Summary of Worldwide High Path AI Updates
The following HPAI updates have been summarized from recent releases from ProMED and WATTAgNet (May 6, 2017)
May 5. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) serotype H7N3 has been reported in a Mexican commercial layer farm. The 151,000 bird flock had been vaccinated against the disease beforehand and did not show any clinical signs. The farm is under quarantine and the birds were sent to an authorized slaughterhouse near the site. Quarantine zones were established and the epidemiological investigation is on-going. This is the same type of HPAI that ravaged Mexico poultry industry in 2012.
On May 4, H5N8 high path avian flu was confirmed near Thornton, Wyre, Lancashire in a small backyard flock of chickens. A second backyard flock of chickens and ducks was confirmed with the same virus on May 6.
The most recent case of H5N8 in poultry in England was confirmed on 24 February 2017 and the last finding in wild birds was on 10 March 2017. Prior to this finding, UK authorities had announced the lifting the AI Prevention Zone and the Ban on Poultry Gatherings in place across England, effective May 15.
France: temporary ban on rearing ducks, geese
In the municipalities of southwest France where the great majority of HPAI outbreaks caused by the H5N8 virus have occurred since last November, a ban was put in place on April 17 on the commercial farming of all ducks and geese, according the agriculture ministry. Some 2000 farms were ordered to slaughter their birds and go into fallow.
Providing no HPAI viruses are detected in the meantime, the ban on duck and goose farming will be lifted on May 28. During this period, along with the depopulation, producers have been called on to strengthen measures to exclude wild birds from poultry feed, water sources and range areas, to clean and disinfect buildings, and to dispose of all potentially infectious litter and manure. These measures apply even to farmers who do not intend to return to domestic waterfowl production.
Since Nov. 2016, some 4 million birds have been depopulated on 485 infected farms. Last year , an outbreak forced a 2-week halt in foie gras production in 4000 poultry farms.
Russia’s veterinary authority has reported two new outbreaks of HPAI caused by the H5N8 virus. Affected were a farm with more than 99,000 poultry in Rostov oblast, and a small backyard flock in Moscow oblast.
Hungary officials have reported four new outbreaks of HPAI to the OIE, all starting in the second week of April. All these outbreaks involved geese, leading to the loss of more than 5,500 birds of varying ages. Three of the outbreaks were in the same district.
An outbreak of H5N8 bird flu has been detected at a hen farm in eastern Sweden, the country’s board of agriculture said on [Tue 25 Apr 2017].
Sweden eased restrictions on bird farms earlier this month. Bird flu was detected at a Swedish hen farm in December 2016 and has also been found in several wild birds in the country
South Korea– More than one quarter of the layer population in South Korea has been lost to the disease in past six months. In South Korea, more than 37.8 million poultry have been culled to control the spread of H5N6 HPAI, which first hit the country in November last year, reports the Yonhap news agency. Included in this figure are 25.2 million hens, bringing the country’s population of egg-layers down by more than 26 percent to 51.6 million, as of March 1.
Taiwan has been battling to control HPAI of the H5N2 variant in poultry for more than two years. 112 outbreaks with 1,034,000,000 birds died or destroyed
There were a further eight outbreaks of the disease in the week starting March 31. Affected were seven flocks of native chickens and one of geese, and more than 138,000 birds died or were destroyed as a result.
China has culled 80 000 chickens in the country’s north after detecting an outbreak of H7N9 bird flu on a farm of layer hens, said the agriculture ministry on [Fri 5 May 2017].
Infection with bird flu usually peaks during winter months and tails off in the spring but cases of H7N9 have been unusually high in the country since last year .
More than 200 people have died since last October  and new cases continue to be reported, with the latest fatality occurring in Shaanxi province this week [week of 30 Apr 2017].
Outbreaks among birds have spread northwards, and the virus has evolved from a low pathogenic one into one with more serious symptoms.
There have been two confirmed outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in backyard flocks in the last week. There were 6 cases of H5N6 reported in backyard flocks in April