Second bird flu death in Hong Kong this winter

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has confirmed the death of a 62 year old man from avian flu.

The man had been traveling from mainland China. He was the second person to die of avian influenza in Hong Kong this winter. The first patient died on Christmas Day.

The man, who visited the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in mid-December and was hospitalised in the neighboring city of Dongguan earlier in the week, died from H7N9.

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UK Avian Flu Prevention Zone extended until 28 February

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer has extended a Prevention Zone to help protect poultry from avian flu.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since 6 December will be extended until 28 February 2017 to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu. The Protection Zone was originally to run until 6 January.

The Prevention 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.

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New avian flu outbreak in south Wales

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has confirmed Avian Influenza H5N8 in a back yard flock of chickens and ducks on a premises near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire.

Prior to confirmation it was decided to cull the birds on strong suspicion of disease.

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading and as part of the wider surveillance and disease control measures.

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Avian flu found on RSPB nature reserves

RSPB Frampton Marsh nature reserve, Lincolnshire The highly pathonegic avian influenza H5N8 has been found in wildfowl on two RSPB reserves in England.

The virus has been detected in dead birds found at Frampton Marsh nature reserve in Lincolnshire and Marshside reserve in Southport, Merseyside.

Following advice from Public Health England the RSPB is not initially closing the reserves. Signage at the affected sites provides guidance to visitors, emphasising the importance of hygiene. Visitors should take care to avoid physical contact with dead or sick birds, which should be reported to site staff or directly to the Defra hotline (03459 33 55 77).

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Bird flu in Nigeria – 9000 birds culled in Kano

Kano State government in northern Nigeria has so far culled 9,000 birds since avian flu reappeared in the state in mid December.

This was confirmed by Dr Shehu Bawa, the Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The birds were killed at two poultry farms that had been infected with the disease in the state.

Dr Bawa announced that the ministry was increasing surveillance and disinfection of other farms to check the spread of the disease.

He also urged the Nigeria Government to pay compensation to farmers who lost their birds as this would help prevent the spread of the disease. Farmers are more likely to report outbreaks if know they will receive compensation for any birds that are killed.


Avian flu outbreaks – Asia update

The various strains of avian flu continue to spread across Asia.

In China the sale of live poultry has been halted in Suzhou in Jiangsu Province following reports of human H7N9 cases. In Xinjiang Region a large poultry outbreak involving the H5N6 strain has led to the culling of more than 55,000 chickens and other poultry.

Japan has reported its seventh outbreak at a poultry farm in Kumamoto Prefecture. Japan has been battling H5N6 in wild birds and poultry flocks.

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WHO Director General warns H7N9 could be next flu pandemic

Hong Kong newspaper The Standard reports that World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun has warned that the H7N9 strain of avian flu is particularly worrying as it could be a human flu pandemic strain.

“The biggest challenge for the world is the next influenza pandemic,” Chan said.

H7N9 is unique as it does not make poultry ill but it can be life-threatening for humans. Sick birds can generally provide early warning for imminent outbreaks, Chan told The Standard.

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UK Government declares Prevention Zone to protect poultry against Avian Flu

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer has declared a Prevention Zone to help protect poultry from a strain of Avian Flu in Europe.

The Government Chief Vet has declared a Prevention Zone introducing enhanced biosecurity requirements for poultry and captive birds, helping protect them from a strain of avian flu circulating in mainland Europe.

The zone covers England and will remain in place for 30 days until 6 January 2017. Declarations have also been made by the Scottish Government and Welsh Government. It does not include Northern Ireland.

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