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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Edinburgh scientists identify pandemic threat viruses

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have released a list of over 30 viruses that are the most likely candidates to cause the next major pandemic.

In a report published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases scientists Professor Mark E J Woolhouse, Liam Brierley, Chris McCaffery and Dr Sam Lycett detail the methodology used to identify the 37 viruses that should be most closely monitored as potential pandemic threats.

“Of human transmissible virus, 37 species have so far been restricted to self-limiting outbreaks. These viruses are priorities for surveillance because relatively minor changes in their epidemiologies can potentially lead to major changes in the threat they pose to public health. On the basis of comparisons across all recognized human viruses, we consider the characteristics of these priority viruses and assess the likelihood that they will further emerge in human populations.”

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Emergent BioSolutions to supply $1 billion of Anthrax vaccine to US Strategic National Stockpile

Maryland based biopharmaceutical company Emergent BioSolutions Inc has signed a contract to supply the US Government with almost $1 billion worth of anthrax vaccines.

Emergent BioSolutions announced that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is progressing its anthrax preparedness strategy with multiple contracts for the company’s anthrax vaccines.

Emergent has signed a follow-on contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) valued at up to $911 million to supply approximately 29.4 million doses of BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) by September 2021. BioThrax is the only anthrax vaccine licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is indicated for both pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis of anthrax disease.

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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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Antibiotic resistance developing in Channel Islanders?

The government of Jersey is concerned that the islanders are developing resistance to antibiotics.

Around 250 people get a prescription for an antibiotics in Jersey every day. This represents a prescription rate 25% higher than in England.

The Jersey government is encouraging islanders to be more cautious in taking antibiotics to help prevent resistance developing :

“We can’t stop antibiotic resistance but we can slow it down by preserving the antibiotics we currently have for now and future generations. We need to act fast and together before we enter an era where no antibiotics work.”

SOURCE : Island of Jersey – Antiobiotic Resistance


Anthrax Cow Death on Southern Indiana farm in the USA

Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) has been diagnosed on a beef cattle farm in Southern Indiana, USA.

A veterinarian collected tissue samples for laboratory testing after the animal died unexpectedly. Only a single, mixed‐breed bull died; other animals in the herd have not shown clinical signs.

The infected animal was incinerated on‐site, and the farm was placed under a 30‐day quarantine and observation order by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH). BOAH advised vaccination for all other animals in the herd.

BOAH have stated that the situation does not pose a public health threat. While humans can contract anthrax from animals, the risk is low. Anthrax is not transmitted from person to person. Only people who had direct contact with the infected animal are at any risk of infection, and that risk in this case is believed to be minimal at this time. All of those individuals have been notified and are being followed up with appropriately by health officials.

While anthrax is not an uncommon finding in livestock in Western states, this is unusual for Indiana. BOAH’s historic records do not indicate the last time this disease was found in the state.

SOURCE : Animal Health Advisory notice from Indiana State Board of Animal Health

DATE : 1 December 2016


New case of high risk bird flu found in France prompts 7000 duck cull

France has announced an outbreak of severe bird flu on a duck farm in the southwest of the country. The virus was spreading in the region. This is a major setback for French poultry and foie gras producers recovering from a bird flu epidemic a year ago.

The H5N8 avian influenza virus was confirmed at a farm in the Tarn administrative department days after the virus was detected among wild birds in northern France and following outbreaks in Europe linked to migrating birds.

The outbreak killed 2,000 out of a flock of 5,000 ducks on the Tarn farm and the remaining birds are to be culled. The outbreak has also been detected at another nearby farm where more ducks had to be culled.

Reports of Avian Influenza H5N8 outbreaks in wild birds and poultry in Germany, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland have resulted in the risk level for Avian Influenza reaching the UK via wild birds being raised from ‘Low’ to ‘Medium’’.

FULL STORY : www.farminguk.com/news/New-case-of-high-risk-bird-flu-found-in-France-prompts-7000-duck-cull_44992.html

DATE : 3 December 2016

SOURCE : FarmingUK

Germany detects H5N1 bird flu on poultry farm in Brandenburg

Germany has reported its first case of the contagious avian flu strain H5N1 on a small poultry farm in the northeastern state of Brandenburg.

The farm in the Oberhavel district was sealed off and some 500 chicks, ducks and geese were culled.

The H5N1 strain is regarded as highly pathogenic, but less dangerous than the even more contagious H5N8 strain found in several European countries in the past few weeks.

FULL STORY : www.reuters.com/article/us-health-birdflu-germany-idUSKBN13R237

DATE : 2 December 2016

SOURCE : Reuters

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