive birds in their possession or under their control in a secure building to which wild birds, or other animals do not have access and to apply particular bio-security measures”, it said.

The Avian Influenza (Precautionary Confinement of Birds) Regulations 2016, are a precautionary measure and follow an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a turkey flock near the coast in Lincolnshire, England and in a dead wild duck in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Other cases have been detected in Europe, including Poland and France, since the end of October.

“Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same highly pathogenic strain that is currently present in Great Britain and mainland Europe,” the Department said of the first Irish-based find. The results of these tests are due back next week.

In the meantime, officials have stressed the need for strict bio-security measures to prevent the introduction of bird flu into poultry and captive bird flocks and owners have been urged to remain vigilant for any sign of the disease.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s poultry committee chairman Nigel Renaghan recently said there were concerns for the poultry industry’s reputation should there be an outbreak in Ireland.

“The reality is if you have a free-range or an organic unit and birds are going outside to pasture, wild birds flying over can contaminate the site so you’re running a risk,” he said.

“If it comes in and it’s put in a newspaper that avian influenza has touched into Ireland, even though it has no effect on humans there is that perception. And the fear is that people may not eat as many eggs or as much poultry, which in turn causes its own problems.”

Ireland produces about 70 million chickens annually, along with 4 million turkeys and close to 600 million eggs.



 Shanghai and Hong Kong confirm new human cases of H7N9 bird flu infection [International Business Times, 30 Dec 2016]

By Samhati Bhattacharjya
imgshanghai-hong-kong-confirm-new-human-cases-h7n9-bird-flu-infection.jpg
Health officers cull poultry at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus, in Hong KongReuters

Shanghai and Hong Kong each confirmed a new human case of infection by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza on Friday.

Shanghai's health authority said the man, who has been diagnosed with H7N9 bird flu strain is being treated in a hospital, Xinhua reported. On the other hand, Hong Kong confirmed its second case of this season after an elderly man died of the virus on Sunday.


The Hong Kong government said in a statement that a 70-year-old man tested positive for the H7N9 strain of the virus. Earlier in December, he had travelled to the neighbouring Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhongshan.

According to reports, the man had come across mobile stalls, which were selling live poultry in Zhongshan. But the actual source of infection is still not clear and the authorities were still investigating the source.

The patient has already been hospitalized in stable condition. Authorities also said that people, who are in close contact with the man, have also been kept under medical surveillance.

The statement further added that bird flu cases were "expected to increase in winter based on its seasonal pattern". Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

Earlier this month, Shanghai, the largest city of China with more than 24 million residents, has also already reported one human case of H7N9 infection.

The virus was first reported in humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Reports say six people had died and subsequent outbreaks have killed hundreds more worldwide.

In recent years, farmers have increased cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, among other steps, to prevent the disease.



 After reporting bird flu deaths China says virus outbreak handled effectively [International Business Times, 30 Dec 2016]

By Bihu Ray

imgpicture-representation.jpg
Picture for representation Reuters

One week after Chinese government issued a high alert over bird flu, Ministry of Agriculture said the outbreak of the virus has been controlled. In a statement on 30 December, the ministry said that the spread of bird flu has been handled in a "timely and effective" manner and chicken products or prices remain unaffected.

Reuters reported the government department, in an emailed statement, said that the situation in the world's second-largest poultry consumer, which appeared bleak before, is now "stable".

However, on 23 December, The Asian giant confirmed the first two deaths from bird flu in Anhui province. The incident prompted the government to take preventive measures like thorough cleaning, animal detention techniques and adequate culling. More than 110,000 birds have been slaughtered in the last two months to contain the infection.

Bird flu in other Asian countries

This news, no doubt, has put pressure on neighbouring countries like Japan and South Korea which are still struggling to combat the H7N9 virus. While Japan began slaughtering around 210,000 farm birds in northern Hokkaido from 18 December, South Korea issued a nationwide alert to make citizen aware of the disease. It was also reported that the country has already carried out culling of at least 12 percent of its total poultry population and other quarantine measures like the nationwide standstill order has been stepped up to stop the wider spread of the virus.

Hong Kong, Shanghai still not relieved?

Also, on the very same day, Shanghai and Hong Kong each confirmed a new human case of infection by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza. Shanghai's health authority said the man, who has been diagnosed with H7N9 bird flu strain is being treated in a hospital. On the other hand, Hong Kong confirmed its second case of this season after an elderly man died of the virus on 25 December.




 US Scrambles to Clear Egg Exports to Bird Flu-hit South Korea [Voice of America, 30 Dec 2016]

CHICAGO —

637A6DC1-771C-4F40-AABD-11D059883A03_cx6_cy10_cw93_w987_r1_s_r1.jpg
Customers shop for eggs at a discount store in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 28, 2016. Egg prices are soaring and new year's festivals are being canceled as South Korea fights its worst bird flu outbreak in over a decade.

U.S. officials are urgently seeking an agreement with South Korea that would allow imports of American eggs so farmers can cash in on a shortage caused by the Asian country's worst-ever outbreak of bird flu.

South Korea banned imports of U.S. table eggs last year after the United States grappled with its own bout of bird flu.

If a new agreement is reached, U.S. shipments could bring some relief to South Koreans who have faced soaring egg prices and rationing since the outbreak there began last month.

The egg shipments also would help U.S. farmers cope with an oversupply that is depressing prices.

Bird flu found in Asia, Europe

About 26 million birds, more than a quarter of South Korea's poultry stock, have been culled to control the outbreak, and most of the birds have been egg-laying hens.

The opportunity to profit by filling the resulting shortfall with U.S. eggs has sent brokers and traders into overdrive.

Strains of bird flu, which can be spread by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks. Two people in China and one person in Hong Kong have died in the outbreaks.

The United States could reach agreement to resume trade with South Korea as early as next week, said Mark Perigen, national supervisor for shell eggs for a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA works during holidays

“Everybody's working hard to get it done,” Perigen said in an interview on Friday, adding that USDA employees had worked during holiday vacations on the issue.

“They're desperate for eggs over there, and the government realizes that,” Perigen said.

South Korea's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Glenn Hickman, chief executive of Hickman's Eggs in Arizona, has received calls from brokers searching for U.S. eggs to ship to South Korea.

“Everybody in Korea who needs eggs has Googled everybody in the world who might have eggs," Hickman said. “We're getting calls from brokers who have no idea even the right questions to ask us,” he added. “It's just somebody who knows how to freight stuff from the U.S. to Korea.”

Take a name, number

With no agreement yet between the two countries, Hickman is asking employees to take contact information for the potential customers.

United States Egg Marketers, a cooperative of farmers that was established to export eggs, has received “numerous inquiries about this already, including from people who have never exported anything in their lives,” said Eka Inall, the group's president.

“Our phone is blowing up, our email is blowing up,” she said.

Last year, U.S. food companies imported eggs from Europe after bird flu ravaged domestic chicken flocks and sent egg prices to record highs. Since then, U.S. prices have tumbled as farmers have ramped up production.

Production of eggs rises in U.S.

The United States produced 7.44 billion table eggs in November, up 11.5 percent from a year earlier, and there were 312 million hens laying table eggs on December 1, up 8 percent from a year before, according to the USDA.

On December 26, the average price for a dozen large white U.S. eggs was $1.17, down from a high of $2.88 in August 2015, according to market data firm Urner Barry.

“Current conditions in the U.S. are definitely a motivating factor to get this thing done,” Brian Moscogiuri, an Urner Barry analyst, said about U.S. efforts to ship eggs to South Korea.

In South Korea, the average retail price for 30 eggs has risen nearly 25 percent to 6,781 won ($5.68) since the outbreak began on November 18. That is the highest price in more than three years, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.

Brown colored eggs preferred

If South Korea begins importing U.S. eggs, its residents may need to adjust to a different appearance of the food staple.

Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, said many Koreans prefer brown-colored eggs, while the United States mostly produces white eggs.

“As they say, beggars can't be choosers,” he said.



 All your questions answered on 'Bird Flu' [Farm Ireland, 30 Dec 2016]

PANews_P-adf38633-1009-4166-9945-52e8862f88ec_I1.jpg
Bird flu has been confirmed at a chicken farm in the Netherlands

Bird flu has been confirmed at a chicken farm in the Netherlands

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today announced that it has confirmed avian influenza subtype H5N8 in a wild bird in County Wexford.

Q1: What is Avian Influenza?

A: Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of several species of domestic poultry, as well as pet birds and wild birds. It is caused by Type A Influenza Virus. Avian influenza is also known as “Bird Flu”.

Q2: What is meant by low pathogenic and highly pathogenic avian influenza?

A: There are many strains of AI viruses and these can be classified into two categories according to the severity of disease they produce in poultry: low pathogenic (LPAI) that typically causes little or no clinical signs in birds and highly pathogenic (HPAI) that can cause severe clinical signs and often high mortality rates in birds.

Q3: What are the signs of avian influenza infection in birds?

A: The main clinical signs of HPAI in birds are:

Depression/lethargy
loss of appetite and excessive thirst
swollen head
blue discolouration of combs, wattles, neck and throat
respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
diarrhoea
reduced/no eggs laid
Sudden death.

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, depression and a reduction in egg production. However affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection.

Q4: How is avian influenza spread?

A: All avian influenza viruses can be transmitted among birds through direct contact with body fluids from infected birds such as droppings or through contaminated feed, water, equipment, and human clothing. The viruses can also be transmitted from place to place by the movement of live birds, people (especially when shoes and other clothing are contaminated), and contaminated vehicles, equipment, feed, and cages.

Q5: Can avian influenza spread through the air?

A: No, AI is not an airborne disease. As outlined above direct contact with affected birds or contaminated materials is required in order to spread the disease among birds.

Q6: Can avian influenza spread from affected birds to people?

A: Some types of avian influenza can pass to people, but this is very rare. It usually requires very close contact between the person and infected birds.

Q7: I have been vaccinated for human flu as part of the Health Service Executive’s Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign. Does this protect me from avian influenza?

A: No, the flu vaccination will only prevent you from contracting the strains of the human flu virus included in the human flu vaccine.

Q8: Are other animals such as farm animals or pets susceptible to avian influenza?

A: Avian influenza viruses have occasionally been isolated from mammalian species including rats, mice, weasels, ferrets, pigs, cats, tigers, dogs, horses. However it is very rare for mammals to be infected with avian influenza.

Q9: Can avian influenza be spread to humans through food?

A: There is no evidence that avian influenza can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of properly cooked food such as poultry meat and eggs.

Q10: Are wild birds at risk?

A: Migratory water fowl, in particular wild ducks, act as the natural reservoir of the avian influenza virus. Wild birds may carry the AI virus from one area to another through the process of migration and therefore they are an important risk factor to consider in the spread of avian influenza.

Q11: What do I do if I come across dead wild birds?

A: Members of the public are asked to report incidents where multiple wild birds (e.g. 3 or more of same species and 5 or more of multiple species) of species, other than common garden birds or pigeons, are found dead in the same location and at the same time to the DAFM Avian Influenza helpline (Tel: 0761064403) or to your local Regional Veterinary Office the contact details for which can be found at: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/contact/

Q12: Is there specific legislation to deal with the threat of avian influenza in Ireland?

Yes. A number of different pieces of legislation are in place at both European Union (EU) and national level in relation to avian influenza. The main legislation is Council Directive 2005/94/EC which sets out what each country in the EU is required to do in relation to the prevention and early detection of avian influenza. It sets out the minimum control measures to be applied in the event of an outbreak and requires each country to draw up a specific contingency plan setting out the national measures to be implemented in the event of an avian influenza outbreak. This European directive is implemented in Ireland by a specific piece of national legislation.

Q13: What would happen there is a suspected case of avian influenza in a poultry flock in Ireland?

DAFM has a detailed contingency plan and operations manual in place which sets out the actions to be taken in the event of avian influenza being suspected or indeed confirmed in an Irish poultry flock. The plan includes a wide range of specific measures to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading to other flocks and to protect the health of personnel working with the affected flock(s). This plan would be implemented in full in the event of avian influenza being suspected and/or confirmed in Ireland.

Q14: What would happen to poultry on a premises where avian influenza has been confirmed?

All poultry and captive birds on a premises where avian influenza has been confirmed would be humanely slaughtered in order to prevent the risk of the disease spreading to other birds. There is scope for the application of limited derogations, for example in the case of endangered species or rare breeds and the use of this derogation would be decided on a case by case basis based on expert knowledge and a risk analysis.

Q15: What restrictions if any would be put in place on the movement of birds and other animals in the event of an outbreak of avian influenza in Ireland?

A: DAFM would put in place what is known as a “Restricted Zone” in the area surrounding the infected premises. The size of this zone would depend on whether the flock involved was infected with LPAI or HPAI. A variety of disease control measures would be implemented inside the restricted zone including, amongst other things, a prohibition on the movement of poultry, animals and all other materials from poultry farms located in the zone. Further information on the actions that would be taken in the event of an outbreak of avian influenza outbreak are available at: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/animalhealthwelfare/diseasecontrols/avianinfluenzabirdflu/news/4621AvianInfluenza.pdf

Q16: How long would the restriction zones remain in place?

Restrictions would remain in place for at least 30 days after the preliminary cleaning and disinfection of the infected premises.

Q17: I am a poultry farmer, how can I prevent avian influenza from entering my flock?

A: You can reduce the risk of disease entering your flock by following the biosecurity advice provided by DAFM to all poultry farmers in the following information leaflet: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/animalhealthwelfare/diseasecontrols/avianinfluenzabirdflu/poultryindustry/4670BioSecuritylr.pdf. In addition you should monitor your flock closely for signs of disease and report any suspicion of disease promptly to your private veterinary practitioner and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Contact details for DAFM offices are available at: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/contact/localoffices/. Alternatively the DAFM avian influenza hotline can be contacted on 0761064403.

Q18: I am a free range/backyard poultry farmer, when should I bring my birds indoors?

A: In the event that HPAI was confirmed in Ireland, all birds in premises located within 3km of the infected flock would be required, by law, to be kept indoors. In addition, if a risk assessment by DAFM determined that Ireland was at a high risk of introduction of HPAI, it may be required that all poultry are kept indoors. If you do not have housing for your birds, you will be expected to take steps to contain your birds and minimise contact between your birds and wild birds.

Q19: I am a poultry farmer, what do I do if I suspect AI in my flock?

A: It is a legal requirement to report a suspicion of AI to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). This can be done by contacting your local DAFM office during normal working hours at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/contact/localoffices/ or by calling the avian influenza hotline on 076 1064403. Having reported a suspicion on avian influenza you must not allow any birds, people, carcases, or anything else to be moved off the premises until such time as a Veterinary Inspector from DAFM has visited your premises and carried out an examination of the birds.

Q20: What is the current situation with AI in Europe?

A: Cases of AI in poultry and wild birds do occur in Europe, particular during periods of inward migration of wild birds from other parts of the world. DAFM monitors the occurrence of AI across the world, with particular emphasis on EU trading partners, on an ongoing basis in order to assess the risk of AI introduction into Ireland. For example when a case of AI is confirmed in a European country DAFM will carry out a tracing exercise to determine whether live poultry or poultry products have been imported from that country during the specific risk period and if so, these are investigated to ensure any risks are minimised. Further detail on the current situation with AI worldwide can be obtained from the following websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/animal-diseases/control-measures/avian-influenza_en

http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahid.php/Diseaseinformation/Diseasedistributionmap



 New Year's Day Gamecock Show scuppered by bird flu lockdown [Rossendale Free Press, 30 Dec 2016]

BY EMMA CURRY
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Russell Taylor with a black breasted dark grey cock

The historic Ramsbottom event has fallen foul of a temporary ban on poultry shows

An annual New Year’s Day poultry show which has been running for 172 years has been cancelled due to the threat of bird flu.

The Holcombe Ye Olde Gamecock Show, held every year on January 1 at the Royal British Legion in Ramsbottom, attracts hundreds of exhibitors and their birds from across the country.

But this weekend’s planned 2017 show will not run, after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suspended the licence for all poultry shows until January 6, following an outbreak of bird flu, also known as avian influenza, at a poultry farm near Louth in Lincolnshire, in which 2,500 birds died.

Russell Taylor, the honorary secretary of Holcombe Old English Gamefowl Club, which runs the show, said the event, which would have been in its 173rd year, will not be rescheduled in 2017.

He said: “It’s been running since the 1840s and it’s always been held on New Year’s Day.

“If we moved it to another date it would be difficult to arrange - it requires a lot of work and New Year’s Day is a day when we can all be there.

“Normally I am there from 8am in the morning as people arrive with their birds from all over the country, getting them checked in and registered.

“Then we have prizes awarded in different categories, for cocks, stags, hens and pullets.”

Russell, who has helped run the show since 1978, said that he would be sad not to see the show go ahead in 2017, but added that it will be back with a vengeance the following year.

He said: “It’s a shame not to have the show this year, but we fully support DEFRA’s decision - it has to be this way, the last thing anyone wants is bird flu. The show is an education, we get all sorts coming to the event, from people who own race horses, to travellers, to local people and families who come every year.

“It’s a special event, one of a kind, and we look forward to next year.”

The ban on gatherings applies to birds at higher risk of avian flu including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, and restricts events such as livestock fairs, auctions and bird shows.

In a statement by DEFRA Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “This ban on gatherings is a proportionate step that will help protect our farmers and bird keepers from seeing their flocks infected with this disease that can have a devastating impact on poultry.

“The risk to human health continues to be very low and there is no impact on the food chain, but infection at a gathering could lead to rapid dispersal of infection to kept birds in many locations.

“Our Avian Influenza Prevention Zone remains in place across the country and anyone who has regular contact with birds should stay alert for signs of disease, maintain the highest biosecurity standards and take all reasonable steps to minimise contact between poultry and wild birds.”

Shows across the country and further afield are also affected, as Keith Langley, who owns Bacup-based Star Bank Poultry, which hatches and raises show birds, explained.

He was due to travel to Holland to show birds at an event in the first week of January, but will now miss out, as has also been cancelled.

“It’s a big event, a lot of birds there,” he said. “It’s my hobby, so I’ll miss out on a holiday. We go to four or five shows a year and I was looking forward to it.”



 Farmers warned to be vigilant after case of bird flu found in Wexford [RTE, 30 Dec 2016]

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The Department said the finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly contagious H5N8 in wild birds in Britain in the last two weeks

Farmers are being warned to be vigilant after a case of bird flu was confirmed in a wild bird in Co Wexford.

The Department of Agriculture said the avian influenza subtype H5N8 was discovered in the wild bird in Co Wexford on Wednesday.

The wild duck, a wigeon, was found alive but unable to fly in Wexford Town.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported worldwide.

The Department said the finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly contagious H5N8 in wild birds in Britain in the last two weeks.

The discovery comes a week after the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, introduced regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requiring the compulsory housing of poultry as a result of the increased threat, said the Department in a statement.

"Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same highly pathogenic strain that is currently present in Britain and mainland Europe," said the statement.

"The results of these tests will not be available until the middle of next week," added the statement.

The Department said flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds, and to report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.



 Bird flu case confirmed in Republic of Ireland [BBC News, 30 Dec 2016]

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The avian influenza subtype H5N8 was discovered in a bird in County Wexford

A case of bird flu has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.
The avian influenza subtype H5N8 was discovered in a bird in County Wexford.

The wild duck, a wigeon, was found alive, but unable to fly in Wexford Town on Wednesday, Irish state broadcaster RTÉ reports.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, but no human infections with this virus have been reported.

The Department of Agriculture and Food said the finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly contagious H5N8 in wild birds in Britain.

The discovery comes a week after the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, introduced regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requiring the compulsory housing of poultry as a result of the increased threat, said the Department in a statement.

"Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same highly pathogenic strain that is currently present in Britain and mainland Europe.

"The results of these tests will not be available until the middle of next week,."

The Department said flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds, and to report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.



 China bird flu has not spread, no impact on poultry market: government [Reuters, 30 Dec 2016]


China's Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday the recent outbreaks of bird flu have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner without spreading and have not affected chicken products or prices.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, the government department said the situation in the world's second-largest poultry consumer was "stable".

The comments come as South Korea and neighboring countries battle outbreaks of various strains of the highly virulent flu.

China has culled more than 170,000 birds in four provinces since October and closed some live poultry markets after people and birds were infected by strains of the avian flu.

On Friday, the government said it has recorded ten cases of poultry being infected with the H5N6 strain this year compared with 11 last year.

"Each case has been handled timely and effectively without spreading. Experts believe the poultry bird flu situation will generally be stable despite some individual cases in some places," the statement said.

The ministry, together with local agriculture agencies, have monitored and investigated poultry markets and farms where infected people live, it said.

It has also searched for the source of the virus and conducted emergency handling for infected poultry, as well as urged farmers, butchers and traders to step up sterilization programs.

Human infections of the H7N9 strain of bird flu killed two people in China's Anhui province, the province's health authority said on Dec. 21. A total of 16 people are infected with the strain nationally.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)



 Bird flu warning [Cyprus Mail, 30 Dec 2016]


THE ministry of agriculture on Friday informed poultry farmers that due to a recent outbreak of bird flu they have to keep their birds in enclosed areas. The precaution is especially important for communities adjacent to wetlands.

Feeding and watering the animals outdoors is strictly forbidden and food should not be disposed of in a way which gives wild birds access to leftover food from domestic birds.

Anybody who notices increased morbidity and / or mortality of poultry which may be due to the disease should inform the district veterinary officer of the area or the nearest police station.

The deadly H5N8 flu strain has lately been discovered in birds across Europe and Asia, probably spread by wild species. The World Health Organisation found that while it was unlikely there would be human infection with the strain, it could not be excluded. It is, however, fatal for birds.



 Slovakia reports outbreak of severe bird flu: OIE [Fox News, 30 Dec 2016]

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(George Clerk)

PARIS – Slovakia has confirmed an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5 bird flu virus, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday, citing a report from the country's agriculture ministry.

The disease was detected among laying hens in a backyard in the capital Bratislava. It killed 64 out of 65 birds exposed to the virus, with the remaining animal slaughtered, the report posted by the OIE said.

The report did not indicate what strain of H5 bird flu was found.

Europe has seen the H5N8 strain of bird flu spread in recent weeks, while in Asia different strains of the disease have prompted the culling of millions of poultry birds.



 Shanghai and Hong Kong confirm new human cases of H7N9 bird flu [The Telegraph, 30 Dec 2016]

Shanghai and Hong Kong confirmed a new human case of infection by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza each on Friday.

Hong Kong confirmed its second case this season days after an elderly man died of the virus while Shanghai's health authority that a man diagnosed with the flu strain is being treated in a hospital, the state-owned news agency Xinhua reported.

A 70-year-old man, who had travelled to the neighbouring Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhongshan earlier in December, tested positive for the H7N9 strain of the virus, the Hong Kong government said in a statement.

It said that the man had come across mobile stalls selling live poultry in Zhongshan, but authorities said they were still investigating the source of the infection.

The patient has been hospitalised in stable condition. Those who have been in close contact with him have been put under medical surveillance although none have yet reported any symptoms.

Cases of bird flu were "expected to increase in winter based on its seasonal pattern", the government statement added.

Another elderly man, who had bought a chicken from a market in the neighbouring Guangdong province, died on Sunday, less than a week after testing positive for H7N9.

Shanghai, China's largest city with more than 24 million residents, has also already reported one human case of H7N9 infection this month.

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Officials wearing masks and protective suits pile dead chickens into black plastic bags in Hong Kong in 2014 CREDIT: AFP

Hong Kong is particularly alert to the spread of viruses.

Bird flu was first reported in humans in Hong Kong in 1997, when six people died, and subsequent outbreaks have killed hundreds more worldwide.

An outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) swept through the city in 2003, killing 299 people.

Bird flu scares in the past two years have seen mass culls of up 20,000 birds in the city.

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 25 till 29 Dec 2016




 North Korea issues guidelines to prevent spread of bird flu [North Korea News, 29 Dec 2016]


by JH Ahn
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Featured Image: Pixnio.com

State media remains silent on recently reported deaths from H7N9 avian flu in China, however

The North Korean government is increasingly concerned over the growing avian influenza (also known as bird flu) epidemic in East Asia, state-run media indicated on Thursday.

But preventive methods issued by media remain primitive, suggesting that an outbreak of H7N9 avian flu – which has a 40 percent fatality rate – in the country could have a disastrous effect.

“If one is infected with the bird flu… within one to two days, one will suffer from high fever and headache, followed by coughing and sputum,” the North Korean ruling party organ Rodong Sinmun said on Thursday.

“One would have to adapt many methods accordingly, including maintaining a high level of hygiene and working out to increase the resistance, as well as gargling with salt water and drinking garlic juice.”

Pyongyang so far has remained silent about whether the country is suffering from any form of bird flu outbreak.

But it is frequently updating readers on the status of the outbreak of the disease in South Korea, with 24 articles published this month with the keywords “South Korea” and “bird flu”.

South Korea has seen the worst spate bird flu cases in ten years, with some 26 million poultry being culled after the H5N6 strain was detected in public places. There are yet to be any reported cases of humans contracting the disease.

Apart from the preventive methods suggested above, the North Korean government did not provide any other information, such as how citizens should act or where to report to if they suspect they are infected with the disease.

Rodong did not report that the H7N9 avian flu is confirmed to have about 40 percent of fatality rate. So far at least 324 out of 808 cases of infection have died, a Hong Kong government report said.

The disease was reported to have killed two people in Anhui province, China, out of five that were infected.

Recent Chinese deaths or other cases of infection in North Korea’s neighbor have not been covered by Rodong or by any other North Korean media so far.

There have been no reports of the H7N9 avian flu infection in South Korea, or it being found in South Korean soil as yet.

North Korea most recently made an outbreak of bird flu public in April 2014, the third time it had done so after cases in February 2005 and April 2013.

In response Pyongyang organized a national emergency committee to take preventive measures against the epidemic, by blocking traffic, disinfection, and burying dead animals.

Pyongyang in 2005 asked for aid from Seoul, with South Korea providing disinfectant against the flu. Pyongyang did not ask for Seoul’s help in 2013 or 2014.

In October 2014, North Korea closed its borders for months in an effort to prevent the Ebola virus from entering the country. The quarantine lasted until the following year, preventing foreigners from participating in the Pyongyang Marathon.



 Bird Flu Jumps From a Cat to a Human for the First Time [Seeker, 29 Dec 2016]

A veterinarian at a New York animal shelter has tested positive for the H7N2 avian flu strain.
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Health officials in New York have confirmed that the H7N2 strain of bird flu virus has, for the first time, been transmitted from a cat to a human.

A veterinarian at the Animal Care Center's of NYC's Manhattan shelter whose work involved gathering respiratory specimens from sick cats was infected. The shelter was reportedly home to at least 45 cats infected with H7N2, the first jump of the flu strain from birds to cats.

The infected veterinarian's illness was brief and has resolved itself, according to NYC Health. More than 150 other ACC staff have been screened for H7N2, with no one else testing positive. Screenings of volunteers and those who adopted cats from the shelter have also not turned up any new cases.

NYC Health said more than 100 cats across city shelters have tested positive for H7N2, all of whom are expected to recover from the illness, which spreads quickly among cats. Until the infected cats can be quarantined and brought back to full health, the ACC sites have suspended cat adoptions.

Other ACC shelter animals, such as dogs and rabbits, have tested negative for the virus.

"Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets," said New York Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett in a press release. "We are contacting people who may have been exposed and offering testing as appropriate."

H7N2 is a flu virus known to circulate among birds. To date there have only been two other cases of humans becoming infected with the strain. A 2002 case in Virginia saw a worker infected while participating in culling activities centered around a poultry outbreak, while in 2003 an adult male in New York was infected. In both cases, the illnesses resolved themselves.

No cases of human-to-human infection have been reported.

Several strains of bird flu exist, including the one most deadly to humans, H5N1. Culls of suspect bird populations have typically been performed in response to outbreaks. Recently The Netherlands killed some 190,000 ducks, while South Korea has culled an estimated 700,000 birds to contain the H5N6 strain. France, for its part, has detected the H5N8 strain in wild ducks.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), H7N2 spreads among cats just as human flu spreads among people: through direct contact, via airborne droplets from coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated surfaces. It can jump to humans from cats when people contact the animal and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Airborne droplets from a cat's sneeze or cough could also reach a human's nose, mouth or eyes.

The agency says influenza in cats is not common and typically only produces a mild illness. Symptoms of a flu in cats include sneezing, coughing, fever, eye or nose discharge, lethargy and loss of appetite. Persistent coughing, lip smacking, runny nose, and fever have proven to be the hallmark symptoms displayed by the New York shelter cats that were infected with H7N2.

"No other H7N2 outbreaks or H7N2 infections in cats in the United States have been reported," the CDC reports. "Therefore, unless your cat recently came from an ACC animal shelter in New York City, the likelihood of your cat having H7N2 is extremely low."



 Three new cases of bird flu in Poland [EuroNews, 28 Dec 2016]

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Three new cases of bird flu have been reported at poultry farms in western and southern Poland.

The birds were immediately culled, and an area of 3 square kilometers was sealed off around each farm.

The H5N8 strain of avian flu is not considered harmful to humans but has been spreading across farms in Europe.

France, Germany, Bulgaria and Greece are among the countries to have reported outbreaks in recent weeks.



 About 16,000 turkeys culled after bird flu found on German farm [Reuters, 28 Dec 2016]


About 16,000 turkeys have been culled after bird flu of the high risk H5N8 strain was found on another German farm, authorities said on Wednesday.

The case was discovered on a farm in the Kleve area in the central German state of North Rhine Westfalia, the Kleve local government authority said.

Around 77,000 turkeys, chickens and ducks were also culled this week after the contagious H5N8 strain was found on four farms in a major poultry-producing region in the north German state of Lower Saxony.

The contagious H5N8 strain has been found in over 500 wild birds in Germany in recent weeks.

Outbreaks on farms have been relatively rare after the government introduced tough sanitary rules to prevent infection by wild birds including orders to keep poultry indoors in high-risk regions.

A series of European countries and Israel have found cases of H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks and some ordered poultry flocks be kept indoors to prevent the disease spreading.

France has widened high risk restrictions to the entire country after several cases of the H5N8 strain were detected.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Adrian Croft)



 Bird flu outbreak: Culling meets resistance, admin acts tough [The New Indian Express, 29 Dec 2016]


BHUBANESWAR: Culling in the H5N1-affected Keranga village continued for the second day but not without stiff opposition faced by the rapid reaction teams (RRTs) as a small section of the villagers suppressed their possession of the birds.

While 90 percent of the villagers have extended cooperation, it was the rest whose opposition posed a real challenge.

In one instance, a family even hurled chilly-laced water at the veterinary teams to scare them away. Police found out that the family was in possession of 30 birds.

Sources said, some villagers turned abusive did not allow the teams to search their premises prompting the administration to adopt a tough stand of conducting door-to-door search. With even women members blocking passage of the teams, search was getting tougher.

Secretary, Animal Resources Development Department Bishnupada Sethi said, given the sensitive nature of the flu and bio-security protocol, suppression of the birds will not be allowed at any cost. The local administration with police will search the houses to carry out the culling operation, he added.

The district administration also made it clear to the locals that compensation will not be provided to those who suppress information about the birds in their possession. Only those disclosing the figures voluntarily will be eligible for the compensation.

The local administration has urged the headman of the village to spread the word about the flu’s grave nature once.

“We have explained to them that in the event of human transmission, the fever would be difficult to control and villagers must cooperate in their own interest,” said sources.

By Thursday evening, the number of poultry birds culled stood at 667 and Rs 52,340 was paid towards compensation.

As many as five teams were pressed for culling while one team was engaged in mopping. For surveillance, three teams were deployed and one team was engaged for disinfection and sanitation. The administration is hopeful of completing the operation tomorrow.



 299 bird flu outbreaks confirmed in Europe since end of October [ Irish Farmers Journal, 28 Dec 2016]

By Amy Nora Fitzgibbon

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There has been a total of 299 outbreaks confirmed in poultry in 10 member states since the end of October 2016

There have been no further cases reported in the UK since the most recent cases in Scotland and England.

On 28 October 2016, Hungary reported the detection of the highly infectious H5N8 virus in a wild bird that had been found dead at Lake Fehér-to in the country. Since then, there has been a total of 299 outbreaks confirmed in poultry in 10 member states (see table below).

Four member states (Germany, France, The Netherlands and Finland) have reported outbreaks in other captive birds and these have occurred mainly in zoos and wildlife parks.

There have been no further cases of bird flu identified in the UK since the most recent cases confirmed in England and Scotland.

Greece is the latest country to report an outbreak, having discovered their first case of the H5N8 virus in a wild bird on 23 December.

Number of H5N8 confirmed outbreaks in member states in poultry between from 1 October 2016 to 23 December 2016
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Legislation

Following confirmation of the UK cases, the Irish Government began preparing legislation to coerce poultry farmers to house birds as the threat of bird flu intensified. The legislation was signed into force last Friday morning. This is the first time Ireland has taken this preventative measure. The regulations will be in place until further notice and will be reviewed 30 days from the date of introduction (23 December).

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, IFA poultry chair Nigel Renaghan said he welcomed the legislation.

“I have been saying publicly for a while now that it is the best interests of the sector to house birds to prevent the spread of this deadly disease to our shores,” he said.

Bird flu in Ireland

While deadly to birds, the H5N8 strain of bird flu poses a low health risk to humans. There has been no case of H5N8 detected in Ireland in either wild birds or poultry flocks to date.

The Department of Agriculture has advised that if poultry farmers or other bird owners have any concerns regarding the health of their birds they should consult their veterinary practitioner immediately for advice. Alternatively, they should contact their nearest Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine regional veterinary office or call the Avian Influenza Hotline on 076-106 4403.



 First Detection of Cat to Human Bird Flu [Financial Tribune, 28 Dec 2016]

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In what may be the first known transmission of bird flu from cats to humans, a veterinarian in the US has been infected with a strain of avian flu that spread among more than 100 cats at animal shelters.

The infected veterinarian was involved in obtaining respiratory specimens from sick cats. The illness is said to have been resolved after early detection, indianexpress.com.

More than 160 employees and volunteers, including several people who had similar exposure to sick cats, were screened by the Health Department and not found to have infection.

The New York City Department of Health said that its ongoing investigation of the outbreak of H7N2, a strain of influenza virus, among cats housed at Animal Care Center shelters confirms that the risk to humans remains low. The Health Department also contacted more than 80% of the people who adopted cats from the shelter and none is suspected of having H7N2.

This is the first reported case due to exposure to an infected cat.


Japan culling 90,000 more birds for avian flu [Times LIVE, 28 Dec 2016]

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Work begins at a poultry farm in Kawaminami, Miyazaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan to bury chickens culled after a highly virulent strain of bird flu was detected in this photo taken by Kyodo December 20, 2016. The photo was taken from a Kyodo News helicopter.
Image by: KYODO / REUTERS

Japan began killing some 90,000 chickens on Tuesday to contain another outbreak of a highly contagious strain of avian flu, officials said.

The new drive means more than a million farm birds will have been killed in seven mass culls this season as officials work to prevent the spread of the virulent H5 strain, which has been detected at several farms across the country.

Kumamoto prefecture in southwestern Japan started slaughtering some 93,000 farm birds Tuesday after confirming the H5 strain was found in the town of Nankan, officials said.

"The cull is expected to be completed within 24 hours," a prefectural official told AFP, adding nearly 400 officials had been dispatched to handle the operation.

Japan's first outbreak of avian flu this winter hit in November, which led to the killing of some 18,000 ducks in northern Aomori prefecture.

Several more outbreaks have since hit throughout Japan, from the northern main island of Hokkaido to Kyushu in the southwest.

When Tuesday's cull is complete, the total number of birds slaughtered due to the disease this winter will stand at some 1.07 million, the farm ministry said.



 Chinese city suspends poultry trade amid bird flu fears [South Chia Morning Post, 28 Dec 2016]

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Wuxi becomes second city in Jiangsu province to implement restrictions to safeguard public health

Wuxi and Suzhou lie on the shores of the 2,250-sq-km Taihu lake, a favourite stopover for migratory birds, and are just west of China’s financial capital of Shanghai where one case of human bird flu infection was reported last week.

Wuxi said it would strengthen efforts in monitoring the H7N9 strain and focus on disease control and prevention in places like poultry farms and migratory bird habitats.

Hong Kong man dies in first imported case of bird flu this winter

“Winter and spring are high seasons for the H7N9 strain. Wuxi city issued the notice to protect public health and maintain public health safety,” the microblog said.

Jiangsu’s provincial commission of health and family planning said there were no new cases of infection.

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“Local governments have already taken relevant measures, as you have noticed. There are no new cases,” an official at the authority said.

Meanwhile, Xinjiang region has culled more than 55,000 chickens and other poultry following an outbreak of a highly virulent bird flu that has infected 16,000 birds, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

Chickens are culled at a poultry farm in Nankan, Japan, on Tuesday. Photo: Kyodo

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The H5N6 strain of the virus was confirmed in Yining, a city of 500,000 people, and has killed 10,716 birds, the ministry said.

It is the fourth flu outbreak among poultry since October and brings the total cull since then to more than 170,000 birds. Flocks are particularly vulnerable to avian flu during the winter months and sporadic outbreaks are relatively common.

Number of bird flu cases in China rises to seven

The culling comes amid fears about the spread of avian flu across Asia, with South Korea battling its worst-ever outbreak and Japan and India also killing flocks.



 Now China's Wuxi to suspend poultry trade amid bird flu fears [Reuters, 28 Dec 2016]

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Chickens are seen at a poultry

The eastern Chinese city of Wuxi will suspend poultry trade from Thursday amid fears about bird flu, becoming the second city in Jiangsu province to halt live poultry markets, it said.

The city will close live poultry wholesale markets, restrict vehicles carrying live poultry from entering Wuxi markets and temporarily ban the entry of outside poultry, the city's information office said on Wednesday on its official microblog.

Suzhou, next to Wuxi, said on Sunday it would suspend the trade of live poultry in the interests of public health after neighboring provinces reported cases of human bird flu infections.

At least seven people in mainland China have been infected this winter with the H7N9 bird flu strain and two have died. Hong Kong reported one death on Christmas Day.

Wuxi and Suzhou lie on the shores of 2,250-sq-km Taihu lake, a favorite stopover for migratory birds, and are just west of China's financial capital of Shanghai where one case of human bird flu infection was reported last week.

Wuxi said it would strengthen efforts in monitoring the H7N9 strain and focus on disease control and prevention in places like poultry farms and migratory birds habitats.

"Winter and spring are high seasons for the H7N9 strain. Wuxi city issued the notice to protect public health and maintain public health safety," the microblog said.

Jiangsu's provincial commission of health and family planning told Reuters there were no new cases of infection.

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"Local governments have already taken relevant measures, as you have noticed. There are no new cases," an official at the authority said.

(Reporting by Cheng Fang, Ryan Woo and Hallie Gu; Editing by Nick Macfie)



 7th bird flu case at Kumamoto farm [The Japan News, 28 Dec 2016]

Jiji Press

KUMAMOTO (Jiji Press) — An outbreak of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza has been confirmed at a poultry farm in Nankan in Kumamoto Prefecture, the prefectural government said Tuesday.

Authorities will cull about 107,000 chickens raised at the farm. This is the seventh bird flu case at a Japanese farm this winter, following the six cases in Niigata, Aomori, Hokkaido and Miyazaki prefectures.

About 50 chickens were found dead at the Nankan farm Monday afternoon, according to Kumamoto officials. Genetic tests were conducted after simple tests found five dead chickens positive for bird flu.

Transfers of chickens and eggs are restricted in areas near the farm. Vehicle disinfection measures have been introduced on main roads leading to the facility.

If it is judged that the flu will not spread, the restrictions on chicken and egg transfers will be lifted in an area 3-10 kilometers from the farm as early as 10 days after the culling and the disinfection at the farm.

The restrictions covering the 3-kilometer radius from the farm will be removed 11 days later at the earliest.

The agriculture ministry and other sources said there has been no report of human bird flu infection through the consumption of poultry meat or eggs in Japan.Speech



 Market visitor dies of bird flu [The Standard, 28 Dec 2016]


A 75-year-old man who caught H7N9 bird flu after visiting a wet market in Guangdong died on Christmas Day, the Centre for Health Protection said yesterday.

The man, who had a chronic illness, visited Changping, Dongguan, late last month where he bought dressed chicken. Then he began coughing, with shortness of breath, runny nose and chest discomfort. He was admitted to North District Hospital when he returned to Hong Kong on December 9.

On December 17, he developed fever and was confirmed positive for the flu strain two days later, becoming the first such patient this winter.

His condition deteriorated last Wednesday and he died on Christmas Day.

Earlier, 74 close contacts and 151 other contacts were identified. Two health-care workers and an inpatient at the hospital tested negative for the bird flu virus.

Separately, a six-year-old boy developed serious flu complications and is in a critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit of Tuen Mun Hospital.

His mother accused doctors of delaying the prescription of Tamiflu as he was given the pill five hours after he was admitted to the hospital.

She told Chinese media her boy has been diagnosed with encephalitis.

"Why didn't the hospital prescribe Tamiflu five hours earlier? Why didn't they call in experts right at the beginning? They underestimated his condition when he was admitted to the hospital," the mother said.

A spokesman for the hospital said the boy visited the casualty ward at about 4.30am last Thursday with symptoms of high fever, coughing and vomiting.

The boy received a brain scan at about 5am and his condition was analyzed by specialists in pediatric and emergency medicine.

He was prescribed antibiotics and fever medication and transferred to the isolation ward.

Three hours later, his condition deteriorated. He was then given Tamiflu and test results came out positive for influenza A virus.

The spokesman stressed that the team of pediatricians, including neurologists, have been keeping close watch on the boy, providing appropriate treatment.

Latest data showed that the flu activity between December 11 and 17 was similar to the previous week.

But demand for public emergency medical services remained high.

There were 5,824 accident and emergency unit first attendances and an average inpatient-occupancy rate of 101 percent on Boxing Day.

Ten hospitals had a 100 percent rate, with the Prince of Wales Hospital at 118 percent, followed by United Christian Hospital at 111 percent and Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 106 percent.




 Gloomy Start to Year of Rooster as Bird Flu Hits South Korea [Voice of America, 27 Dec 2016]

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FILE - Health officials in protective suites arrive at a poultry farm where the bird flu virus was found in Jeongeup, South Korea, April 8, 2008.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA —
The year of the rooster looks set for a gloomy start. Egg prices are soaring and new year's festivals are being canceled as South Korea fights its worst bird flu outbreak in a decade.

South Korea's government said Tuesday that about 26 million head of poultry will be culled by Wednesday, including about one-third of the country's egg-laying hens, after the H5N6 strain of avian influenza was found in farms and parks.

The latest outbreak, first reported on Nov. 17, is the worst in South Korea among six since 2003. The highly contagious influenza has spread to all provinces including a major park in south of Seoul and a scenic wetland area in the south. No human cases have been reported.

The bird flu and the subsequent slaughters have reduced supplies: As of Friday, egg prices paid by wholesalers had almost doubled from a year earlier while prices paid by consumers jumped 30 percent.

The government plans to subsidize shipping fees and temporarily lift tariffs on imported eggs to ease shortages. Officials said the government might buy eggs from overseas if prices continue to rise.

It all spells an inauspicious start to the year of the rooster, or chicken, according to the Asian zodiac.

One of the most popular end-of-year activities in South Korea is to climb a mountain or visit the seashore to watch the last sunset of the year or the first sunrise of the new year.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people gather in the eastern county of Ulju in the city of Ulsan to watch the sunrise from a seaside park. That event will not be held this weekend, the county said, one of many festivities cancelled to minimize the risk of the flu spreading.



 New York officials report the first ever case of bird flu spread from cat to human [Science Alert, 27 Dec 2016]

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The virus is adapting to new hosts.

One person has been infected with a rare form of bird flu after catching the virus from a shelter cat in New York City.

According to the NYC Department of Health, this is the first reported case of a human contracting H7N2 - a strain of influenza A virus - due to exposure from an infected cat. While the risk to humans is extremely low, officials advise that local cat owners be on the look-out for symptoms.

"Every time a virus adapts in a new animal, like a bird to a cat, we get concerned about the health of the cats and the humans who care for those cats," Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control at the NYC Department of Health, told NPR.

The virus has infected at least 45 cats in a Manhattan animal shelter, and this increased exposure is how one of the shelter's veterinarians caught the disease.

Since last week, more than 100 cats have tested positive for H7N2 across all NYC shelters, and while the virus isn't showing signs of being easily transmitted from cats to humans, it appears to spread quickly from cat to cat.

This is not only the first time we've seen H7N2 jump from cat to human, it's also the first time we've seen it jump from bird to cat.

But the good news is this influenza A subtype is not a particularly virulent strain - the vet only experienced mild symptoms over a short period of time, and has since fully recovered.

Of the 350 people who have been screened - those working in the Manhattan shelter and those who have recently adopted cats from it - this is the only confirmed case.

The Health Department says the vet's risk of infection was particularly high due to prolonged exposure to respiratory secretions of the sick cats.

The cat that most likely introduced the virus to the Manhattan shelter has reportedly been identified, but at this stage, it's not clear how it ended up getting infected itself.

The cat was already old and frail at the time of infection, and the virus had become so severe, it had to be put down. But the remaining cats are expected to make a full recovery.

Before now, there have been two documented cases of humans being infected by H7N2 in the United States - one person monitoring an outbreak of the virus in turkeys and chickens in 2002 became infected, and there was another case from an unknown source in 2003.

This is the first reported case in humans due to exposure to an infected cat, but there have been no documented cases of human-to-human transmission, the NYC Health Department reports.

Officials say the risk of your cat being infected by H7N2 is extremely low - particularly outside New York City - as is the chance of a person catching the virus from an infected cat, so there's no need for anyone to abandon their pets in a panic.

But if you are concerned, the signs to watch out for in your cat include sneezing, coughing, fever, loss of appetite, and discharge from the nose or eyes.

To keep yourself extra safe from infection, the NYC Health Department advises:

"[D]o not allow your sick animal to kiss or lick your face, and it is advisable not to cuddle with your cat if it has a flu-like illness. These precautions are even more important for persons with compromised immune systems, such as those who are being treated for cancer, or who have other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or kidney disease."

Testing has been done on dogs and rabbits in New York shelters, and all results have been negative for H7N2.

Health officials are continuing their investigation to ensure that no human cases have gone undetected, and researchers will now be looking into how the strain adapted to its new hosts.

"Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets," said Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett.

"We are contacting people who may have been exposed and offering testing as appropriate."



 Kumamoto finishes culling 93,000 chickens at scene of latest bird flu outbreak [The Japan Times, 27 Dec 2016]

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A member of the Self-Defense Forces helps with a chicken cull at a poultry farm in Nankan, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Tuesday. | GROUND SELF-DEFENSE FORCE / VIA KYODO

KUMAMOTO – The Kumamoto Prefectural Government finished culling around 93,000 chickens at a poultry farm Wednesday after tests confirmed Japan’s latest bird flu outbreak.

The farm in the town of Nankan reported to health authorities on Monday afternoon that a group of some 50 chickens was found dead there. Five of the carcasses and two live chickens from the farm tested positive for bird flu in a preliminary examination.

In the culling that began early Tuesday morning, as many as 450 personnel, including members of the Self-Defense Forces, were involved at one point.

As required by law, the prefectural government conducted on-site inspections at six farms within 3 km of the affected farm. It also contacted all other poultry farms in Kumamoto but did not find any further suspected flu infections.

The prefectural government nonetheless restricted the transfer of 147,000 birds and their eggs at farms within 3 km of the outbreak.

Nineteen more farms located outside the 3-km limit but within 10 km of the affected farm have been prohibited from taking their 960,000 birds outside the ring. One of the farms is in neighboring Fukuoka Prefecture.

A slew of bird flu outbreaks have been reported since last month. Authorities in Hokkaido, Aomori, Niigata and Miyazaki prefectures have culled livestock to contain the disease.

Kumamoto Prefecture experienced a bird flu outbreak in April 2014, and 112,000 chickens were culled at a farm in the town of Taragi.



 Germany culling some 77,000 poultry as bird flu found on farms [Reuters, 27 Dec 2016]

The culling of about 77,000 turkeys, chickens and ducks is underway after bird flu of the highly contagious H5N8 strain was found on farms in a major poultry production region in the north German state of Lower Saxony, authorities said on Tuesday.

On three farms where H5N8 was found and three others which had contact with them the culling of 55,000 birds was started over the Christmas weekend and should be completed on Tuesday, the Lower Saxony agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Another case of H5N8 bird flu was confirmed on a fourth farm in the state's Oldenburg region on Tuesday and around 22,000 turkeys there will also be culled, the Lower Saxony ministry added later.

A 72 hour standstill order has been issued banning the sale and transport of poultry from the latest areas involved, the ministry said.

The contagious H5N8 strain has been found in more than 500 wild birds in Germany in recent weeks. Outbreaks on farms have been rare after the government introduced tough sanitary rules to prevent infection by wild birds, including orders to keep poultry indoors in high-risk regions.

Several European countries and Israel have found cases of H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks and some ordered poultry flocks be kept indoors to prevent the disease spreading. France has widened high-risk restrictions to the entire country after the detection of several cases of the H5N8 strain.

South Korea has mobilized its armed forces to help in its biggest-ever poultry cull as the spread of a highly contagious strain bird flu continued, with another 1.6 million birds ordered to be destroyed in affected areas.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)



 New bird flu vigilance plea issued in Cumbria [News & Star, 27 Dec 2016]

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Poultry keepers are being urged to stay vigilant as a bird flu victim was found close to Cumbria.

Three wild birds in Scotland and England have tested positive for a dangerous strain of bird flu.

A dead wild peregrine falcon in Dumfries and Galloway and two dead wild wigeons from Somerset and Leicestershire were all confirmed as having H5N8 avian influenza, officials said on Friday.

The latest cases came a day after a dead wild duck in Wales was found to have the same dangerous strain of the disease, a highly-pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu that was found in a turkey farm in Lincolnshire and has been circulating in Europe.

David Brass, of The Lakes Free Range Egg Company at Stainton, said the peregrine falcon must have eaten the wrong breakfast.

He said: “Bird flu is endemic in the UK now in wildfowl. There's nothing more we can do, our birds are all in. We just have to make sure we have got the absolute best bio-security we can.”

A temporary ban on events involving gatherings of poultry including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese such as auctions and livestock fairs has been imposed across England, Scotland and Wales to prevent spread of the disease.

A prevention zone is also in place, which requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep them inside or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them, from wild birds.

The restrictions are temporary and are supposed to end on Thursday, January 5, though Mr Brass thinks they could be extended. He said it was much harder keeping the birds inside because they were bored.

Mr Brass' chickens are not impressed by being kept indoors but are gradually adjusting with the help of distracting 'toys' like tinsel in a bottle which they can peck at.

Alistair Mackintosh, the NFU's Cumbrian council delegate, said:“To be honest I think it's important we take this seriously and everybody regardless of size of their flock needs to take every precaution to protect their flock.

“We're taking every precaution that we can. Touch wood it will stay away from here.”

Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: "This case of H5N8 in a falcon in Dumfries and Galloway confirms that avian influenza is present in wild birds in Scotland.

"This underlines the crucial importance of bird keepers and members of the public remaining vigilant for signs of disease in domestic or wild birds."

People are encouraged to report dead wild birds like swans, geese, ducks and gulls or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location to the Animal and Plant Health Agency helpline on 0300 303 8268.



 Concerns rise over human bird flu infections [The Korea Herald, 27 Dec 2016]

by Kim Da-sol

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Researchers collect bird flu-infected poultry at a farm located in Incheon on Monday. (Yonhap)

With at least 70,000 people involved in the mass culling of poultry at bird flu-hit areas recently, concerns of human infections of the virus are rising due to the workers‘ exposure, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

“Since workers participating in culling and burying infected poultry in rural areas are directly exposed to the virus, they carry a higher likelihood of getting infected,” said main opposition Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Kim Hyun-kwon, adding the government should come up with stricter quarantine measures.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, at least 3,400 public officials and 19,000 civilians were put into work to cull and bury infected poultry at 42 sites across the nation, over the past 40 days since the virus was first detected in South Chungcheong Province.

Researchers collect bird flu-infected poultry at a farm located in Incheon on Monday. (Yonhap)
There have been no reports of infections through people or livestock thus far.

While local governments are mainly responsible for dispatching people to work at infected poultry farms, military officials said Tuesday they have been sending the Army’s Chemical Forces to affected areas in South Gyeongsang Province and North Jeolla Province since last week, due to a shortage of workers.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that the government classified some 13,000 workers at the disease-hit sites as a high-risk group to receive state monitoring, and helped them get vaccinations.

Quarantine authorities added that they also provided workers antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and protective clothing to guard against the outbreak spreading to people.

But the highly pathogenic bird flu is spreading at an unprecedented pace across the country, having already swept through neighboring countries earlier this year, killing over 20 people.

In China, there have been 16 H5N6 human infections since 2014, resulting in the deaths of 10 of those infected.

So far, authorities said 26 people among the high-risk group reported flu-like symptoms, but none of them have been confirmed to have the virus.

The highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of bird flu is currently being examined at the National Institute of Environmental Research to find out if the outbreak can spread to people, authorities added.

The current outbreak is already worse than that in 2014, when 13.96 million fowls were put down over six months.

A record number of 10 million chickens, ducks and quails have been culled throughout the nation so far, with an additional 3.78 million in waiting.



 Centre asks Odisha to take steps to check spread of bird flu [The Indian Express, 27 Dec 2016]


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In addition to culling, the Odisha government has been asked to carry out surveillance over a radius of 10 km from the epicentre.

"State was intimated of the positive results on December 25. The state was requested to carry out the control and containment operations," an official statement said.Kore

The Centre has directed the Odisha government to take immediate steps to control and contain spread of bird flu virus from the epicentre of Keranga village which is about 35 km from Bhubaneswar. The samples of some dead crows and chicken in Keranga village have been tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus.

“State was intimated of the positive results on December 25. The state was requested to carry out the control and containment operations,” an official statement said. The state has been asked to complete the necessary actions immediately. It has asked to cull birds and dispose of dead birds and infected materials as well as restrict access to the infected premises, it added.

In addition to culling, the Odisha government has been asked to carry out surveillance over a radius of 10 km from the epicentre. It has also been told to intensify the surveillance to monitor further spread of infection.



 Deadly strain of bird flu confirmed in Odisha [India Today, 27 Dec 2016]

by Arindam De Manogya Loiwal

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Earlier samples of suspected avian flu were send to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, which confirmed the strain after due screening and testing.

Centre has confirmed the presence of the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu in in village Keranga of District Khordha of Odisha. Earlier samples of suspected avian flu were send to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, which confirmed the strain after due screening and testing.

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fishries, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has informed the Odisha government about the findings and have requested the state government to carry out control and containment operations. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India was also apprised formally.

The culling procedure is expected to start immediately. Besides there would be heightened surveillance over a 10 kilometre radius from the outbreak area and statewise surveillance will be intensified to monitor the further spread of infections, if any.

Some previous avian flu outbreaks have been attributed to the H5N1 strain. The first outbreak was in the Nandurbar district of Maharashtra in 2006. In January 2008, poultry in at least 11 districts in West Bengal were infected by the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus. The same deadly strain struck again in 2014 in Kerala.

H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus, bird flu as we popularly know it can get transmitted between different species, including humans. Numbers indicate that between 2003 and 2014, some 650 cases, including 386 deaths, had been reported and attributed to the H5N1 strain of avian flu in as many as 17 countries.



 Hong Kong man dies in first imported case of bird flu this winter [South China Morning Post, 27 Dec 2016]

He is suspected to have caught the virus during a visit to Changping in Guangdong province

A 75-year-old man in the first imported case of bird flu this winter has died after being admitted to hospital following a visit to mainland China, health authorities confirmed.

The Hongkonger, who went to Changping in Guangdong province in late November, passed away at North District Hospital in Sheung Shui, New Territories on Christmas Day, according to a statement from the Centre for Health Protection.

The exact cause of death is not known, but the man was known to have had other underlying chronic illnesses.

He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia when he was admitted to the hospital on December 9.

A later test confirmed that he was positive for the H7N9 virus, and Hong Kong health officials last week declared the incident as the first imported case of bird flu this winter.

Health minister Dr Ko Wing-man said last Wednesday the man admitted he visited a mainland wet market and bought slaughtered chickens. He initially denied coming into any recent contact with poultry or visiting a wet market.

The patient had been isolated and listed as being in a serious condition.

At least 51 people who had close contact with him, including those who lived with him and health care workers, were placed under medical surveillance.

Overall, this is the 17th imported H7N9 case confirmed in Hong Kong.

Mainland health authorities have reported 783 human cases of H7N9 bird flu since 2013 when the first major outbreak struck.

This month alone, mainland authorities reported two deaths among seven cases of H7N9 infection, according to state media.

World Health Organisation figures show that the virus has resulted in 322 deaths globally.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association’s advisory committee on communicable diseases, said the elderly and those with chronic illnesses were especially vulnerable to the H7N9 strain.

“H7N9 is fatal – those who have chronic illnesses are likely to be unable to fight the infection as their organs are also failing,” Leung said.

Leung added that the mortality rate for the strain was about 30 to 40 per cent.

He explained that the H7N9 virus was harder to detect compared to the H5N1 strain.

“The H5N1 strain is easily detected as many chickens die as a result, but the H7N9 virus in chickens does not show any symptoms,” Leung said.

He added that the best prevention method at the moment is for the public to stay away from poultry farms.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:
Victim of bird flu dies on returning from Guangdong



 Hong Kong's first bird flu patient this winter dies [Reuters, 27 Dec 2016]


An elderly Hong Kong man died on Christmas Day from bird flu, the government said on Tuesday, the first human infection in the city this winter.

The Centre for Health Protection of the Health Department said the 75-year-old man, who was diagnosed with the H7N9 strain, died on Sunday.

Last week, Hong Kong confirmed the first human bird flu infection for this season after the man, who had recently traveled to China, was diagnosed with H7N9.

South Korea and Japan ordered further culls early last week to contain outbreaks of a different strain of bird flu, having already killed tens of millions of birds in the past month.

At least seven people in China have been infected with H7N9 this winter and two have died.

Hong Kong, a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has been battling sporadic cases of avian influenza in humans since the first outbreak killed six people in the same year.

(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Nick Macfie)



 Fearing Bird Flu, China Culls 55,000 Chickens [Voice of America, 27 Dec 2016]

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FILE - Health officers cull poultry at a wholesale market in Hong Kong after a spot check revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus, June 7, 2016. China's Xinjiang region has experienced an outbreak of the virus.

BEIJING —
China's Xinjiang region has culled more than 55,000 chickens and other poultry following an outbreak of a highly virulent bird flu that has infected 16,000 birds, the Ministry of Agriculture said Tuesday.

The H5N6 strain of the virus was confirmed in Yining, a city of 500,000 people, and has killed 10,716 birds, the ministry said.

The fourth flu outbreak among poultry since October, it brings the total cull since then to more than 170,000 birds. Flocks are particularly vulnerable to avian flu during the winter months and sporadic outbreaks are relatively common.

The culling comes amid fears about the spread of avian flu across Asia, with South Korea battling its worst outbreak and Japan and India also killing flocks. South Korea is currently trying to contain the H5N6 strain, which has caused 10 human deaths in China since April 2014.

At least seven people in China have been infected this winter with the H7N9 bird flu strain and two have died.

Vitamins and vaccines

To bolster their defense against infection, Chinese poultry farmers have scrambled to give their chickens more vitamins and vaccines in recent weeks.

Beijing has banned poultry imports from more than 60 countries and said any countries with highly pathogenic cases will automatically go onto that list. Regional authorities in three provinces have curbed live poultry trading in some cities to prevent the spread of the disease.

The last major bird flu outbreak in China in 2013 killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agriculture sector.

In a statement on its website on Sunday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the issue warrants greater attention this year, because the disease is developing earlier than in previous years, and cases are increasing more quickly in some districts.

Delegations from Japan, South Korea and China gathered in Beijing earlier this month for a symposium on preventing and controlling bird flu and other diseases in East Asia, the agriculture ministry's website showed.



 South Korea mobilises army to fight bird flu spread [The New Paper, 27 Dec 2016]


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Like in South Korea, quarantine officials in Japan are also fighting to curb the spread of bird flu. PHOTO: REUTERS

In the country's biggest poultry cull to curb spread of bird flu, government orders another 1.6 million birds to be destroyed in 24 hours

SEOUL: South Korea yesterday mobilised its armed forces to play an active part in its biggest poultry cull as the spread of a highly contagious strain of bird flu continued, ordering another 1.6 million birds be destroyed in affected areas within 24 hours.

The latest cull, announced in a statement by the local Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, brings the total number of birds to be destroyed to 26 million in an outbreak first confirmed on Nov 18.

Quarantine and restrictions were implemented after initial cases, but the flu has spread.

South Korea's military will now actively help destroy birds and disinfect farms to accelerate the cull, the ministry said.

Culls announced previously took two to three days to complete because of a lack of manpower, it said.

The rapid spread of the H5N6 strain of the virus has caused Seoul to raise its bird flu alert to the highest level possible for the first time.

The army's mobilisation comes amid fears of a regional epidemic, with Japan and China also battling to curb the spread of bird flu.

More than 78 per cent of South Korea's culled birds are egg-laying hens, according to the ministry statement.

With egg supplies tightening, the ministry said it would temporarily lift tariffs for imported eggs and also finance some shipping fees to ease the shortage.

South Korea has yet to detect any human infection since Nov 18, unlike China. Last week, China confirmed its first two human deaths this winter from the H7N9 bird flu strain.

The last major bird flu outbreak in China occurred from late 2013 to early 2014, killing 36 people. - REUTERS



 People might be capable of catching bird flu from their cats [Mother Nature Netword, 26 Dec 2016]

by BRYAN NELSON

Bird flu has been documented jumping from birds to cats to humans in New York City.

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Could our pets transmit bird flu to us? (Photo: David Corby/Wiki Commons)

First it's discovered that cats might be capable of transmitting Toxoplasma gondii, a mind-controlling parasite that they catch from mice, to their human caretakers. Now it appears that our feline friends might also be vectors for bird flu, reports MedicalXpress.

A New York City veterinarian appears to have been infected with H7N2, a known strain of bird flu, that could be directly linked to an outbreak among cats housed at animal shelters throughout the city. It's only the third known case of H7N2 infection ever recorded in humans in the United States, but if cats prove to be a vector for the disease it could be cause for greater concern.

"Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets," said Dr. Mary Bassett, city Health Commissioner. "We are contacting people who may have been exposed and offering testing as appropriate."

The good news is that no other cases have yet been discovered. More than 80 percent of people who adopted cats from the animal shelter have already been checked, as well as more than 160 employees and volunteers from shelters that housed sick cats. So far the disease has been worse for the cats; one has died from the outbreak while over 100 have gotten sick.

If your cat is acting ill, it might be best to keep it quarantined, at least until the process of disease transmission can be better understood. The city's health department is urging people to avoid close facial contact and nuzzling with their sick pets. And unless you or your cat are in a particularly dire state, it is probably also best to stay home rather than flood vet treatment centers with new patients.



 Iran culls birds after avian flu outbreak [Phys. Org, 26 Dec 2016]


Iran has killed hundreds of thousands of birds in recent weeks as avian flu spreads across seven provinces of the country, officials have reported.

More than 1,000 wild birds, mostly geese, have been found dead in the Mighan wetland in central Iran, the environmental protection organisation told state news agency IRNA on Monday.

IRNA said 63,000 chickens, along with 800,000 fertilised eggs and day-old chicks, were culled at a farm in Qazvin province in recent days after an outbreak of the deadly H1N8 and H1N5 strains of the disease.

That adds to the 725,000 birds destroyed since mid-November across the country following nine flu outbreaks, according to a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health released last week.

Licenses for bird shooting have been suspended due to fear of infection by migratory birds, and people have been advised not to buy game birds at local markets.

Despite a small number of human deaths in different countries over the years, the disease is mostly a risk to other birds, spreading rapidly and killing large numbers.

However, scientists have raised concerns that bird flu strains could mutate to be transmitted between humans.



 South Korea culls 26 million chickens to contain bird flu outbreak [Daily Sabah Asia Pacific, 26 Dec 2016]


645x344-bird-flu-in-south-korea-26-million-chickens-already-culled-1482764840408.jpg
Work begins at a poultry farm in Kawaminami, Miyazaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan to bury chickens culled. (REUTERS PHOTO)

Some 26 million chickens have had to be killed in South Korea, officials said, to help combat the country's most serious ever bird flu epidemic.

Another 1.6 million birds will have to be culled within a single day, the South Korean agricultural ministry said on Monday.

The authorities have asked the military for help disinfecting bird farms.

More than 78 per cent of the chickens being slaughtered are kept for producing eggs, according to the ministry.

The government is planning to reduce import tariffs and subsidize imports from foreign countries in an effort to battle an egg shortage.
Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

Farmers have in recent years increased cleaning, animal detention techniques and built roofs to cover hen pens to prevent infection from wild birds, among other steps, in an effort to stop the disease.

In the past two months, more than 110,000 birds have been killed following bird flu outbreaks, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. They did not lead to human infection.

The latest cases come as China and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, fuelling fears of a regional spread.



 H5N8 bird flu strain discovered in farms in Cloppenburg in Germany's Lower Saxony [Deutche Welle, 26 Dec 2016]


The deadly H5N8 flu strain has been discovered in birds across Europe, probably spread by wild species. Lower Saxony is a major center for poultry farming in Germany.

36915420_303.jpg Bird flu virus H5N8 has been discovered on two farms in Germany's
Lower Saxony, the state Ministry of Agriculture announced on Monday.

It ordered tens of thousands of turkeys be killed in the county of Cloppenburg, after the Friedrich Loeffler Institute identified the variant.

The discovery came after 10,000 turkeys were killed in Oldenburg district and 12,000 animals killed in the district of Vechta.

State agricultural minister Christian Meyer said it was unclear how the virus had entered the closed turkey sheds, but authorities were investigating.

The animals were to be gassed to death and their bodies incinerated to prevent the spread of the virus.

Lower Saxony is a major center for poultry farming in Germany.

In the district of Northeim, 18 chickens and six ducks were found to have the same strain.

BIRD FLU IN EUROPE
Testing for H5N8

A laboratory worker in North Rhine-Westphalia tests a goose suspected of having bird flu. The H5N8 strain of the virus is highly contagious among poultry. According to the WHO, transmission to humans cannot be ruled out, "although the likelihood is low, based on the limited information available to date." The current outbreak was first detected in Germany on November 8.

36481905_303-.jpg
BIRD FLU IN EUROPE
Testing for H5N8
A laboratory worker in North Rhine-Westphalia tests a goose suspected of having bird flu. The H5N8 strain of the virus is highly contagious among poultry. According to the WHO, transmission to humans cannot be ruled out, "although the likelihood is low, based on the limited information available to date." The current outbreak was first detected in Germany on November 8.

Over the past few months the virus has spread throughout Europe and Asia, probably carried by wild migratory birds. The World Health Organization found that while it was unlikely there would be human infection with the strain, it could not be excluded. It is, however, fatal for birds.

The strain had also been detected in wild birds in Lower Saxony, most recently in a dead silver gull in Hanover.

Thirteen other European countries have reported detections of the virus since October.
On Monday Greece reported finding the strain in a wild swan in the Evros river delta and on

Thursday Britain reported the discovery of a wild bird with the virus.
aw/jm (dpa, AFP)



 New York Veterinarian Catches Rare Bird Flu From Sick Cat [Tech Times, 26 Dec 2016]

cat--.jpg
A veterinarian working at an animal shelter in New York has contracted a rare form of bird flu. Officials said the vet may have gotten the infection from the respiratory secretions of sick cats being treated at the shelter. ( Andrew Burton, Getty Images )

Public health officials announced on Thursday, Dec. 22, that a veterinarian working at a New York animal shelter may have contracted a rare form of the bird flu virus while treating sick cats. If the case is confirmed, it will be first instance of cat-to-human transmission of the virus.

According to New York City's Health and Mental Hygiene Department, a rare strain of the flu virus was detected in at least 45 cats at an animal shelter in Manhattan.

Laboratory tests conducted at the University of Wisconsin revealed that the infection was caused by the H7N2 virus, which appears to have jumped from birds into cats.

Dr. Jay Varma from the New York City health department explained that they get very concerned whenever a virus adapts to a new carrier animal since there is a likelihood that the infection could be transmitted from the sick animal to the people that care for them.

Cat-To-Human Bird Flu Transmission

While cats have contracted the bird flu virus before, Thursday's announcement marks the first time when the H7N2 viral strain was transmitted from infected cats to humans.

Health officials believe the veterinarian may have gotten the virus from a frail, 12-year-old cat that was taken to the animal shelter. They suspect that it may have come in contact with a sick pigeon or another cat that already had the infection.

Varma said the cat developed mild illness at first, which eventually progressed to pneumonia.

The animal was later euthanized because the infection had become severe.

"It was the humane thing to do," Varma said.

Most of the other cats at the animal shelter that tested positive for the rare bird flu virus have only shown mild symptoms of the infections. The city health department said the animals are expected to recover from the illness and that the likelihood of further transmission is very low.

The vet was the only one that showed symptoms of the H7N2 infection out of the dozens of people screened.

The patient had been exposed to respiratory secretions from sick cats while working at the Manhattan shelter of the Animal Care Centers of NYC. Officials said the vet had since recovered from the mild illness.

The New York City health department said individuals who show flu-like symptoms are likely to have seasonal influenza or other respiratory-related infections commonly associated with winter. H7N2 and seasonal influenza both have similar symptoms and are treated using the same medications.

Both illnesses are particularly devastating to pregnant women and individuals with existing health problems or weakened immune systems.



 South Korea mobilizes army to speed up extended poultry cull in worst bird flu outbreak [Reuters, 25 Dec 2016]

South Korea.jpg
South Korean health officials bury chickens at a poultry farm where the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu virus broke out in Haenam, South Korea, November 17, 2016. Yonhap/via REUTERS/Files

South Korea on Monday mobilized armed forces to play an active part in its biggest-ever poultry cull as the spread of a highly contagious strain bird flu continued, ordering that another 1.6 million birds be destroyed in affected areas within 24 hours.

The latest cull, announced in a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, brings the total number of birds to be destroyed to 26 million in an outbreak first confirmed on Nov. 18. Quarantine and sanitary restrictions were implemented after the initial cases but the flu has spread.

Having previously stood guard at facilities affected by the outbreak, Korea's military will now actively help destroy birds and disinfect farms to accelerate the cull, the ministry said. Culls announced previously took two to three days to complete because of a lack of manpower, it said.

The rapid spread of the H5N6 strain of the virus has caused Seoul to raise its bird flu alert to the highest level possible for the first time. The army's mobilization comes amid fears of a regional epidemic across Northeast Asia, with Japan and China also battling to curb the spread of bird flu.

More than 78 percent of South Korea's culled birds are egg-laying hens, according to the ministry statement. With egg supplies tightening, the ministry said it would temporarily lift tariffs for imported eggs, and also finance some shipping fees to ease the shortage.

South Korea has yet to detect any human infection since Nov. 18, unlike China. Last week, China confirmed its first two human deaths this winter, from the H7N9 bird flu strain.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China occurred from late 2013 to early 2014, killing 36 people with more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

(Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)



 New York: First detection of bird flu spread from cat to human [The Indian Express, 25 Dec 2016]

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The infected veterinarian was involved in obtaining respiratory specimens from sick cats. The illness was mild, short-lived, and has resolved. (Source: Representative photo/ PTI file)

Since last week, more than 100 cats have tested positive for H7N2 across all NYC shelters.

In what may be the first known transmission of bird flu from cats to humans, a veterinarian in the US has been infected with a strain of avian flu that spread among more than 100 cats at animal shelters.

However, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) in the US said that its ongoing investigation of the outbreak of H7N2, a strain of influenza A virus, among cats housed at Animal Care Centres (ACC) shelters confirms that the risk to humans is low.

The infected veterinarian was involved in obtaining respiratory specimens from sick cats. The illness was mild, short-lived, and has resolved.

More than 160 employees and volunteers, including several people who had similar exposure to sick cats, were screened by the Health Department and not found to have infection. The Health

Department also contacted more than 80 per cent of the people who adopted cats from the shelter and none is suspected of having H7N2.

There have been two previous documented human cases of H7N2 infection in the US – one in a person managing an outbreak of the virus in turkeys and chickens in 2002 and the other with an unknown source in 2003.

Both of these patients also had mild illness and recovered. This is the first reported case due to exposure to an infected cat. There has been no documented human-to-human transmission.

“Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets,” said Health Commissioner Mary T Bassett.

Since last week, more than 100 cats have tested positive for H7N2 across all NYC shelters.

This was expected because the virus is highly contagious among cats. All of the newly infected cats are experiencing mild illness and have been separated from other animals in the shelters.

One cat admitted to the shelter with H7N2 infection died. ACC suspended adoptions of cats once the virus was discovered. The Health Department, working with ACC, has identified a location where the cats will be quarantined soon, which will allow ACC to resume full intake and adoption of cats.



 China's Suzhou city to halt live poultry trade over bird flu concerns [Daily Mail Online, 25 Dec 2016]


BEIJING, Dec 25 (Reuters) - A Chinese city said on Sunday it will suspend the trade of live poultry in the interests of public health after neighbouring provinces reported cases of human bird flu infections.

Suzhou, the second-biggest city in the eastern province of Jiangsu, will halt trading of live poultry at midnight (1600 GMT), the official People's Daily reported on its website.

Two people have died of the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China this winter, the first fatalities among at least seven infections.

In the past week, Hong Kong and Macau have also reported their first human bird flu infections for this season.

H7N9 had not been detected in either humans or animals in China until March 2013.
The city of Shanghai, about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Suzhou, reported last week that a man had been diagnosed with the H7N9 strain after travelling from Jiangsu.

The two deaths were in Anhui province, west of both Shanghai and Suzhou. Anhui has reported five human infections since Dec. 8.

Authorities in Anhui, which has a population of almost 60 million, have shut some livestock markets and stepped up sterilisation to prevent the virus spreading. "A few" chickens had been culled.

In Xiamen, a city in Fujian province also in the east, authorities halted poultry sales in one district on Thursday after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The H7N9 strain does not seem to transmit easily from person to person, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The danger with any such virus is that it mutates and acquires genetic changes that might increase its pandemic potential.

In China, the WHO confirmed two cases of an emerging strain believed to be a cross-species infection in the past two months.

A woman in Hunan province and another woman in Guangxi were admitted to hospital with the H5N6 strain, first reported in China in mid-2014.

In Guangdong, a traveller was caught carrying 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) of chicken and duck eggs that later tested positive for bird flu, the state-run China Economic News reported on its website on Sunday.

The eggs found in the luggage of the Vietnamese traveller at Guangzhou airport on Dec. 14 tested positive for the H5 strain, according to the report, which cited the provincial quarantine bureau.

The most well-known strain of avian influenza is the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype, which has killed hundreds of people globally since its first human infection about two decades ago in Hong Kong.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector. (Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel)



 China's Suzhou city to halt live poultry trade on bird flu concerns [Reuters, 25 Dec 2016]


A Chinese city said on Sunday it will suspend trade of live poultry in the interests of public health after neighbouring provinces reported cases of human bird flu infections.

Suzhou, the second-biggest city in the eastern province of Jiangsu, will halt trading of live poultry as of midnight, the official People's Daily reported on its website.

Two people have died of the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China this winter, the first fatalities among at least seven infections.

In the past week, Hong Kong and Macau have also reported their first human bird flu infections for this season.

H7N9 had not been detected in either humans or animals in China until March 2013.

The city of Shanghai, about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Suzhou, reported last week that a man had been diagnosed with the H7N9 strain after travelling from Jiangsu.

The two deaths were in Anhui province, west of both Shanghai and Suzhou. Anhui has reported five human infections since Dec. 8.

Authorities in Anhui, which has a population of almost 60 million, have shut some livestock markets and stepped up sterilisation to prevent the virus spreading. "A few" chickens had been culled.

In Xiamen, a city in Fujian province also in the east, authorities halted poultry sales on Thursday in one district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The H7N9 strain does not seem to transmit easily from person to person, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, according to the World Health Organization.

The danger with any such virus is that it mutates and acquires genetic changes that might increase its pandemic potential.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

(The story corrects typographical error in paragraph 3)

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel)



 Bird flu forces cull of 22 million poultry [Al Jazeera, 25 Dec 2016]

More than 22.5 million poultry killed amid the worst bird flu epidemic in farms across South Korea in recent times.

b03e6b9ea8a64cef85b717d3a1617b96_18.jpg
South Korea's current outbreak is caused by the H5N6 strain of bird flu [EPA]

South Korean authorities have culled more than 22.5 million poultry this winter, according to an official, as part of intense efforts to contain its worst bird flu epidemic in recent history that has affected farms across the country.

The total number slaughtered since November 18 accounts for about 15 percent of the country's poultry stock. The first outbreak was reported at a chicken farm in Haenam, about 420km south of the capital Seoul.

Authorities also plan to kill an additional 2.97 million chickens and ducks across the country in coming days, the country's Yonhap News Agency reported on Saturday.

"Korea has suffered from several bird flu outbreaks since 2003. I can tell you this year is the worst year ever," said Oh Se-ul, chairman of the Korea Poultry Association.

The outbreak - the first in nearly seven months - has been caused by the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of bird flu, a new type of virus that was first detected in South Korea.

Previous cases

In 2014 South Korea had culled 14 million birds amid a bird flu outbreak. As of the end of March this year, the country had killed more than 156 million chickens and more than 9.5 million ducks, according to government data.

Because most of the birds culled since last month are egg-laying hens, the consequential shortage in eggs has caused their prices to rise sharply.

In South Korea, the average retail price for 30 eggs has risen nearly 25 percent to $5.68 since November 18 - the highest in more than three years, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.

According to data from the institution, it is the highest month-on-month increase in egg prices in nearly a decade.

Besides the price increases, some stores are restricting egg purchases.

To ease the shortage, South Korea's agriculture ministry is seeking to import egg-laying chickens and eggs from the US, Spain and New Zealand.

Analysts say the egg shortage is expected to last at least one year as it could take up to two years for egg and poultry industry to raise baby chickens and rebuild flocks.

Yoon Se-young, a farmer in Seoul, says he is worried because the government has not yet announced any plans to compensate farmers who had to cull their poultry.

"It has been a month since I had to kill all my chickens and bury them," he said. "However, I have not heard of any clear explanation on how the government will compensate for my loss."

Jeong In-hwa, a member of South Korea's Parliamentary Agriculture Committee, says that with the issue of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment taking the spotlight, the media has failed to highlight the bird flu epidemic.

“As the impeachment becomes the most important national issue, protesters at candlelight rallies are dominating the headlines," he said. "Because of that, the avian flu isn't getting much attention."

Japan and China

Japan and China have also taken serious measures to control the bird flu outbreak that spread across northeast Asia.

Japan launched a new chicken cull on a southern island, days after gassing hundreds of thousands of birds about 2,400km to the north.

Tackling Japan's sixth outbreak since end-November, Kyushu authorities said they will gas just over 120,000 chickens after the H5 virus was detected on a farm.

The outbreak in Japan's Miyazaki prefecture follows the gassing of more than 200,000 chickens at a farm in the northern island of Hokkaido last weekend and brings the country's cull this season to nearly a million chickens and ducks.

The cases in Japan - outbreaks before Miyazaki were all confirmed as H5N6 bird flu - are the first in nearly two years, with the bird cull now standing at its highest in six years.

In China, chickens are being fed more vitamins and vaccines while farmers also ramp up henhouse sterilisation in an effort to protect their flocks.

As part of its protection drive, China now has bans in place on poultry imports from more than 60 countries, including South Korea and Japan as well as parts of Europe now also experiencing a bird flu outbreak.

The last major outbreak in mainland China in 2013 killed 36 people and caused about $6.5bn in losses to the agriculture sector.

According to the website of China's agriculture ministry, delegations from Japan, South Korea and China gathered in Beijing last week for a symposium on preventing and controlling bird flu and other diseases in East Asia.

South Korea's current outbreak is caused by the H5N6 strain of bird flu [EPA]

Zoonotic Bird Flu News - from 22 till 24 Dec 2016



 Veterinarian sickened by rare strain of bird flu spreading among NYC shelter cats [Local Source-New York, 24 Dec 2016]

by SAMANTHA TATA AND JAMES FORD

MANHATTAN — A veterinarian who worked closely with sick cats at a Manhattan shelter has contracted a rare strain of the bird flu that has been sickening shelter cats in the city, in an unusual health emergency that has public health advocates sending out a warning to pet owners and non-pet owners alike.

A letter dated Thursday was sent to employees and volunteers at the city's Animal Care Centers telling them about the veterinarian's illness and urging them to watch for symptoms in themselves.

The letter did not specify at which shelter the veterinarian worked, but it has been confirmed that the avian flu, called H7N2, had been discovered in cats at an ACC shelter in East Harlem.

The veteranian who contracted the flu strain had a "very mild illness for a short period of time and has recording," the letter from Corinne Schiff, acting deputy commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, read.

"All other screening tests were negative and will be reported individually via mail to staff and volunteers in the next few days," Schiff wrote.

Making it complicated for shelter workers or volunteers to determine if they've contracted the avian flu is the fact that cases of seasonal influenza are increasing, as is expected this time of year.

The symptoms of the seasonal flu are similar to those of avian flu, health officials said. However, there are specific symptoms for shelter workers and volunteers to look for should they get sick.

Anyone who had contact with a cat at a city shelter should be vigilant for possible signs of illness.

If anyone develops these symptoms within 10 days of their last contact with a shelter cat, they should call the Health Department at 866-692-3641:

Pink eye (conjunctivis)

Two or more of the following: Fever, cough, sore throat or muscle ache

Medications that treat the seasonal flu also treat infections from H7N2.

Not counting this veteranian, there are two previously known cases in which H7N2 infected humans in the United States. In both instances, neither of which were related to felines, the patients' illness were mild and they fully recovered.

"But while the risk of transmission of this virus from cats to humans is believed to be low, this local case demonstrates that it is possible," Schiff wrote.

While responding to this health emergency, the city’s shelters are not releasing any cats for adoption and the city is asking that no cats be brought in, either, if at all possible.



 Vet catches bird flu from cat in city shelter [Local Source-SILive, 24 Dec 2016]

by Tracey Porpora

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A veterinarian working with sick cats at a Manhattan shelter has been infected with a strain of influenza A virus, commonly known as the bird flu, according to city Health Department officials.

One person has been found with a "presumptive diagnosis of this virus" which was identified by Health Department lab testing and preliminarily confirmed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab testing, said Health Department officials.

The veterinarian's illness was mild, short-lived, and has resolved," said the Health Department in a written statement.

LOW RISK TO HUMANS

However, the Health Department revealed the results of its ongoing investigation of an outbreak of the virus among cats housed at Animal Care Centers of NYC's (ACC) shelters confirms that the risk to humans is low

More than 160 ACC employees and volunteers, including several people who had similar exposure to sick cats, were screened by the Health Department, and tested negative for the virus.

"Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "We are contacting people who may have been exposed and offering testing as appropriate."

As a precaution, the Health Department is issuing guidance to health care providers and veterinarians to provide information about how to manage suspected cases.

In addition, the Health Department contacted more than 80 percent of the people who adopted cats from the Manhattan shelter, and none are suspected of having H7N2, the health Department said.

DOCUMENTED BIRD FLU CASES

There have been two previous documented human cases of H7N2 infection in the United States - one in a person managing an outbreak of the virus in turkeys and chickens in 2002, and the other with an unknown source in 2003, according to the Health Department. Both of these patients also had mild illness and recovered.

This is the first reported case due to exposure to an infected cat, and there has been no documented human-to-human transmission, said Health Department officials.

The Health Department said New Yorkers should avoid nuzzling and close facial contact with sick cats, especially if they are pregnant or have an underlying disease that affects the immune system, such as cancer, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.

The Health Department will contact all employees and volunteers at ACC's three shelters to offer specific guidance to them.



 Korea culls more than 22 million poultry over bird flu [Korea Times, 24 Dec 2016]

Korea quarantine officials have slaughtered more than 22.5 million poultry this winter, an official said Saturday, as part of intense efforts to contain a bird flu that has ravaged chicken farms across the country.

They also plan to kill an additional 2.97 million chickens and ducks across the country in coming days, said Han Jae-hong, an official handling the issue at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

That means the total number of poultry culled would account for about 15 percent of Korea's poultry since Nov. 16, when the first outbreak was reported at a chicken farm in Haenam, about 420 kilometers south of Seoul.

The outbreak -- the first in nearly seven months -- was caused by the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of bird flu, a new type of virus that was first detected in Korea.

In April, quarantine officials slaughtered 12,000 chickens and ducks.

Korea culled 14 million birds in 2014.

The nation has more than 156 million chickens and more than 9.5 million ducks as of the end of March, according to government data. (Yonhap)



 Housing order for Irish poultry over bird flu fears [RTE News, 24 Dec 2016]

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The deadly strain of bird flu was found in a turkey flock in England last week

The Department of Agriculture has activated regulations requiring all poultry and captive birds to be kept within a secure building amid concerns over bird flu.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has issued the notice in response to the outbreak of the deadly strain in a turkey flock in England last week and in a dead wild duck in Wales earlier this week.

The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 has been responsible for a number of outbreaks of disease in both wild birds and poultry in several European countries since the end of October, the Department added.

The Department has activated the regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 which requires flock keepers to confine all poultry and birds in a secure building which cannot be accessed by wild animals.

This is the first time the Department has issued a housing order.

"Although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported world-wide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low," the statement continued.

An early warning system is in place with Birdwatch Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Association of Regional Game Councils.

"Poultry flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, maintain strict bio-security measures and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office," the statement continued.



 First case of bird flu detected in Scotland after outbreak UIWebViews don't have share, require full width to avoid wrapping [STV News, 24 Dec 2016]

by Kaye Nicolson

The wild peregrine falcon found in Dumfries and Galloway has tested positive.

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Bird flu: Confirmed case in Dumfries and Galloway. STV

A wild peregrine falcon found in Dumfries and Galloway has tested positive for bird flu.

The first Scottish case in the current outbreak comes shortly after the disease was detected in wild birds in Somerset and Leicestershire.

Experts have warned there is strong evidence the disease is spreading through housed poultry.

Producers have been urged to comply with the order to house birds or ensure they are kept separate from wild birds.

It is also feared that during excessive rainfall, such the current storms, there is an additional risk of run-off water carrying contaminants into poultry houses.

Rural minister Fergus Ewing said: "With the recent disease confirmations in both England and Wales, it is not unexpected for avian influenza to be found in a wild bird here in Scotland.

"We have already made clear that all bird keepers - whether major businesses or small keepers with just a few birds - must ensure that their biosecurity is up to scratch and prevent any contact between their birds and wild birds."

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Poultry ban in place to stop spread of bird flu to Scotland
A ban on poultry at livestock auctions and shows has been put in place in a bid to prevent bird flu spreading to Scotland. The temporary suspension came into effect on Tuesday following an outbreak of a "highly pathogenic" strain of avian influenza, H5N8, detected at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week.

Scotland's chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas said: "This case of H5N8 in a falcon in Dumfries and Galloway confirms that avian influenza is present in wild birds in Scotland.

"This underlines the crucial importance of bird keepers and members of the public remaining vigilant for signs of disease in domestic or wild birds.

"Any dead wild swans, geese, ducks or gulls, falcons or other birds of prey or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, should be reported to the Defra helpline, details of which are available on the gov.scot website."

She added: "I would also remind all keepers they must enhance their biosecurity and protect their birds from disease.

"Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately.

"Your private vet, or your local Animal and Plant Health Agency office, will also be able to provide advice on keeping your birds safe from infection.

"Expert advice remains that consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry and the threat to public health from the virus is very low."

392828-craigies-poultry-farm-at-dunfermline-fife-where-suspected-case-of-bird-flu-pic-from-broadcast-at.jpg
Bird flu outbreak warning to Scottish poultry farmers
Poultry farmers have been ordered to keep birds indoors as a precaution against a deadly bird flu outbreak in Europe. The Scottish Government has declared an avian influenza prevention zone, which requires that all poultry and captive birds are kept separate from wild birds.



 Bird flu cases confirmed in two wild ducks in England [The Independent, 24 Dec 2016]

by Ben Kentish

getty-duck-bird-flu-epidemic.jpg
Two wild ducks were found to be infected with the H5N8 strain of bird flu Getty Images

News comes after virus also found in birds in Scotland and Wales

Two wild birds in England have been found to have bird flu, the Government has announced.

The two wigeon ducks, discovered in Somerset and Leicestershire, were confirmed to be infected with the H5N8 strain of the virus – the same as that found earlier this week in a peregrine falcon in Scotland and another wigeon in Wales.

The strain has been circulating in a number of farms across mainland Europe and was discovered at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire last week. A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone were put in place around the farm in an attempt to stop the virus spreading within the UK.

Following the latest discovery, Public Health England insisted the risk to the public was very low. Poultry and poultry products such as eggs are safe to eat as long as they are properly cooked.

Nigel Gibbens, the UKs, Chief Veterinary Officer said: "Today’s confirmed findings mean that avian flu has now been found in wild birds in widely separated parts of England, Wales and Scotland.

“This is far from unexpected and reflects our risk assessments and the measures we have taken including introducing a housing order for poultry and a ban on gatherings. We’ll continue to work with ornithological groups to further strengthen surveillance and our understanding of the extent of infection in wild birds.

“The risk to kept birds cannot be eliminated by housing alone. This virus can be carried into buildings on people and things to infect birds. Good biosecurity measures are essential. We also need people to continue to report findings of dead wild birds so that we can investigate.

“It is important to reiterate Public Health England’s advice that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.”

The spread of the H5N8 strain across Europe led the UK Government to take a number of steps to reduce the risk to UK farmers and the wider public. On 6th December it introduced a Prevention Zone, requiring all farmed birds to be kept away from wild birds, and temporarily banned events, such as livestock fairs and auctions, where lots of birds are kept in close proximity.

In 2007, a bird flu outbreak that began at a Bernard Matthews turkey farm spread across the UK and led to the forced slaughter of hundreds of thousands of birds.

A similar pandemic in 2005 began in south-east Asia and rapidly spread across the globe.



 Wild falcon tests positive for bird flu in Dumfries and Galloway [BBC News, 24 Dec 2016]

_93111611_peregrinefalconthinkstockphotos.jpg
A peregrine falcon tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza

A peregrine falcon found in Dumfries and Galloway has tested positive for bird flu.

Scotland's chief veterinary officer said the discovery confirmed that H5N8 avian influenza was present in the country's wild bird population.

Sheila Voas urged the public to be vigilant for signs of disease in both wild and domestic birds.
Two more cases of birds infected with avian influenza have also been detected in England.

The H5N8 strain has been spreading rapidly in Europe, though it is considered far less risky than the H5N1 outbreak in 2006, and is believed to pose a low risk to humans.

Ms Voas said: "This underlines the crucial importance of bird keepers and members of the public remaining vigilant for signs of disease in domestic or wild birds.

"Any dead wild swans, geese, ducks or gulls, falcons or other birds of prey or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, should be reported to the Defra helpline"
The Scottish government said there was strong evidence from Europe that the disease was getting into housed poultry.

The heavy rainfall brought by Storm Barbara could heighten the risk of contaminated water entering poultry houses, it added.

_92863268_flu.jpg
Strict regulations have been put in place in much of Europe, including the Netherlands

Producers have already been ordered to house birds or ensure they are kept separate from wild birds.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "With the recent disease confirmations in both England and Wales, it is not unexpected for avian influenza to be found in a wild bird here in Scotland.

"We have already made clear that all bird keepers - whether major businesses or small keepers with just a few birds - must ensure that their bio security is up to scratch and prevent any contact between their birds and wild birds."

A further two cases of avian influenza have been detected in wild wigeons in Somerset and Leicestershire.

NFU Scotland said it was a "very worrying" time for poultry keepers.
An NFU spokesman said: "Whether your poultry flock is large or small, we urge you to ensure your bio-security measures to protect the health of your flock are as robust as possible.

"Given the spread of the disease in wild birds, flock owners must continue to comply with the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, put in place on 6 December, which requires that all poultry and captive birds in Scotland be kept indoors, or otherwise kept separate from wild birds."

The spokesman added that consumers should have no concerns about eating eggs or poultry meat.



 Scottish wild peregrine falcon tests positive for bird flu [The Scotsman, 24 Dec 2016]

Falcon.jpg
The falcon from Dumfries and Galloway tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza. Picture: Jane Barlow

Three wild birds in Scotland and England have tested positive for a dangerous strain of bird flu.

A dead wild peregrine falcon in Dumfries and Galloway and two dead wild wigeons from Somerset and Leicestershire were all confirmed as having H5N8 avian influenza, officials said on Friday.

The latest cases come a day after a dead wild duck in Wales was found to have the same dangerous strain of the disease, a highly-pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu that was found in a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week and has been circulating in Europe.

A temporary ban on events involving gatherings of poultry including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese such as auctions and livestock fairs has been imposed across England, Scotland and Wales to prevent spread of the disease.

A prevention zone is also in place, which requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep them inside or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them, from wild birds.

Experts have said the threat to public health from the virus is very low.

Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “With the recent disease confirmations in both England and Wales, it is not unexpected for avian influenza to be found in a wild bird here in Scotland.

“We have already made clear that all bird keepers - whether major businesses or small keepers with just a few birds - must ensure that their biosecurity is up to scratch and prevent any contact between their birds and wild birds.”



 Number of bird flu cases in China rises to seven [South China Morning Post, 23 Dec 2016]

China---x.jpg


Two people are known to have died on the mainland after becoming infected

China has reported at least seven cases of bird flu in humans across the country this month, including two deaths, as the authorities take steps to guard against an outbreak.
Five cases of H7N9 bird flu infections have been diagnosed in central Anhui province since December 8 and two people have died, state media reported.

Officials in Shanghai said this week that a man was diagnosed with H7N9 and is receiving treatment in a city hospital. Another case has been reported in Xiamen in coastal Fujian province where poultry sales have been halted.

In rural Jinzhai county in Anhui province, local officials on Thursday announced a two-week closure of a meat market after a shopkeeper was diagnosed with H7N9.

The provincial government also issued a warning on social media urging residents to avoid buying and slaughtering live chickens themselves.

A major H7N9 bird flu outbreak in humans first struck China in March 2013, killing more than 40 people and devastating the poultry industry.

The strain is less virulent than the H5N1 strain that the World Health Organisation says has killed more than 370 people.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:
Bird flu infects 7 people in China this month, killing 2



 China reports first two human fatalities from bird flu this winter [CNBC News, 23 Dec 2016]


Two people in China's Anhui province have died from H7N9 bird flu, the first fatalities in China among this winter's cases, while Macau reported its first human H7N9 infection since the former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999.

Anhui has reported five cases of H7N9 avian flu since Dec. 8, including the two people who died, the eastern province's health authority said in a statement dated Dec. 21, posted on its website.

It did not say whether the other three people had recovered or not.

102680649-178797093.530x298.jpg
NirutiStock, Getty Images

The Anhui cases bring the total number of people infected with the H7N9 virus in mainland China this month to at least seven.

H7N9 had not been detected in either humans or animals in China until March 2013.

The strain does not seem to transmit easily from person to person, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, according to the World Health Organization.

The danger with any such virus is that it mutates and acquires genetic changes that might increase its pandemic potential.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

Health authorities in Shanghai said on Wednesday a man diagnosed with the H7N9 strain was being treated there, after travelling from the neighbouring province of Jiangsu.

Shanghai is China's biggest city with more than 24 million residents.

The local government in Jiangsu was looking into the origin of the infection, the provincial health authority said on Thursday.

Infected poultry

In Xiamen, a city in Fujian province also in the east, authorities ordered a halt to poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

The patient was in hospital and was stable, Xinhua said then. The city has a population of about 3.5 million.

Hong Kong this week reported its first human bird flu infection for this season.

In Macau, health authorities will soon discharge a patient who contracted H7N9, following a quarantine period of about 10 days, said an official at the Macau Heath Bureau Services who only gave his surname Yang.

The patient, a man, had been in close contact with infected poultry, Yang told Reuters. He will be discharged on either Friday or Saturday.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

Farmers have in recent years increased cleaning, animal detention techniques and built roofs to cover hen pens to prevent infection from wild birds, among other steps, in an effort to stop the disease.

In the past two months, more than 110,000 birds have been killed following bird flu outbreaks, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. They did not lead to human infection.

Authorities have not reported the culling of any birds this week.

The latest cases come as South Korea and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, fuelling fears of a regional spread.



 OIE launches avian influenza web portal [World Poultry, 23 Dec 2016]


Gaining a better understanding of avian influenza, providing easy access to the OIE’s recommendations on how to control it, and raising awareness of the global avian influenza situation among the international community: these are the objectives of the new OIE’s web portal on avian influenza.

In the last few months, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have affected a number of countries in most regions of the world. These events have led to the deaths or preventative culling of hundreds of thousands of birds.

Due to the recent upsurge in avian influenza cases around the world, such as here in South Korea, the OIE has launched a dedicated web portal. Here, a quarantine official disinfects a road leading to a chicken farm in Pyeongtaek, west of Seoul, South Korea. Photo credit: EPA/Yonhap South Korea out

003_744_IMG_WOP_23_OIElaunchesavianinfluenzewebportal2.jpg
Due to the recent upsurge in avian influenza cases around the world, such as here in South Korea, the OIE has launched a dedicated web portal. Here, a quarantine official disinfects a road leading to a chicken farm in Pyeongtaek, west of Seoul, South Korea. Photo credit: EPA/Yonhap South Korea out

Recent upsurge in avian influenza cases

The recent global upsurge in this disease reinforces the importance of information-sharing about the disease prevention and control methods that should be put in place locally, as well as the recommendations and actions taken by the OIE at the international level.

Poulty Health Tool - latest insights on the 40+ most common poultry diseases

The new OIE portal on avian influenza brings together a wealth of information, enabling a greater understanding of the disease and detailing the biosecurity measures recommended by the OIE, at both the farm and trade level, to halt its spread.

Moreover, this platform describes the actions taken by the OIE and its partners. Indeed, the prevention and control of zoonotic influenzas is one of the 3 priorities of the FAO–OIE–WHO Tripartite Alliance. A dedicated page also provides access to communication tools targeted at various audiences.

Also interesting: The survivability of avian influenza examined

Real time opinions and notifications

During recent months, the avian influenza strain H5N8, in particular, has been in the news, having been successively identified in several regions of the world, particularly Europe and America, as well as Asia and the Middle-East. The new OIE portal allows us to follow this strain’s global evolution (and that of other H5 and H7 strains), in real time.

In addition, it is worth noting that OFFLU, the global network of expertise on animal influenza, created and maintained by the OIE and FAO, recently published a report on the H5N8 situation, as well as advice on surveillance. This global scientific network works to reduce the adverse consequences caused by animal influenza viruses by promoting effective collaboration and information-sharing between animal health experts and the human health sector.



 China reports first two human fatalities from bird flu this winter [Thomson Reuters Foundation, 23 Dec 2016]


(Adds report of first human H7N9 case in Macau since territory was returned to China)

BEIJING, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Two people in China's Anhui province have died from H7N9 bird flu, the first fatalities in China among this winter's cases, while Macau reported its first human H7N9 infection since the former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999.

Anhui has reported five cases of H7N9 avian flu since Dec. 8, including the two people who died, the eastern province's health authority said in a statement dated Dec. 21, posted on its website.

It did not say whether the other three people had recovered or not.

The Anhui cases bring the total number of people infected with the H7N9 virus in mainland China this month to at least seven.

H7N9 had not been detected in either humans or animals in China until March 2013.

The strain does not seem to transmit easily from person to person, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, according to the World Health Organization.

The danger with any such virus is that it mutates and acquires genetic changes that might increase its pandemic potential.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

Health authorities in Shanghai said on Wednesday a man diagnosed with the H7N9 strain was being treated there, after travelling from the neighbouring province of Jiangsu.

Shanghai is China's biggest city with more than 24 million residents.

The local government in Jiangsu was looking into the origin of the infection, the provincial health authority said on Thursday.

INFECTED POULTRY

In Xiamen, a city in Fujian province also in the east, authorities ordered a halt to poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

The patient was in hospital and was stable, Xinhua said then. The city has a population of about 3.5 million.

Hong Kong this week reported its first human bird flu infection for this season.

In Macau, health authorities will soon discharge a patient who contracted H7N9, following a quarantine period of about 10 days, said an official at the Macau Heath Bureau Services who only gave his surname Yang.

The patient, a man, had been in close contact with infected poultry, Yang told Reuters. He will be discharged on either Friday or Saturday.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

Farmers have in recent years increased cleaning, animal detention techniques and built roofs to cover hen pens to prevent infection from wild birds, among other steps, in an effort to stop the disease.

In the past two months, more than 110,000 birds have been killed following bird flu outbreaks, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. They did not lead to human infection.

Authorities have not reported the culling of any birds this week.

The latest cases come as South Korea and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, fuelling fears of a regional spread.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel)



 China confirms 3rd human bird flu infection, stirs fears of spread [The Asahi Shimbun, 23 Dec 2016]


BEIJING--China has found two more cases of human bird flu infection, bringing this week's total to three and stoking fears the deadly virus could spread at a time when other Asian nations are battling to control outbreaks of the disease.

Health officials in nearby South Korea and Japan have been scrambling to contain outbreaks of different strains of bird flu, with the poultry industry there bracing for heavy financial losses.

A man diagnosed with the H7N9 strain of bird flu is being treated in Shanghai, after traveling from the neighboring province of Jiangsu, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning said on its website on Wednesday.

Shanghai is China's most populated city with more than 24 million residents.

The local government in Jiangsu is looking into the origin of the infection, the provincial health authority said on Thursday.

In Xiamen, a city in China's eastern Fujian province, local authorities ordered a halt to poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu on Sunday, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Wednesday.

The patient is being treated in hospital and is in stable condition, Xinhua said, citing Xiamen's diseases prevention and control center. The city has a population of about 3.5 million.

The latest incidents come after Hong Kong confirmed an elderly man was diagnosed with the disease earlier this week.

CHICKEN DEMAND AT RISK?

The cases come as South Korea and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, fueling fears of a regional spread.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring and farmers have in recent years increased cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques and built roofs to cover hen pens, among other steps, to prevent the disease.

In the past two months, more than 110,000 birds have been killed following bird flu outbreaks, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. They did not lead to human infection.

Each year, China slaughters 11 billion birds for consumption.

Authorities have not culled any birds as a result of this week's episodes, which appear to be isolated.

Still, farmers worry the virus could spread, hurting demand for chicken as the Chinese prepare for peak demand during Lunar New Year celebrations at the end of January.

Amid recent outbreaks elsewhere, the Chinese are feeding their flocks more vitamins and vaccines and ramping up hen house sterilization to protect their birds.

On Wednesday, authorities said they would ban imports of poultry from countries where there are outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu. It already prohibits imports from more than 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China in 2013 killed 36 people and caused about $6.5 billion (765 billion yen) in losses to the agriculture sector.

Delegations from Japan, South Korea and China gathered in Beijing last week for a symposium on preventing and controlling bird flu and other diseases in East Asia, according to China's agriculture ministry website.



 Eggs in short supply as South Korea battles bird flu outbreak [The Japan Times, 23 Dec 2016]



BY JANE CHUNG
p10-reuters-eggs-a-20161224-870x580.jpg
Shrinking supply: A man look at eggs in a Seoul supermarket. REUTERS

SEOUL – Moon Hong-nam, a pastry chef in Seoul, needs at least 15,000 eggs a day to bake cakes, but after South Korea’s worst outbreak of bird flu and a surge in the prices of eggs, he is considering some changes.

“We can ride it out through Christmas with what (supplies) we have secured,” says Moon, who works at the L’escargot bakery in Seoul. “But if (the bird flu) continues until January, we will have to raise prices inevitably and make bakery items that do not need eggs.”

About 20 million birds, nearly a quarter of South Korea’s poultry stock, have been culled to control the outbreak. Most of the birds culled are egg-laying hens.

The flu has spread to other parts of Asia as well, including Japan.

In South Korea, the average retail price for 30 eggs has risen nearly 25 percent to 6,781 South Korean won (¥668) since the outbreak began on Nov. 18 — the highest in more than three years, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.

According to data from the institution, it is the highest month-on-month increase in egg prices in nearly a decade.

The price hike is putting a dent in the wallets of Koreans, who usually eat more eggs in the winter, including in bread and kimbap, a Korean sushi roll.

Feeling the supply pinch, Lee Sang-hyup, the 55-year-old owner of Jeonju Restaurant, says he has cut down on the amount of fluffy steamed eggs served free with the main dish, spicy braised hairtail fish.

“If I can’t have enough eggs, then I have no choice but to stop serving it,” says Lee, adding that it was the first time since he started the restaurant three years ago that he has needed to ration portions of the side dish.

Besides the price increases, some stores are restricting egg purchases.

“We are limiting the amount of egg trays each customer can buy to one because of the egg supply shortage, and it seems it will last for five to six months so we will continue to restrict egg purchases for a while,” says Lee Won-il, a manager at Nonghyup, one of the country’s supermarket chains.

To ease the shortage, South Korea’s agriculture ministry is seeking to import egg-laying chickens and eggs from the United States, Spain and New Zealand.

Analysts say the egg shortage is expected to last at least one year as it could take up to two years for the egg and poultry industry to raise baby chickens and rebuild flocks.

“Economic losses caused by (avian influenza) are estimated to cost up to 1.4 trillion won (roughly ¥137 billion) if 30 percent of Korea’s poultry population gets infected,” says Chung Min, an analyst at Hyundai Research Institute.

Although egg consumption is likely to be steady despite the higher prices, the bird flu has cut into sales of chicken meat.

Lee at the Nonghyup store says chicken sales have dropped 25 percent since the bird flu outbreak, while pork sales jumped about 30 percent.

Other major discount stores also saw a drop in chicken sales despite discounts. Chicken sales at E-Mart fell 15.4 percent in the first 15 days of December from a year earlier, whereas imported pork sales surged about 85 percent during the same period, according to E-Mart data.

Kim Dong-jin, manager at the Korea Poultry Association, says the recent bird flu outbreak poses a serious threat to the poultry industry as it could lose market share to imported chicken meat from Brazil and the United States if it can’t supply enough eggs.

“(Korean poultry farmers) are in a double whammy situation,” says Kim. “The government needs to come up with better measures to ease (their) concerns.”



 China confirms third case of human bird flu this week [The Straits Times, 23 Dec 2016]


40929281_-_20_12_2016_-_health-birdflu_china.jpg
Workers wearing protective suits cull ducks after some tested positive for H5 bird flu at a poultry farm in Aomori, northern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo, on Nov 29, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China has found two more cases of human bird flu infection, bringing the total this week to three, stoking fears about the spread of the deadly virus at a time when other Asian nations are battling to control outbreaks of the disease.

The discoveries come as health officials in nearby South Korea and Japan have been scrambling to contain outbreaks of different strains of the virus, with the poultry industry there bracing itself for heavy financial losses.

A man diagnosed with the H7N9 strain of bird flu is being treated in Shanghai, after travelling from the neighbouring province of Jiangsu, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning said on its website on Wednesday. Shanghai is China's most populated city with more than 24 million residents.

In Xiamen, a city in China's eastern Fujian province, the local authorities ordered a halt to poultry sales from yesterday in the Siming district after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu on Sunday, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Wednesday.

The patient is being treated in hospital and is in stable condition, Xinhua said, citing Xiamen's diseases prevention and control centre. The city has a population of about 3.5 million.

The latest incidents come after Hong Kong confirmed an elderly man was diagnosed with the disease earlier this week.

The cases in China and Hong Kong come as South Korea and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, stoking fears of regional spread.

The cases in Japan - outbreaks before the Miyazaki one were all confirmed as H5N6 bird flu - are the first in nearly two years, with the bird cull now standing at its highest in six years.

South Korea too has ordered a record cull of 20 million birds since first reporting the H5N6 virus just over a month ago.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring and farmers have in recent years increased cleaning regimes, developed animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, among other steps, to prevent the disease.

Still, concerns about the spread of the virulent airborne bird flu comes as farmers in China are preparing for the year's peak demand during Chinese New Year celebrations at the end of next month. In the light of the recent outbreaks in nearby countries, they are feeding their flocks more vitamins and vaccines and ramping up hen house sterilisations in a bid to protect their birds.

On Wednesday, the authorities said they would ban imports of poultry from countries where there are outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu. It already prohibits imports from more than 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China in 2013 killed 36 people and caused about US$6.5 billion (S$9.4 billion) in losses to the agriculture sector.

According to the website of China's Ministry of Agriculture, delegations from Japan, South Korea and China gathered in Beijing last week for a symposium on preventing and controlling bird flu and other diseases in East Asia.



 China reports at least 7 bird flu cases so far this month [Fox News, 23 Dec 2016]


BEIJING – China has reported at least seven cases of bird flu across China this month, including two deaths, as authorities sought to guard against an outbreak.

State media reported five cases of H7N9 bird flu have been diagnosed in central Anhui province since Dec. 8, killing two.

Shanghai officials said this week that a man was diagnosed with H7N9 and is being treated in a city hospital. Another case has been reported in Xiamen in coastal Fujian province, where poultry sales have been halted.

A major H7N9 bird flu outbreak in humans first struck China in March 2013, killing more than 40 people and devastating the poultry industry. The strain is less virulent than the H5N1 strain that the World Health Organization says has killed more than 370 people.



 China reports first two human fatalities from bird flu this winter [Reuters, 23 Dec 2016]

Two people in China's Anhui province have died from H7N9 bird flu, the first fatalities in China among this winter's cases, while Macau reported its first human H7N9 infection since the former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999.

Anhui has reported five cases of H7N9 avian flu since Dec. 8, including the two people who died, the eastern province's health authority said in a statement dated Dec. 21, posted on its website.

It did not say whether the other three people had recovered or not.

The Anhui cases bring the total number of people infected with the H7N9 virus in mainland China this month to at least seven.

H7N9 had not been detected in either humans or animals in China until March 2013.

The strain does not seem to transmit easily from person to person, and sustained human-to-human infection has not been reported, according to the World Health Organization.

The danger with any such virus is that it mutates and acquires genetic changes that might increase its pandemic potential.

The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China - from late 2013 to early 2014 - killed 36 people and led to more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.

Health authorities in Shanghai said on Wednesday a man diagnosed with the H7N9 strain was being treated there, after traveling from the neighboring province of Jiangsu.

Shanghai is China's biggest city with more than 24 million residents.

The local government in Jiangsu was looking into the origin of the infection, the provincial health authority said on Thursday.

INFECTED POULTRY

In Xiamen, a city in Fujian province also in the east, authorities ordered a halt to poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

The patient was in hospital and was stable, Xinhua said then. The city has a population of about 3.5 million.

Hong Kong this week reported its first human bird flu infection for this season.

In Macau, health authorities will soon discharge a patient who contracted H7N9, following a quarantine period of about 10 days, said an official at the Macau Heath Bureau Services who only gave his surname Yang.

The patient, a man, had been in close contact with infected poultry, Yang told Reuters. He will be discharged on either Friday or Saturday.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

Farmers have in recent years increased cleaning, animal detention techniques and built roofs to cover hen pens to prevent infection from wild birds, among other steps, in an effort to stop the disease.

In the past two months, more than 110,000 birds have been killed following bird flu outbreaks, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. They did not lead to human infection.

Authorities have not reported the culling of any birds this week.

The latest cases come as South Korea and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, fuelling fears of a regional spread.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel)



 First case of bird flu confirmed in Wales [Daily Post North Wales, 22 Dec 2016]

The deadly disease was found in a wild duck and vets are warning that other cases are likely to follow
BYANDREW FORGRAVE

Vets have confirmed a case of bird flu in a wild duck in Carmarthenshire.

The duck, a wigeon, was found dead in Llanelli and later tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of the avian influenza virus.

This is the same strain that struck a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week where 2,500 birds died or were destroyed.

The Welsh Government said the discovery was “not unexpected” and it expects more cases to be confirmed in the coming days and weeks.

Rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths said the disease had been reported in wild, captive and domestic birds across Europe in recent weeks.

“This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease,” she said.

“It is likely that more cases will be confirmed.

“There have been no reports of human infection from the H5N8 strain and the risk to human health is very low.”

Bird-flu-outbreak--.jpg
Tests have revealed the Llanelli duck was suffering from the highly pathogenic strain of bird flu (Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Poultry flocks on lockdown as bird flu threat grows

Earlier this week a temporary ban was slapped on all poultry shows and sales to safeguard flocks against avian influenza.

The ban does not apply to pigeons or aviary birds which are unlikely to pass the disease to domestic poultry.

The move followed the imposition of a Prevention Zone across the whole of Wales in the wake of last week’s bird flu outbreak in Tetney, Lincolnshire.

Earlier this month all poultry and bird keepers were ordered to keep their birds indoors, or separate from wild birds.

Watch Britain's most pampered Christmas turkeys being tucked up in their sheds by dogs to dine on the finest of grains whilst listening to a spot of Mozart

Wales’ chief vet, Dr Christianne Glossop, said the Llanelli discovery was a salutary reminder of the risks of infection.

“It is important that bird keepers practice the very highest levels of biosecurity,” she said.

“Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection. Keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.”

North Wales farms put on Schmallenberg alert

How you can help

Members of the public can report dead wild waterfowl – swans, geese or ducks – via the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA helpline on 03459 335577.

Findings of dead gulls, or clusters of five or more dead wild birds of other species, should also be reported.

All poultry keepers, including those with fewer than 50 birds, are being encouraged to provide flock details to the Poultry Register.

This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action.

If any poultry owners suspect their birds are infected, they should immediately contact their local APHA office.



 Bird flu in Wales, H5N8 avian influenza detected in duck [Outbreak News Today, 22 Dec 2016]


The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has confirmed a finding of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a wild duck in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.
Eurasian.wigeon.2.arp_.750pix.jpg
duck Public domain image/Arpingstone

This is the same strain of the disease confirmed at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last Friday and has been reported in wild, captive or domestic birds in many European countries, the Middle East and North Africa.

The duck, a wigeon, was found dead and submitted for testing. This morning it has been confirmed it tested positive for the Highly Pathogenic H5N8 strain of the avian influenza virus.

The confirmation of the disease in this wild bird follows the introduction of a Prevention Zone in Wales on the 6th December, which requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them, from wild birds.

Earlier this week steps were taken to further protect poultry and captive birds by introducing a temporary suspension on gatherings of poultry.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:

“The finding of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a wild duck in Llanelli follows reports of the disease in Lincolnshire and across Europe. This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease. It is likely that more cases will be confirmed.

“There have been no reports of human infection from the H5N8 strain and the risk to human health is very low. The Food Standards Agency has also confirmed it is safe to eat poultry meat, such as turkey, goose and chicken.”

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Christianne Glossop, said:

“This finding serves to remind us all of the risk of infection. The Prevention Zone and temporary suspension on gathering of poultry remain in place. It is also important that bird keepers practice the very highest levels of biosecurity. Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds. The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected.”

To initially strengthen the understanding of the presence of H5N8 in wild bird populations in a dynamically changing situation, the reporting thresholds for wild bird surveillance has been reduced to a list of the specified species known to be infected in Europe.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the APHA helpline on 03459 335577.

If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds are showing signs of the disease you should immediately report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

Poultry keepers, including those with fewer than 50 birds, are encouraged to provide details of their flocks to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.



 Dangerous strain of bird flu confirmed in wild duck found dead in Wales [Wales Online, 22 Dec 2016]

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales confirmed the duck was found to have Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8


BYALED BLAKE

A wild duck in Llanelli has been discovered to have the same strain as avian flu confirmed at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire.

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales confirmed the duck was found to have Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8.

The strain been reported in wild, captive or domestic birds in many European countries, the Middle East and North Africa.

The duck, a wigeon, was found dead and submitted for testing.

RNP_MAI_221216_-Wigeon_1001JPG.jpg The duck is a "wigeon" (Photo: Michele Lamberti/ Creative Commons)

The Welsh Government confirmed it tested positive for the Highly Pathogenic H5N8 strain of the avian influenza virus.

A Prevention Zone in Wales was introduced on the December 6, requiring all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them, from wild birds.

Earlier this week steps were taken to further protect poultry and captive birds by introducing a temporary suspension on gatherings of poultry.

lesley-griffiths.jpg Lesley Griffiths

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “The finding of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a wild duck in Llanelli follows reports of the disease in Lincolnshire and across Europe. This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease. It is likely that more cases will be confirmed.

“There have been no reports of human infection from the H5N8 strain and the risk to human health is very low. The Food Standards Agency has also confirmed it is safe to eat poultry meat, such as turkey, goose and chicken.”

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Christianne Glossop, said: “This finding serves to remind us all of the risk of infection. The Prevention Zone and temporary suspension on gathering of poultry remain in place.

“It is also important that bird keepers practice the very highest levels of biosecurity.

SJP_MAI_220714clean10311_01JPG.jpg Christianne Glossop

“Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

“The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected.”

To initially strengthen the understanding of the presence of H5N8 in wild bird populations in a dynamically changing situation, the reporting thresholds for wild bird surveillance has been reduced to a list of the specified species known to be infected in Europe.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the APHA helpline on 03459 335577.

If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds are showing signs of the disease you should immediately report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

Poultry keepers, including those with fewer than 50 birds, are encouraged to provide details of their flocks to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.



 Japan Bird Flu Outbreak Fuels Asia Fears [Financial Tribune, 22 Dec 2016]

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A virulent strain of airborne bird flu extended its shadow across northeast Asia as Japan launched a new chicken cull on a southern island, days after gassing hundreds of thousands of birds some 2,400 km to the north.

Tackling Japan’s sixth outbreak since November-end, Kyushu authorities said they will gas over 120,000 chickens after the H5 virus was detected on a farm. The island lies close to South Korea, which has ordered a record cull of 20 million birds since first reporting the H5N6 virus just over a month ago.

The rapid spread of the virus has sent health officials across Asia scrambling to contain outbreaks while the poultry industry braces for heavy financial losses. With South Korea just across the Yellow Sea from China, mainland farmers’ nerves were further jangled after Hong Kong reported a first human infection of the season, a case of the H5N7 strain.

“The risk for human infection is considered low but influenza viruses are constantly changing so we should remain vigilant,” said the World Health Organization, responding to Reuters queries on the outbreak in an emailed statement.

The last major outbreak in mainland China in 2013 killed 36 people and caused about $6.5 billion in losses to the agriculture sector. According to the website of China’s Ministry of Agriculture, delegations from Japan, South Korea and China gathered in Beijing last week for a symposium on preventing and controlling bird flu and other diseases in East Asia.

The outbreak in Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture follows the gassing of more than 200,000 chickens at a farm in the northern island of Hokkaido last weekend and brings the country’s cull this season to nearly a million chickens and ducks.

The cases in Japan - outbreaks before Miyazaki were all confirmed as H5N6 bird flu - are the first in nearly two years, with the bird cull now standing at its highest in six years.

In China, chickens are being fed more vitamins and vaccines while farmers also ramp up hen-house sterilization in an effort to protect their flocks. As part of its protection drive, China now has bans in place on poultry imports from more than 60 countries, including South Korea and Japan as well as parts of Europe now also experiencing a bird flu outbreak.



 Update on human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) [7th Space Interactive, 22 Dec 2016]


Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (December 22) reported an update on the first imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong this winter.

Among the 74 close contacts, a healthcare worker (HCW) of North District Hospital with mild symptoms reported yesterday (December 21) tested negative for influenza virus. Another HCW with mild symptoms is pending testing. Regarding the 151 other contacts, one relevant in-patient with mild symptoms tested negative for influenza virus.

The CHP is also closely monitoring a total of seven additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Anhui (five), Shanghai (one) and Fujian (one), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

According to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Anhui Province, among the five patients, three were from Hefei (including one death), one was from Lu'an and one who died was from Xuancheng.

In addition, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning reported that the male patient aged 45 was from Nantong, Jiangsu.

The case was classified as an imported case from Jiangsu. In Fujian, it was reported that the male patient aged 44 was from Xiamen.

"Locally, the first imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in this winter was recently detected while four faecal dropping samples of birds collected from Mai Po Nature Reserve in late November were positive for H5N6 virus. The neighbouring Guangdong and Macau also reported their first human H7N9 cases in this winter.

Human H7N9 and H5N6 cases have already been reported in the Mainland in this winter. Our risk assessment shows that the avian influenza activity is expected to increase in winter based on its seasonal pattern," a spokesman for the CHP said.

"The public should avoid touching birds, poultry or their droppings and visiting poultry markets or farms during travel, particularly in the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays. If feeling unwell such as having fever or cough, wear a mask and seek medical advice at once.

Travellers returning from affected areas should consult doctors promptly if symptoms develop and let them know their travel history," the spokesman added.

"We will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.

The CHP's Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.

The display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way.

The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.

The public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below while handling poultry:

When handling live chickens, do not touch them or their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume them immediately.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;

Eggs should be cooked well until the white and yolk become firm. Do not eat raw eggs or dip cooked food into any sauce with raw eggs. Poultry should be cooked thoroughly.

If there is pinkish juice running from the cooked poultry or the middle part of its bone is still red, the poultry should be cooked again until fully done;

Wash hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, before handling food or eating, and after going to toilet, touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing; and

Wear a mask if fever or respiratory symptoms develop, going to a hospital or clinic, or while taking caring of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms.



 H5N8 avian flu outbreaks expand to Wales [CIDRAP News, 22 Dec 2016]

duck_shower-alchimiae.jpg
alchimiae / Flickr cc

by Lisa Schnirring, News Editor

The quick pace of avian flu developments saw no let-up today, with highly pathogenic H5N8 reported for the first time in Wales and further spread in wild birds and poultry flocks in a handful of already-affected European countries.

In another development, Montenegro's agriculture ministry issued a statement saying that tests on a wild duck found near Skadar Lake were positive for highly pathogenic H5N5. A media report on Dec 20, citing the country's state television, had said tests found H5N8, the strain fueling outbreaks in Montenegro's neighbors and more than a dozen other European countries.

Because of a surge in recent avian flu activity, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday announced the launch of a new avian influenza portal, designed to provide easier access to information and recommendations and enable experts to follow virus evolution in real time. The portal also has a dedicated page offering tools for communicating with different audiences.

H5N8 in Wales

A statement from the Welsh government said today that tests on a wild duck in Llanelli in Carmarthenshire County, located in the southwest part of the country, were positive for H5N8.

The announcement comes less than a week after animal health officials in the United Kingdom announced the first outbreak in England, which affected a turkey farm in the eastern part of the country.

Earlier this month Wales established a prevention zone requiring all poultry to be kept indoors or take steps to isolate them from wild birds. A few days ago the government temporarily suspended poultry gatherings.

Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, said in the statement, "This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease. It is likely that more cases will be confirmed."

H5N5 in Montenegro

Clarification on the strain involved in Montenegro's recent avian flu finding was noted in a Dec 20 statement in Montenegrin from the country's agriculture ministry. According to a machine translation, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said the H5N5 strain confirmed in Montenegro has only previously been confirmed in the Netherlands.

On Dec 15 the Netherlands reported H5N5 in a tufted duck found in a wetland area near Werkendam.

Montenegro authorities urged farmers to follow precautions issued earlier this month after H5N8 was detected in Serbia, its northeastern neighbor.

Four European countries report more H5N8

In other developments, Sweden, Finland, and Germany reported more H5N8 detections in wild birds, as France noted that the virus hit five more duck farms, all in Gers department, according to separate reports to the OIE.

Sweden reported three outbreaks, all in Skane County in the far southern part of the country. Taken together, the virus was detected in four wild birds: two buzzards, a white-tailed eagle, and a magpie.

Finland's outbreaks occurred near the towns of Rauma and Sund, both in the southwestern part of the country. Each event involved a single detection in a bird of prey, a white-tailed eagle and an owl.

Germany reported five more outbreaks involving wild birds in five different states: Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, Baden-Wurttemberg, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia. Among them, H5N8 was found in five birds, including four ducks and a stork.

Meanwhile, the five outbreaks in Gers department, an area in southwestern France that has been hit hard by avian flu outbreaks for a second year in a row, involved flocks totaling more than 16,000 ducks. Bird deaths prompted testing and detection at three of the locations, while the virus was found during enhanced surveillance at the other two.

Among the five farms, the virus killed 561 of 16,340 birds, and the remaining ones were culled to control the spread of the virus.



 First wild case of bird flu in UK discovered as duck tests positive for deadly illness [Mirror, 22 Dec 2016]

BYLUCY THORNTON

Screen-Shot-2016-12-22-at-202746.png
Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) Llanelli Wetland Centre in Carmarthenshire (Photo: Google)

A strain of the disease found in a wild duck in Wales is the same severe strain to have hit a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week

The first case of bird flu in a wild bird in the UK has been confirmed.

The deadly disease was found in a wild duck in Wales and vets are warning that other cases are likely to follow.

It is the same severe strain to have hit a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week - when 5,000 birds have died or are about to be culled.

The dangerous H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in poultry and wild birds in 14 European countries.

In Germany one farmer had to slaughter 30,000 chickens.

But it is the first time the latest infectious strain has been found in a wild bird in Britain.

It was discovered at an estuary near the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) Llanelli Wetland Centre in Carmarthenshire.

The centre said it had closed “as a precautionary measure" after the duck, a Wigeon, was found dead and tested positive for the dangerous strain.

A-domestic-Mallard.jpg
A domestic Mallard
The illness was found in a duck (Photo: Getty)

Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths said the risk to humans was "very low" and poultry was safe to eat.

Ms Griffiths said: "This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease. It is likely that more cases will be confirmed.

"There have been no reports of human infection from the H5N8 strain and the risk to human health is very low.

"The Food Standards Agency has also confirmed it is safe to eat poultry meat, such as turkey, goose and chicken.”

In a statement on Thursday confirming its temporary closure, WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre said: "This is a concern for local birds - not humans.

"This is not a strain of bird flu that has ever transferred to people.

"The finding is not unexpected as the disease has already been found across Europe.

"Like other organisations across the country, we have been keeping a close eye out for any signs of the disease in birds this winter.

"We will remain closed while we increase surveillance among wild birds on our reserve and our collection of zoo birds, and put in place any measures necessary to help protect them."

Welsh Conservative spokesman for rural affairs, Paul Davies AM, said: "If it is allowed to spread then it could have a devastating impact on poultry farming across Wales.”

Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop urged people to report any sightings of dead waterfowl, or groups of at least five dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

A Prevention Zone has been introduced requiring all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors and protect them, from wild birds.

Earlier this week steps were taken to further protect poultry and captive birds by introducing a temporary suspension on gatherings of poultry.

Penguin parades at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, were cancelled amid fears of a new bird flu outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low while the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

PHE said Avian flu was "primarily a disease of birds", and there have never been any recorded cases of H5N8 in humans.



 Bird flu alert as duck in Llanelli found to be infected [BBC News, 22 Dec 2016]


_93093789_widgeon_bbcnaturalhistory.jpg
The infected duck - a wigeon like the one pictured - was found dead

The first finding of an infectious strain of avian flu in a UK wild bird has been confirmed in Carmarthenshire.

The H5N8 strain found in a wild duck at an estuary near the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) Llanelli Wetland Centre is the same which hit a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week.

The centre said it had closed "as a precautionary measure".

Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths said the risk to humans was "very low" and poultry was safe to eat.

The Welsh Government said it was the first time the H5N8 strain had been found in a wild bird in the UK.

It was described as "extremely concerning" by the Welsh Conservatives which called on the government to ensure safety measures were in place.

Restrictions were imposed across Britain to keep birds indoors after the disease came to light across Europe, the Middle East and north Africa.

On Tuesday, the measures were tightened to ban any indoor gatherings of birds at events such as livestock fairs, auctions and bird shows.

Ms Griffiths said: "This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease. It is likely that more cases will be confirmed.

"There have been no reports of human infection from the H5N8 strain and the risk to human health is very low.

"The Food Standards Agency has also confirmed it is safe to eat poultry meat, such as turkey, goose and chicken."

WWT Llanelli Wetland CentreImage copyrightWWT LLANELLI WETLAND CENTRE
Image caption

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The wetland centre in Llanelli opened in 1991

In a statement on Thursday confirming its temporary closure, WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre said:

"This is a concern for local birds - not humans.

"This is not a strain of bird flu that has ever transferred to people.

"The finding is not unexpected as the disease has already been found across Europe.

"Like other organisations across the country, we have been keeping a close eye out for any signs of the disease in birds this winter.

"We will remain closed while we increase surveillance among wild birds on our reserve and our collection of zoo birds, and put in place any measures necessary to help protect them."

Welsh Conservative spokesman for rural affairs, Paul Davies AM, said: "If it is allowed to spread then it could have a devastating impact on poultry farming across Wales.

"The Welsh Government must ensure that all farms provide details of their flocks to the poultry register and are appraised of all relevant safety measures in the event of an outbreak."

Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop urged people to report any sightings of dead waterfowl, or groups of at least five dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.



 China confirms second human bird flu infection this week [Reuters, 22 Dec 2016]

China---.jpg
Health officers in protective clothing cull poultry at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus, in Hong Kong June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Chinese authorities have confirmed a second case of human bird flu infection this week, state media reported late on Wednesday, as South Korea and Japan battle to control outbreaks of the deadly virus.

Local authorities ordered a halt to poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district of Xiamen city, in China's eastern Fujian province, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with the H7N9 avian flu on Sunday, Xinhau reported citing the city's diseases prevention and control center.

The patient is being treated in hospital and is stable condition, it said.

The latest incident comes after Hong Kong confirmed an elderly man was diagnosed with the disease earlier this week.

Both cases come as South Korea and Japan have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, stoking fears of regional spread.

Concerns about the spread of the virulent airborne bird flu comes as farmers in China are preparing for the year's peak demand during Lunar New Year celebrations at the end of January.

In light of the recent outbreaks in nearby countries, they are feeding their flocks more vitamins and vaccines and ramping up henhouse sterilizations in a bid to protect their birds.

On Wednesday, authorities said they would ban imports of poultry from countries where there are outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu. It already prohibits imports from more than 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea.

H7N9 is a bird flu strain first reported to have infected humans in March 2013 in China.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Michael Perry)

Zoonotic Swine Flu News - from 17 Dec 2016



 Swine flu kills one in Chittoor; another tests positive in Visakhapatnam [The New Indian Express, 19 Jan 2017]

19aug_death.jpg
Image used for representational purpose only

VIJAYAWADA: With temperatures dipping, swine flu seems to have made a comeback in the State. A 32-year-old woman from Chittoor district died of swine flu while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Vellore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu while a 26-year-old woman tested positive for the dreaded viral disease in Visakhapatnam in the last 24 hours. Officials have initiated isolation of the families of the victims and a vaccination drive has been launched in the areas.

The 32-year-old victim from Airala mandal in Chittoor district was suspected to have contracted the H1N1 virus from her husband, who recently returned from a visit to Kerala. She was admitted to a hospital in Vellore on Monday after undergoing treatment at a hospital in Chittoor where she had tested positive for H1N1. She breathed her last soon after her treatment began Tuesday.

In Visakhapatnam, DM&HO J Sarojini confirmed that the 26-year-old patient was admitted with symptoms of swine flu last week and tested positive on Monday. She is now undergoing treatment in a private hospital. “Her family members were also tested and given treatment to avoid the spread of the disease. One positive swine flu case was reported in November 2015.

There were no cases in 2016,” she informed.

In 2016, 11 patients from AP were diagnosed with swine flu. Three of them died. The other eight were treated in private hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad.

Against this backdrop, it is pertinent to note that only two isolation wards are available in government hospitals across the State — at the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam and Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) in Tirupati — to treat swine flu patients.

The State does not even have enough number of testing kits. The health department had in fact ‘initiated steps’ to set up district-wise swine flu testing facilities and isolation wards in every district hospital right from 2015. But till now, only two isolation wards and testing centers have materialised.

The State does not have a facility for swine flu virology test and all samples have to be sent to the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Hyderabad. The government general hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur have sent repeated proposals to the health department seeking supply of swine flu test kits. “We have asked the department officials for test kits in November last. As there is a constant shortage, the officials failed to supply them. They assured supply within a week or two,” said M Jaganmohan,

Superintendent of GGH Vijayawada. As of now, Visakhapatnam has stock to cater to about 200-500 patients. “Within a week, three districts will receive the test kits,” clarified V Subbarao, Director of Medical Education.



 Another woman succumbs to swine flu; toll touches 3 [The Times of India, 19 Jan 2017]


HYDERABAD: Swine flu claimed another life on Wednesday after 58-year-old Laxmi, a resident of Saroornagar in the city, succumbed to H1N1 virus while undergoing treatment at the state-run Gandhi hospital.

This is the third swine flu death to be recorded since January 1 after two others - Sanaj Begum, 38, a resident of Nawab Saheb Kunta and 35year-old Manjula from Yadadri district.

Sources said that Laxmi was admitted in a private hospital in Madhapur on January 14 for treatment but was shifted to Gandhi Hospital after a couple of days. She was in a critical condition and the doctors did not get sufficient time to stabilise her condition.

"Due to lack of any regulatory mechanism, some of the private hospitals treating swine flu patients are referring them to Gandhi Hospital only at the last stage," complained a senior health official at Gandhi Hospital, requesting anonymity.

Affordability is said to be an issue with patients, with medium and large-scale corporate hospitals charging anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for a single day ventilator support. In the case of small-scale private hospitals, patients are referred to the state hospital as they do not have ventilator support.

What's worse, the prevailing cold wave condition has shot up the number of H1N1 positive cases to 50 (as on Tuesday) since January 1, said sources. In the last 17 days, swab samples of 370 people were tested at the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM).

Meanwhile, in a health bulletin released by the office of Rajeshwar Tiwari, principal secretary (health), Telangana on Wednesday, the government advised citizens to take precautions such as reporting to the hospital at the very first signs such as like high fever, sneezing, cough and body pains.

The bulletin put the total number of confirmed swine flu cases in the state from August 1, 2016 to January 17, 2017 at 146. This includes nine deaths. It further said that sufficient stock of medicines is available at all state-run teaching hospitals, district hospitals and area hospitals in the state.



 One more dies of swine flu at Gandhi Hospital [Times of India, 17 Jan 2017]


HYDERABAD: One more person succumbed to H1N1 virus in the city on Sunday, taking the toll to 2 this year.

The victim was identified as Sanaj Begum, 38, a resident of Jahanuma, Nawab Saheb Kunta. She died while battling for life on ventilator support at the state-run Gandhi Hospital. Her death comes 10 days after 35-year-old Manjula, a resident of Domalguda and native of Yadadri district, died at the same hospital on January 5.

"We could not save her as she was brought to the hospital in the last stage. She was on ventilator support for three days. Early hospitalisation could have made all the difference," said Dr J V Reddy, superintendent of Gandhi Hospital.
Sources blamed a city-based private hospital for delayed referral to Gandhi Hospital only after realising that they could not provide ventilator support to the victim.
Latest Comment

BETTER TO BE CAREFUL AND AVOID EXPOSURE TO INFECTED PATIENTS.
Azad Hind

Overall, 35 confirmed swine flu patients are currently under treatment in private hospitals. In all the cases, swab samples were found to be H1N1 positive by the Institute of Preventive Medicine. Of the 35 cases since January 1, 15 were from Hyderabad district, followed by 20 cases from Ranga Reddy and Medchal, including Patancheru. Six new cases were reported in the city on Monday — three from Hyderabad, two from Ranga Reddy/Medchal and one from Patancheru.

Health officials told TOI that the prevailing cold wave condition in the city is likely to aggravate H1N1 infections unless adequate preventive measures are taken."Swine flu tends to occur and spread more in cold weather even though the virus is in circulation throughout the year. Preventive measures include vaccination, keeping distance from people suffering from cough and cold, frequent washing of hands and avoiding undue exposure to cold weather," said Dr Hari Kishan Boorugu, consultant general physician at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda. Experts advise people battling diabetes, those above 65 years as well as those suffering from kidney problems and asthma to protect themselves from the cold.



 Suspected swine flu death creates flutter in Chittoor [The Hindu, 17 Jan 2017]

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Medical and paramedical staff at an emergency camp organised in Chukkavaripalle of Irala mandal in Chittoor district on Tuesday. Photo Credit: By Arrangement

CHITTOOR: The death of a homemaker reportedly due to swine flu led to a commotion at Chukkavaripalle village of Irala mandal in the district. The medical authorities are yet to confirm the reason behind the casualty, and said they are awaiting the reports.

The 28-year-old homemaker had complained of illness last week and was treated at a couple of private hospitals. A couple of days ago, she was admitted the CMC Hospital at Vellore, where she died on Monday. Her body was brought to the native village for the last rites on Tuesday.

Medical Officer (Irala mandal) A. Leela told The Hindu that the woman had undertaken a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. “When she complained of fever and symptoms related to swine-flu, she got treated at private hospitals by the family members. She was rushed to the CMC hospital in Vellore, after her condition deteriorated. We are trying to get the reports from the CMC to ascertain whether it is a case of swine-flu casualty,”she said.

The medical official said that two children of the deceased (both aged below 10) were taken to the SVIMS Hospital in Tirupati on Tuesday, and they tested negative to the H1N1 virus. The woman's husband, a motor mechanic, was also diagnosed negative. “As a precautionary measure, we have administered concerned drugs to the family members,” the medical officer said. She appealed to the people in rural areas to immediately rush to the public health centres, area hospitals and government hospital in Tirupati, if they were suffering from the symptoms of swine-flu such as constant fever, cold and body rashes.

An emergency health camp was arranged at the village, and throat swabs were collected from the residents for diagnosis. Dr. Leela in cooperation with the panchayat officials and village elders launched the sanitation drive at several villages in the mandal, including cleaning of water tanks and removal of stagnant water.

Chittoor district, flanked by the borders of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, witnessed a furore last year, with several cases of swine-flu getting reported, including some casualties.



 Nagaur reports first swine flu of the year [Times of India 17 Jan 2017]


JAIPUR: The state's first swine flu case of the New Year was reported in Nagaur. A 40-year-old male from Didwana in Nagaur district has been reported with the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Following this, the health department has issued a swine flu alert. According to department officials, only one case has been reported so far.

"We have issued an alert to all our officials in various districts to remain alert on swine flu," a senior department official said.

The first case was reported on January 5. Chief medical health officer (Nagaur) Dr Sukumar Kashyap said that they have taken all the steps to prevent the spread of swine flu in the district.
The last case of swine flu, reported in Nagaur, was in July 2016.

Officials said that since the disease has often been seen to resurface during winters, all preventive measures to control its spread have been taken.

If more such cases come to light, the department is planning to set up separate OPD counters for influenza like illness.

"We are taking measures to identify suspected swine flu cases at an early stage. Early diagnosis and treatment will prevent mortality and spread of the disease," he said.

The health department has made arrangements for collecting swab samples for swine flu testing. "At present, we do not have swine flu testing facilities in district hospitals. But, we can transport swab samples from district hospitals to seven government medical colleges, Desert Medicine Research Centre in Jodhpur and three private laboratories for flu testing," he said.

In Jaipur too, health department officials are on flu alert. "We have asked our officials in each block and also in Jaipur city to remain on swine flu alert. So far, no case has been reported from the city," chief medical health officer (Jaipur) Dr Narottam Sharma said.



 Vishrantwadi woman succumbs to swine flu [Times of India, 16 Jan 2017]

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(Representative image)

PUNE: A 63-year-old woman succumbed to swine flu at private hospital here on January 12. This is the H1N1 casualty registered within a week in Pune.

The city recorded the year's first swine flu casualty on January 8 when a 36-year-old man from Loni Kalbhor died of the infection at a city hospital.

In view of the two casualties within a short time, doctors have advised people to be alert and take precautions to ward off the disease.

The woman developed influenza like illness from January 5. She had fever with rigors, cough and breathlessness. A patient of multiple myeloma (blood cancer), the woman was admitted to KEM hospital on January 7.

"She developed septicaemia with multi-organ failure and died around 10.15am on January 12.

She also had other underlying medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and hypothyroidism. Her throat swab sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) had tested positive for swine flu," said a health official of Pune Municipal Corporation.

Last year, swine flu had infected 29 patients and claimed 10 lives at different hospitals in the city. Among the dead, four were local residents while the rest were referred to hospitals here from adjoining areas.

"People with medical conditions like obesity, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and immunosuppression, liver disorders, pregnancy, hypertension and neurological disorders are more vulnerable to swine flu infection and its severity," said senior paediatrician Sharad Agarkhedkar, former vice-president of the state chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA).

"People with flu-like symptoms should also exercise caution while venturing out," they said.



 Officials rule out H1N1 outbreak in Tiruvallur [Times of India, 13 Jan 2017]

CHENNAI: Twenty five people from Tiruvallur admitted to various hospitals in the city with symptoms of H1N1 have tested negative for the flu, public health officials said on Thursday.

One child who tested positive for the infection is undergoing treatment in the Institute of Child Health at Egmore, while the postmortem reports of three people from the same locality in Tiruvallur who died are yet to come.

Twenty six people, including 21 children, are now undergoing treatment at ICH and Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital. "All of them have been diagnosed with viral pneumonia or lower respiratory tract infection," said director of public health K Kolandaswamy. They tested negative for vector and water-borne infections like dengue, typhoid and jaundice, he added .

All the patients live in 16 huts beside a canal on Ellaiamman Koil Street, New Gummudipoondi. The infection came to light on Saturday when a village health nurse went there to meet a pregnant woman who skipped a blood test at a primary health centre in Kavarapatti. "The nurse found she had had an abortion and she was running a temperature. Others in the locality had similar symptoms, including cough, cold and fever," said DPH deputy director J Prabhakaran. They were rushed to government hospitals in Chennai, around 40km away.

While Srinivasan, 28, and Angammal, 54, died on Monday, Ramesh, 20, passed away on Tuesday.

Doctors initially suspected the cases to be H1N1, but reports on Thursday ruled out the infection. "All the patients are stable and are being closely monitored in the isolation wards," said a senior paediatrician at ICH. Patient attenders, doctors and paramedical staff have also been given medicines to prevent cross infection in the hospital.

H1N1 is a contagious strain of influenza virus spread through saliva and mucus particles. It may be spread by sneezing, coughing, touching a germ-covered surface.

The health department has set up a round-the-clock medical camp in the locality and around 57 health inspectors and village health nurses are going from door-to-door surveying people who may have similar symptoms. "We are covering around 982 houses in New Gummudipoondi area," said Prabhakaran.



 Tamil Nadu: Eight-year-old diagnosed with H1N1 remains stable [Deccan Chronicle, 13 Jan 2017]

The health department urged the public to go for check ups in case of respiratory problems.

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Health minister C. Vijaya Baskar, health secretary J. Radhakrishnan, other health officials and Tiruvallur collector E. Sundaravalli visited the spot on Thursday morning. (Representational image)

Chennai: Eight-year-old Lokesh, who has been infected by the deadly H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, is now stable, the health department said on Thursday while asking the public not to panic since elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure treatment.

The health department urged the public to go for check ups in case of respiratory problems following the admission of many from Erikarai, Pudu Gummidipoondi with the same. Health minister C. Vijaya Baskar, health secretary J. Radhakrishnan, other health officials and Tiruvallur collector E. Sundaravalli visited the spot on Thursday morning.

On the initiatives being undertaken by the health department, Director, public health department, Dr. Kulandaisamy said, “28,000 people from Tiruvallur district are to be checked in mobile camps, of which, 3,000 have already completed their checkups.”

Sources say that the district collector and rural development department will ensure new settlement houses for the 13 affected families within 60 days.

Five members of the community of 57 continue to be under treatment at the Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, while 13 children are admitted at the Institute of Child Health and Children’s Hospital (ICH), Egmore. “Lokesh is among the 13 at ICH. 26 people have been found to have respiratory infection and are being administered antibiotics and antibacterial medicines,” he stated

“Swine flu has already been downgraded as a seasonal flu. However, as far as people with co- morbidities or co-conditions are concerned, and old people, the diabetic, pregnant women and children, we have to be extra careful,” said the health secretary.

“Adequately, the general sensitization of all the districts has also been done. The state has more than adequate stock of almost 11 lakh tamilflu tablets and syrups. This is also being made available in all the primary health centres in case of any isolated instance,” he added.

He said that there is no cause of panic or worry in this instance as it is limited to the Irula community habitation - which was huts with very little ventilation, with chances of spread.



 Swine flu on the rise in Hyderabad as 107 positive cases found [PharmaBiz, 13 Jan 2017]


The menace of Swine flu is slowly starting to haunt the residents of Hyderabad once again in the New Year. So far the medical and healthcare officials have tested 2717 cases and found 107 positive swine flu cases in Hyderabad and surrounding districts.

As the temperatures are dipping lower, the months from January to March are very much crucial as the cold temperatures help thrive this deadly virus. “In the recent times, the dipping temperatures have helped accelerate the evolution of the swine flu virus in the city. One needs to be very careful as the dry and cold weather with winds blowing with dust carries this virus through air,” observed a senior Medical officer from Ghandi Medical College.

Recently 6 cases of severe swine flu have been reported in just three days at the Ghandi Medical college hospital in the city among them one is already reported to have died. A female patient of 35 years of age from Yadadri district died due to swine flu in just 3 hours of her admitting to the hospital. “We had already taken the blood samples of the women and sent it to the institute of preventive medicine but the report of confirmation came only after two days after her death. We could not save her life because she came to us in the last stage with severe condition,” informed the medical officer.

According to district medical and health officials, there has been a sudden surge of swine flu cases in the Ghandi Hospital. Usually Ghandi Hospital releases regular bulletins on the number of patients tested for swine flu and takes all the necessary measures to ensure early treatment of patients but some of the patients are admitted to the hospital with severe conditions giving very less scope to the doctors to plan a treatment strategy. “We have been releasing regular updates on swine flu virus and asking the general public to be cautious and vigil. Anyone who is having the symptoms of running nose, heavy fever, Cough, Sore throat, Watery, red eyes, Body aches, Headache, Fatigue and diarrhea and nausea and vomiting must immediately attend the doctor. If neglected H1N1 virus will further get intensified making the patient severely ill,” observed the healthcare experts.

The healthcare officials advised that people must follow the cough etiquette and cover their mouth with kerchiefs or air filters napkins to avoid further spreading it to others. “we are having enough stocks of medicines at all the district and teaching hospitals in the state. We are providing all necessary testing kits to all the hospitals and also providing fee testing facility at the institute of preventive medicine,” informed the officer.



 Woman from Chickballapur dies of H1N1 [The Hindu, 12 Jan 2017]

She was admitted to a hospital in Bengaluru

A woman from Chickballapur district has fallen victim to H1N1. She has been identified as Mamata (36), a resident of Kammaganahalli.

Mamata, who was suffering from frequent fever, was first treated at the Primary Health Centre at Peresandra and later at a private hospital in Chickballapur town on December 25. She was admitted to Columbia Asia Hospital in Bengaluru on December 27 where she tested positive for H1N1 and was under treatment. She died in the hospital on January 9.

One more positive case of H1N1 was reported from Gowribidanur taluk. Hanumegowda, a resident of Namagundlu, has been admitted to a private hospital in Bengaluru for further treatment.

The fact that both Mamata and Hanumegowda recently visited various places bordering Andhra Pradesh on separate occasions has created suspicion about prevalence of the disease in that State.

District Health Officer Ravishankar and zilla panchayat Chief Executive Officer J. Manjunath have directed the Health Department officials and staff to take precautionary measures to allay fears among the people.

“People need not panic about H1N1. Free treatment is available at District Hospital”, Dr. Ravishankar said. ASHA workers are visiting houses to create awareness.

Dr. Ravishankar said that a letter will be written to the Health and Family Welfare Department of
Andhra Pradesh seeking information regarding the prevalence of disease in that State.
Five deaths in 2015

As many as 17 positive cases of H1N1 were reported in Chickballapur district in 2015. Among them five died without responding to treatment.



 Swine flu scare hits Irular community in Tiruvallur: 3 dead, several kids hospitalised [The News Minute, 12 Jan 2017]

by Pheba Mathew
One more child has been tested positive for H1N1 virus.

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The Irular tribe living in Erikarai in Pudu Gummidipoondi village in Tiruvallur district is having a hard time after the death of three people who were suffering from swine flu on Tuesday.

One more child has been tested positive for H1N1 virus and has been kept in isolation in the Institute of Child Health (ICH) at Egmore.

The horror started on Monday when three people fell sick. "They had high fever and were later shifted to Stanley Hospital in Chennai where they passed away. On Tuesday, a medical camp was set up in Erikarai and all the people were tested for swine flu," said Mariamman from Sarpam Irular Thozhilali Sangam, an organisation which works with Irular tribes in Gumminipoondi.

The three residents who died were Ramesh (35), Sreenivasan (20) and Angalammal (54).

Children and adults who were serious were immediately shifted to ICH and Stanley Hospital. "While 13 children have been admitted to the hospital in Egmore, seven more children and five adults are undergoing treatment at Stanley Hospital," said Prabhakaran, District Medical Officer, Tiruvallur district.

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However, he confirmed that all of them are stable. "Only one child has been kept in isolation as her H1N1 test came positive. Two people are on oxygen support but no one is on ventilator and everyone is improving. The fever has subsided and they are being given doses of medicines for the last three days," he added.

There are 13 families living in Erikarai and most of them work as daily wage workers. According to Mariamman "they eat food once in the whole day. They do not have money for anything. These children would not have got any proper nutrients and fell ill."

Speaking to The News Minute, Saroja (22), a daily wage labourer from Erikarai said, "Four of my five children are in the hospital. All of them have cough and cold. They have been complaining of body pain. My husband has also been admitted. Here at least the children are getting proper food."

A relative of a child admitted at the ICH, Murali (28), said, "A few days after the cyclone was over, people started becoming sick in our village. Everyone thought it must be normal cold or cough. But after the death (of three people), everyone became scared and shifted their children to hospitals," he said.

Most of the people in Erikarai are either admitted in hospitals in Chennai or the medical centre started by the government in Gummidipoondi. "There are not enough people to look after the sick as most of them are admitted or are being tested. The result for people admitted in Stanley Hospital is yet to be given,” said Tilakraj, founder of Sevai Karangal, another NGO helping the Irular community.

Two doctors and one nurse have been sent along with the 13 children admitted at ICH, he added.



 Swine flu virus: Three-month-old baby infected in Telangana [News Nation, 12 Jan 2017]


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Telangana: Three-month-old baby infected with Swine flu virus (File Photo)

A three-month-old baby has been affected with Swine flu virus in Telengana, six deaths and 116 swine flu cases have been registered in Telangana since August 2016.

New Delhi : Swine flu cases are seen making a comeback in a southern state of Telangana which includes fresh death. A three-month-old baby has been affected with the virus in the region.

According to the reports, the child is receiving treatment at Hyderabad's Rainbow Hospital.On Wednesday, four other cases are being reported in the city.

Six deaths and 116 swine flu cases have been registered in Telangana since August 2016, a state health official told PTI on Tuesday.

Around 2,717 samples of swine flu was tested till January 5, out of which 107 were positive, according to a swine flu bulletin issued by the state health and family welfare department on January 6.

In the bulletin released it has advised citizens to take precautions like reporting to hospitals upon noticing first symptoms of swine flu like high fever, sneezing cough and body pains.

As there is sufficient stock of medicines and adequate testing kits are available in the state.
It has also advised doctors to admit patients and isolate them in the case of suspecting swine flu.

(With PTI Inputs)



 Swine Flu: Reports of two more awaited [The New Indian Express, 12 Jan 2017]

HYDERABAD: Sample reports of two more patients at Gandhi Hospital, who are suspected to have contracted Swine Flu, are awaited.

On Sunday, a 35-year-old woman, from Yadadri, died after contracting swine flu. It is learnt that she was critical when admitted at Gandhi Hospital.

While there are no more critical patients getting treated at the hospital, doctors did not negate possibility of more patients getting admitted.

Earlier, specialists assumed that incidence of the flu is higher in winters and plummets during summers.

However, after cases were reported in 2015 summer, doctors said incidence of flu is no more limited to seasons.

“Genetic mutations might be the reason for incidence of flu during unusual times,” said Dr K Narasimhulu, former state’s swine flu nodal officer.

“Swine flu cases were reported even during onset of summers. The best method to prevent is early isolation of patient,” said Dr SV Masood, deputy superintendent at Gandhi Hospital.



 19 with H1N1 symptoms in Chennai hospitals [The Times of India, 12 Jan 2017]

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CHENNAI: Five children from Ellaiamman Koil Street, Erikarai, at New Gummudipoondi in Tiruvallur district were admitted to the Institute of Child Health at Egmore on Wednesday morning with respiratory ailments, suspected to be H1N1.

Three residents of the street died in the last two days following viral pneumonia. Fourteen other residents of the street are being treated in two state-run hospitals following complaints of cough, cold and fever. TNN Fourteen other residents of the street, including 10 children, are being treated in two state-run hospitals in the city following complaints of cough, cold and fever.

"We have sent sputum samples to a laboratory to test for H1N1. The results are expected on Thursday ," said director of public health Dr K Kolandasamy.

At least 50 people live in about 15 huts beside a canal and are daily wagers.

On Mon day, doctors conducted a medical camp after a pregnant woman admitted to the local primary health centre informed the doctors about respiratory illnesses among her neighbours.

Preliminary investigation by doctors in the village showed half of them had symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection. "We referred some people to the hospitals and they are being given anti-viral medication twice a day for five days.

As a preventive measure, the other residents too are being given the same medication once a day for 10 days," said Tiruvallur deputy director of health Dr J Prabhakaran.


Of the 150-odd families in the village, only 15 were not given the land ownership documents. Fifty members of these tribal groups were living under thatched roofs along a canal.

"The tahsildar is working on identifying land for them and it will be handed over at the earliest.

We will also ensure they get support to build their own houses," she said.On Tuesday , senior health officials, who conducted fever surveillance camps in the area told officials that these families needed houses for better health.




 Hyderabad woman dies of swine flu, authorities urge precautions [The News Minute (press release) , 10 Jan 2017]

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The maximum number of cases (50) were reported from Ranga Reddy district while Hyderabad accounted for 40 cases.

One more person died of swine flu in Telangana, taking the death toll to six since August 2016, a health official said.

A 35-year-old woman died at government-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. The woman from Yadadri district, who was admitted to the hospital a few days ago, died on Sunday but this was confirmed by the authorities on Tuesday.

According to health officials, a total of 2,762 samples were tested from August 1, 2016 to January 7. Out of these, 112 samples were found positive.

The maximum number of cases (50) were reported from Ranga Reddy district while Hyderabad accounted for 40 cases.

Doctors said since the winter season might continue for another month, people should take all precautions.

The health department has advised people to approach the hospital at the first symptoms of swine flu like high fever, sneezing, cough and body pain.

It asked hospitals to isolate people having symptoms of swine flu and send their samples to Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM).

If patients are unwilling to get admitted to private hospitals, they have been asked to shift them to Gandhi Hospital, which is the nodal centre for swine flu for the entire state.

Officials said that sufficient stock of medicines was available at all teaching hospitals, district and area hospitals.

"There are enough testing kits and kits for Viral Transport Medium (VTM). IPM is also providing free testing services to all in-patients from private hospitals," said an official statement.

Homeopathic medicines can also be taken as a precautionary measure. These medicines were available free of cost in government homeopathic hospitals, Ramanthapur in Hyderabad and at all AYUSH dispensaries.



 Three die of suspected H1N1 near Chennai [The Times of India, 10 Jan 2017]

By Pushpa Narayan

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Three die of suspected H1N1 at New Gummudipoondi near Chennai

CHENNAI: Three people from Ellaiamman Koil Street at New Gummudipoondi in Tiruvallur district have died since Monday following viral pneumonia, which doctors suspect to be H1N1. Fourteen other residents, including 10 children, from the same street, have been admitted to two state-run hospitals in the city following complaints of cough, cold and fever.
Srinivasan, 28, and Angammal, 54, died on Monday while Ramesh, 20, succumbed to the illness on Tuesday.

Nearly 50 residents, belonging to the irula community, live by the side of a canal in about 15 huts and work as daily labourers. "Symptoms in these patients look like an infective viral pneumonia, resembling H1N1. Test results are expected on Thursday, but we gave all the patients and their relatives Tamiflu. They live together in small dwelling units. So, there is a severe cross infection. More than half of the people in the area had symptoms of respiratory infection," said director of public health Dr K Kolandasamy, who was leading a team of doctors camping in New Gummudipoondi.

Doctors at Stanley Medical College Hospital and Institute of Child health said 14 other patients, who have been admitted to their hospitals, were stable. "Many of them have severe lower respiratory tract infection but they are responding well to treatment so far," said a senior paediatrician at the Institute of Child Health.

Meanwhile, residents of Ellaiamman Koil Street have been moved to a community home in the same village. Residents told doctors that many of them had been suffering from severe cold and cough for a few days. However, they had not met a doctor because they assumed it wasn't anything serious, said DPH deputy director Dr J Prabhakaran.

On Saturday, a village health nurse visited the street to meet a pregnant woman who skipped a blood test the previous day at a primary health centre in Kavarapatti. "When a pregnant woman skips tests, these nurses visit them in their house. The nurse found that the woman had an abortion. She was tired and was running temperature. The nurse admitted the woman to the health centre," said Dr Prabhakaran.

The woman's two children, aged six and eight, accompanied her to the hospital. Doctors in the PHC found that the children had respiratory problems and high temperature. When they heard that several others in the village had symptoms, senior officials were alerted.

On Monday, a team of doctors and paramedic found more than 20 people with respiratory symptoms. Three of them had severe respiratory distress and 14 others had severe symptoms. "I wish we had organised a camp on Sunday," said Dr Kolandasamy.



 Tests positive for H1N1, dies [The Hindu, 7 Jan 2017]

A 58-year-old woman, who tested positive for H1N1 influenza, died at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore on Friday. However, public health officials said she was already under treatment for a chronic disease.

An official said M. Devika, a resident of Karai in Ranipet, was admitted to the hospital with pre-existing illness on December 27. She was diagnosed with H1N1 influenza.

Hospital authorities said the death has been communicated to the public health authorities. The Public Health official said she had chronic kidney disease and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

“We will inquire if the person suffered from any other condition or if she had high risk factors that led to the death,” he said.



 First case of swine flu reported in Uttar Pradesh [The Times of India, 6 Jan 2017]

by Yusra Husain

India H1N1.jpg


LUCKNOW: With the new year, swine flu has also struck its first victim in Uttar Pradesh, affecting a 55-year old woman from Allahabad. Currently admitted to a private hospital in Lucknow, the woman was tested positive with the H1N1 influenza virus at the virology lab of Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS).

According to officials at the health department, Tamil flu, the treating medicine for the flu, has been given to the patient, her family and treating doctors, as a preventive step. The patient has also been moved to an isolation ward to curtail the spread of the virus.

"As of now, it appears that the woman had a travel history, which is how the virus could have seized her. Hospitals already had orders to be prepared for swine flu management and stricter orders to maintain an isolation ward and keep medicines in full supply, have been issued further," said Dr GS Bajpai, chief medical officer (CMO), Lucknow district. PPE (personal protection effective) kit and N-95 masks have also been stocked at government hospitals according to officials.

While this is the first swine flu case of the season, from January to May last year (2016), a total of 122 swine flu cases had been reported by the health department. Incidentally, officials informed that in January 2016, the first case of the season, was also reported on the same day.

From this season onwards, four more virology labs in the state those in the medical colleges of Jhansi, Meerut, Gorakhpur and Kanpur will start testing cases for swine flu. This will be in addition to the labs in Lucknow's King George's Medical University (KGMU), Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) and in Saifai.

Health department had previously ordered for vaccination against the flu be made available for persons with chronic illness such as pulmonary disorders, bronchial asthma, heart, liver and kidney diseases, blood disorders, diabetes and cancer, at government health care centres, in addition to health care workers dealing with the testing and treatment of the influenza.

PRECAUTIONS FOR SWINE FLU

・Cover your face while coughing, sneezing and talking.
・Drink plenty of fluids and take Vitamin C
・Take proper rest
・Maintain a distance of 5 feet from swine flu patient till the time the infection prevails.
・Patient should wear a mask as also the people around him.
・The room should be a properly ventilated one in isolation, either in hospital or at home.



 First ‘SWINE FLU’ death in Kashmir Authorities ask people to exercise caution [Greater Kashimir, 31 Dec 2016]

by ZEHRU NISSA

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The State Health authorities on Friday issued an advisory on H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu) following a death of a patient who had tested positive for the virus. While authorities asserted that there was no need to panic, they however stressed on the need to exercise caution.

The 43-year old man from south Kashmir (name withheld), who had tested positive for H1N1 influenza and had developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) died at the SMHS hospital on December 21, sources told Greater Kashmir.

Following the death and with some neighbouring states reporting new suspected and confirmed cases of the Swine flu, the Government Medical College Srinagar (GMC), Srinagar, today issued a public advisory on H1N1 influenza.

Medical Superintendent SMHS, Dr Nazir A Chaudhary said the patient was the lone case of the Flu the SMHS hospital had received. “We have already taken adequate precautionary measures and we have administered prophylaxis to his attendants,” he said.

The GMC health officials stressed that H1N1 flu was ‘endemic’ implying that the cases were found quite often in this geographical area without causing much of a virulent activity in most cases. “It is not expected to cause an outbreak because this virus has been in the community like many other microbes,” Dr Saleem Khan HoD Social and Preventive Medicine GMC Srinagar said.

At SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, officials said no positive case for H1N1 had been reported although a few influenza cases had been confirmed.

Dr Parvaiz A Kaul, influenza expert and HoD Internal Medicine SKIMS, said currently there was “some circulation of virus in our state”, but quite like the “normal flu”.

“H1N1 is the major strain of circulating viruses right now,” he said. He however cautioned that the state has seen similar pattern of the virus as has seen in New Delhi.”

“A spike in cases was expected,” he said, adding it takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to build immunity against the virus.

“Necessary precautions on the community level, health authorities said, were the best way to safeguard against this and other flu, for the masses,” said a doctor.

He said considering the past behaviour of the virus, it was advisable to go for influenza vaccination, especially for children, pregnant women, elderly, diabetics and patients with kidney and lung diseases, asthmatics, and health care workers.

“Injectibles vaccines are currently available in market, and the heath advisory by GMC stated that nasal spray vaccines were also available and very effective as an individual level measure,” the doctor said.

In the beginning of 2015, in the span of three months, at least 26 people had died due to H1N1 influenza, the government had told the state legislature.

Doctors said that mass testing was not required and only those patients that the doctors felt required to be tested must go for it. H1N1 testing facilities were available at SKIMS Soura as well as GMC Srinagar, authorities said.



 Swine flu rears its head as mercury dips in Delhi [Daily News & Analysis, 23 Dec 2016]

by ASTHA SAXENA

Two cases reported from AIIMS; doctors suggest frequent hand-washing and avoiding crowded places to prevent infection

Just when the deadly dengue and chikungunya were taking their leave from the Capital, a dip in temperature has led to childen complaining about flu-like symptoms. Doctors are claiming that many kids have symptoms of H1N1 influenza, more commonly known as the swine flu.

The minimum temperature recorded on Thursday was 8 degrees Celsius while the maximum hovered around 24 degrees Celsius. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that minimum temperature on Friday and Saturday will be 8 degrees Celsius and 9 degrees Celsius, respectively, while the maximum temperature is expected to be nearly 25 degrees Celsius.

Dr SP Byotra, Senior Consultant with the Department of Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: “This is the time when cases of viral fever and swine flu go up. We are witnessing a rise in the number of patients with viral fever, bodyache, vomiting and cough. The cases of H1N1 surface during this time of the year and then continue for long.” Two cases of swine flu have already been reported from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

“The cases have started to come up. Symptoms of viral fever and H1N1 are similar in the initial stages. We are taking preventive measures and suggesting medicines to children,” said Dr Sangeeta Subudhi, Senior Consultant with the Department of Pediatrics, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.

Swine flu symptoms include fever, cough, nasal secretion, fatigue, headache, bodyache and sore throat. Frequent hand-washing and avoiding crowded places are among the precautions one should take to avoid the infection. The standard treatment for H1N1 is Tamiflu, which should be taken only on prescription.

There are three categories of the virus — A, B and C. While the first two are considered stable, the C category is dangerous and requires immediate ventilator support.

Meanwhile, not only H1N1 but cases of pneumonia, typhoid and malaria are being reported by city doctors. New born babies, prone to infections, are catching diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. “Most infant deaths in the first week are due to a weak immune system,” said Dr VK Paul, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS.

The Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report for 2016, released recently by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stated that the top five countries with the highest global burden of child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

“Even in today’s time, most children are dying of these two infections. In 2016, more than 12 lakh children under the age of five died in India. Of these deaths, pneumonia caused more than 1.7 lakh deaths and diarrhoea was responsible for more than 1.2 lakh deaths,” Dr Paul added.



 FLU SEASON IS HERE, SAY HEALTH OFFICIALS [WDEF News, 19 Dec 2016]

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Flu season is starting to take hold across the country, and U.S. health officials are urging everyone who hasn’t gotten a flu shot yet to get one now.

“Flu activity is still pretty low, but it’s starting to increase,” Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday.

Although flu is scattered throughout the United States, the hardest hit places so far are New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the Southeast and the Northwest, Brammer said. Most of the virus out there is influenza H3N2, she added. That strain is part of this year’s flu vaccine, according to the CDC.

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“And this week for the first time, we have data on initial hospitalizations,” Brammer said. “The range of hospitalization is still low, however. As you would suspect with a H3N2 season, the highest rate right now is in the elderly.”

The overall rate of hospitalizations for flu is about 2 out of every 100,000 cases. In the elderly it’s 7 per every 100,000, Brammer said. Those numbers are in line with the last four to five years of flu data, she said.

Flu activity will pick up, she said. “We don’t know how severe the season is going to be, so there is still time to get vaccinated. And getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself,” she said.

This year’s season is starting out much like last year, Brammer said. Currently, influenza H3N2 is the predominant strain, she said, although H1N1 is also circulating. Last year, the H3N2 virus started out as the dominant strain, only to be displaced by H1N1 as flu season hit full swing. “It ended up being an H1N1 season,” she said.

“It’s similar to a lot of years right now,” Brammer added. “Things should start to pick up in the next few weeks, but we’ll see. Last year, things didn’t really pick up until the first of the year.”

Last year’s flu season was particularly hard on older people.

In a typical flu season, flu complications — including pneumonia — send more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital. Death rates linked to fluvary annually, but have gone as high as 49,000 in a year, according to the CDC.

Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and March but can last as late as May.

This year’s vaccine contains the strains currently circulating, which makes it a good match, Brammer said. The vaccine supply is also good this year, with more than 131 million doses available, she said.

How effective a vaccine is depends on how good a match it is to the strains of flu virus circulating that year. Most years, the vaccine is between 40 percent and 60 percent effective, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot. “You want to make extra sure for people at high risk, including pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a chronic medical condition,” Brammer said.

Women with newborns also need to get their flu shot to help protect their infants, who can’t be vaccinated until they’re at least 6 months old, the CDC said.

Getting your flu shot soon is important because it can take several weeks to produce enough antibodies to give you maximum protection, officials noted.

One change this year is that the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices does not recommend that the nasal spray vaccine be used by anyone, because it seems less effective than a shot, Brammer said.



 Swine flu checks in: Delhi hospitals confirm season's first outbreak as three patients test POSITIVE [Daily Mail Online India, 17 Dec 2016]

By PRIYANKA SHARMA

The deadly swine flu has returned to the Capital, piggybacking on the winter chill.

Two patients have tested positive at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and one at the neighboring Safdarjung Hospital.

Delhi authorities need to start worrying as the Capital saw over 4,000 patients last winter with a dozen deaths.

3B73651000000578-4041990-image-a-1_1481932237437.jpg Groups vulnerable to H1N1 infection include pregnant women, children under five, the over- 65s and those with serious medical conditions

'People diagnosed with influenza cases bearing fewer complexities have been reported in the past one month. However, at least two patients have tested positive for swine flu till now,' Dr Randeep Guleria, who heads the respiratory division at AIIMS, told Mail Today.

In 2009-10, the H1N1 swine flu pandemic spread from central Mexico to 74 other countries including India, killing an estimated 2,84,000 people, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The respiratory illness originated in pigs, but is now a human disease spread by coughing and sneezing.

Symptoms are similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu – fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and chills.

Vulnerable groups include pregnant women, children under five, the over-65s and those with serious medical conditions.

Dr Guleria said influenza treatment is being given to the patients based on health ministry guidelines.

'We have adequate amount of the drug Tamiflu, diagnostic kits and other equipment required for treatment of the disease.'

'Currently, there is nothing to raise worries about an epidemic of the kind seen last year,' he said.

According to health ministry guidelines, to prevent and contain the outbreak of Influenza-A H1N1 virus, screening, testing and isolation of the patient is done at both government and private hospitals.

3B73643700000578-4041990-image-a-2_1481932246794.jpg Two patients in AIIMS were tested positive of swine flu

Category A and B patients are the ones with mild fever plus cough/sore throat with or without body ache, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting.

They should be treated for the symptoms, which may require home isolation and Oseltamivir.

The patients should be monitored for their progress and reassessed at 24 to 48 hours by the doctor.

No testing of the patient for H1N1 is required.

Patients should confine themselves at home and avoid mixing with public and high-risk members in the family.

Category C patients are the one complaining of breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness, fall in blood pressure, sputum mixed with blood, bluish discolouration of nails, etc.

These include children with influenza-like illness who had a severe disease as manifested by the red flag signs (Somnolence, high and persistent fever, inability to feed well, convulsions, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, etc).

All these patients require testing, immediate hospitalisation and treatment. At Safdarjung Hospital, one patient has been diagnosed with swine flu.

'He is in critical condition and undergoing treatment in ICU,' a senior doctor told Mail Today.

3B6C84A400000578-4041990-image-a-3_1481932279048.jpg
A patient has his blood taken to be tested at a fever clinic especially set up to cater to those suffering from fever, one of the main symptoms of several mosquito-borne diseases, at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital

RML Hospital too is reportedly examining some suspected cases. Experts say such cross-species infections occur most commonly when people are in close proximity to large numbers of pigs, such as in barns, livestock exhibits at fairs, and slaughterhouses.

'When the severity of the infection increases in the body it affects lungs, causing breathlessness and posing a threat to life,' said Dr Guleria.

India recorded over 1,800 deaths during the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic, with 600 of them reported in Maharashtra.

The outbreak in 2013 killed at least 600 people.

The most common cause of death is respiratory failure, apart from pneumonia (leading to sepsis) high fever (leading to neurological problems), dehydration (from excessive vomiting and diarrhoea), electrolyte imbalance and kidney failure.

Some of the same anti-viral drugs that are used to treat seasonal flu also work against H1N1 swine flu.

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab), and zanamivir (Relenza) seem to work best, although some kinds of swine flu don't respond to oseltamivir, say experts.

With the decreasing temperature, cases of swine flu are likely to go up, said doctors, as the virus becomes more active in dropping temperature.

'For preventive measures, people should use masks in crowded places,' Dr Guleria said, adding that good standards of hygiene must be followed.

Recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control, such as frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public.

Chance of transmission is also reduced by disinfecting household surfaces, which can be done effectively with a diluted chlorine bleach solution.
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