Monday, April 27, 2015

Iowa: Four `Probable’ HPAI H5 Farms Quarantined

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# 9984


It’s been 72 hours since our last APHIS update, and its obviously been a long and difficult weekend for poultry farmers and USDA officials across the Midwest, and so it comes as no surprise that we are starting to get reports this afternoon of additional farms infected with the H5N2 virus. 


I expect we’ll get an update on the APHIS website after 5pm, but for now we have this report from the Iowa Department of Agriculture on 4 more `probable’ infections. 

 

Of note, these four farms contain roughly 2.3 million birds, adding substantially to the economic carnage this virus has caused in Iowa.

 

 

FOUR PROBABLE CASES OF HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA IN OSCEOLA, O’BRIEN AND SIOUX COUNTIES

Media Advisory:
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA will host a press conference call at 3:15 p.m. on Monday, April 27, 2015 to discuss the additional avian influenza cases in Iowa.

Call in number: 866-685-1580
Conference code: 5152818615

FOUR PROBABLE CASES OF HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA IN OSCEOLA, O’BRIEN AND SIOUX COUNTIES
CDC considers the risk to people to be low

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is responding to four probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry farms in Osceola, O’Brien and Sioux Counties in Northwest Iowa.  These four new cases would join three confirmed cases of the disease in Iowa. State officials have quarantined the premises and if the initial test are confirmed, all birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

Osceola County 2 – Pullet farm with an estimated 250,000 birds.  Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames. 

O’Brien County 1 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 240,000 birds that has experienced increased mortality. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

O’Brien County 2 – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 98,000 birds that has experienced increased mortality.  Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Sioux County – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 1.7 million birds that has experienced increased mortality.  Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected there is no food safety risk for consumers.

(Continue . . . )

 

New Scientist: The Downsides To Using HPAI Poultry Vaccines

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Poultry Vaccination - Photo Credit OIE

 

# 9983

 

Last week, in The HPAI Poultry Vaccine Dilemma,  I wrote at some length on the problems inherent in turning to a poultry vaccine to control the HPAI H5 viruses spreading across North America.

 

This is a topic we’ve looked at repeatedly over the years, including in 2012’s Egypt: A Paltry Poultry Vaccine and 2009’s  Indonesia: Debate Over Poultry Vaccination.

 

Last November we looked at an EID Journal dispatch - Subclinical Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Infection among Vaccinated Chickens, China – which addressed many of these concerns, and what they called  the `multiple disadvantages of HPAI mass vaccination, including the creation of vaccine-escape flu variants

 

Although HPAI vaccines can often prevent serious illness in poultry flocks, they often fail to prevent viruses from spreading, and eventually evolving into new strains.  As these new variants appear, the vaccines become even less effective – turning their use into a gigantic slippery slope. 

 

One that China, Egypt, Vietnam, and Indonesia have been unable to get off, despite warnings from the OIE that poultry vaccines must be considered a `short-term solution’ and counties must have an `exit strategy’ (see Avian influenza and vaccination: what is the scientific recommendation?).

 

Although the USDA has steadfastly supported quarantine and culling as the preferred method of dealing with bird flu in the United States, nervous poultry producers are calling for a vaccine option.  

 

So I’m happy to report that the New Scientist has weighed in on this issue today as well, with an article by Debora MacKenzie.  Follow the link to read:

 

 

US farms hit by bird flu – but a vaccine might make things worse

17:08 27 April 2015 by Debora MacKenzie

For similar stories, visit the US national issues and Bird Flu Topic Guides

Bird flu is rampaging across the Midwestern US this week. So far 8 million chickens and turkeys have been destroyed to stop the spread of H5N2, an offspring of Asia's H5N1 bird flu. Minnesota, the top US turkey producer, declared an agricultural emergency after announcing infected farms almost daily for two weeks. Iowa, the top egg producer, killed 3.8 million hens on one farm alone.

US agriculture officials hope the outbreaks will diminish as summer warmth and sunshine destroys flu viruses in the environment. But their bird flu problems may be only beginning. Wild ducks could infect the rest of the continent next autumn.

And while H5N2, unlike H5N1, seems to pose little threat to humans, the $45 billion US poultry industry is already suffering, as China, South Korea and Mexico ban US produce. Producers are calling for a poultry vaccine, and the US Department of Agriculture says it is developing one. But that might just make the problem worse by encouraging the spread of "silent" infections.

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Third Ontario Farm Hit By HPAI H5

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# 9982

 

Although Canada’s food Inspection Agency CFIA hasn’t exactly shouted the news from the highest rooftop, over the past several days their Avian Influenza Website has quietly updated a timeline and infected premises table showing a third Ontario farm has tested positive for the HPAI H5 virus.

 

Timeline of Events - Notifiable Avian Influenza - Ontario – 2015

April 24

The CFIA notifies national industry associations and key international trading partners of IP3.

April 23

The Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph notifies the CFIA of the detection of presumptive H5 avian influenza at a turkey farm in Oxford County, Ontario. This is IP3.

The premises has been under quarantine since April 19, 2015 and is part of the second avian influenza control zone.

Samples from the affected farm are sent to the CFIA National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) for official confirmation.

 

 

The last statement from the CFIA, released on the 22nd (see The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Establishes a Second Avian Influenza Control Zone) dealt with the second infected premises.  This morning, the Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun are both carrying a report on this third infected farm.

 

Third Ontario farm hit with deadly bird flu

 

Megan Stacey, Postmedia Network

First posted: Monday, April 27, 2015 07:14 AM EDT | Updated: Monday, April 27, 2015 07:19 AM EDT

WOODSTOCK, Ont. -- The strain has begun to wear on Southwestern Ontario poultry farmers now battling a third case of deadly bird flu.

This one -- an 8,00-bird turkey farm -- is within a quarantine zone where heightened levels of biosecurity were meant to safeguard against the virus.

(Continue . . . )

Hubei Province Reports 1st H7N9 Case

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Hubei Province – Credit Wikipedia

 

# 9981

 

News of H7N9 coming out of China this year has been sparse, with many provinces simply posting a lump-sum figure buried in their EOM epidemiological reports (see More Than One Way to `Contain An Outbreak’), and so we don’t have a really good feel for how their 3rd wave of the virus has gone.


It does seem likely – based at least on the sharp drop in exported H7N9 cases this year to Hong Kong – that fewer cases may have occurred on the mainland this year.  But without solid, timely data, there is no way to know for sure.

 

Today, however, we do have a small bit of H7N9 news (h/t thread by Tetano & Sharon Sanders on FluTrackers), who have found reports on Hubei Province’s first officially reported case.  

 

This from the Hubei Health and Family Planning Commission.

 

Hubei Province, the first case of H7N9 cases


2015  04  26

April 26, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to review the province's first confirmed H7N9 cases.


The patient, male, 50 years old, household Luotian engaged in live poultry trade and slaughter activities. April 22, the Hubei Provincial People's Hospital admissions after the patient was diagnosed as a suspected H7N9 case, then go to Wuhan required medical treatment centers treated in isolation. At present, the patient's condition is stable, and its close contact with staff was no exception. By laboratory tests and epidemiological investigation confirmed that causes contact with the patient entered the provinces, carrying live chickens H7N9 virus related.


The incident has started emergency measures required to close the live animal markets, all of the batch of chickens were culled herds and sound processing, carried out a health care practitioners; carry out a comprehensive medical and health institutions and fever of unknown The reason to monitor cases of pneumonia, good emergency treatment preparations to ensure that the epidemic preventable and controllable.

 

It should be noted that a year ago, a resident of Wuhan, Hubei Province fell ill while in Guangdong Province, and subsequently died.   That case ended up being attributed to Guangdong’s totals.

Russia Reports H5N1 In Migratory Birds

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Location Of Astrakhan Oblast in Global Flyway

 

# 9980

 

While North America has taken center stage in Avian flu reporting these past few weeks we know that various strains of these viruses continue to spread around the globe.  Egypt continues to deal with an unprecedented outbreak of H5N1 – in both humans and in poultry – and reports continue to filter out of South Korea and Taiwan on their battles against the H5N8 virus and its reassortants.


In recent weeks we’ve seen Niger and Burkina Faso battling the H5N1 virus, while Vietnam and China continue to deal with outbreaks of H5N1 and and H5N6.

 

And earlier this year we saw multiple reports of H5N1 in migratory birds  in Eastern Europe (see OIE: H5N1 Kills 21 Pelicans In Bulgaria), which is part of the Black Sea / Mediterranean Flyway. 

 

With summer on the way, birds that were wintering in Southern Europe or Africa are now headed north to their summer breeding grounds, and so it is not terribly surprising that we are beginning to see reports of H5N1 in migratory birds along that route.

 

First a translated media report (one of many on the news wires overnight), followed by the official statement from Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor (Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance), which carried a small item yesterday announcing the detection of the H5N1 avian virus.


Curiously, neither report indicates when these samples were taken.  First this, from Rio Novosti.


The bird flu virus was recorded in the Astrakhan region

08:35 27.04.2015551

Also, the agency added that the study isolates showed that they belong to the Asian genetic lineage HPAI virus and proximity to isolates of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 bird isolated in the Altai region in 2014, as well as subtypes of the same virus isolated in Vietnam and China in 2012-2014.

MOSCOW, April 27 - RIA Novosti / Prime. Rosselkhoznadzor revealed genome of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 bird in the territory Ikryaninskiy region Astrakhan region, said the Russian authorities.

"Subordinate to the Rosselkhoznadzor Federal Centre for Animal Health in research within the federal epizootic monitoring in samples of biological material selected from the Dalmatian pelicans in the territory Ikryaninskiy region Astrakhan region, identified the gene of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 bird" - said in a statement.

Also, the agency added that the study isolates showed that they belong to the Asian genetic lineage HPAI virus and proximity to isolates of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 bird isolated in the Altai region in 2014, as well as subtypes of the same virus isolated in Vietnam and China in 2012-2014.

Pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1, which emerged in 2003-2005, is widely circulated among birds. It is dangerous to humans because people have no immunity to it.

 

  And this statement from he official Rosselkhoznadzor  website.

 

Clarification of Rosselkhoznadzor flu infected migratory birds in the Astrakhan region

April 26, 2015

Subordinated to the Rosselkhoznadzor Federal Centre for Animal Health in research within the federal epizootic monitoring in samples of biological material taken from the territory of curly pelicans Ikryaninskiy region Astrakhan region, identified the gene of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 bird. Research isolates showed that they belong to the Asian genetic lineage HPAI virus and proximity to isolates of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 bird isolated in the Altai region in 2014, as well as subtypes of the same virus isolated in Vietnam and China in 2012-2014 .

 

Although we don’t get a lot of reporting out of Russia, you may recall that late last year they announced the detection of H5N8  (see OIE Report: H5N8 Detected In Eastern Russia) in a Eurasian widgeon collected last October -  a full month before Europe reported their first H5N8 outbreak.

 

These past six months we’ve seen HPAI H5 virus on the move around the world, with H5N8 making it to North America and Europe, and H5N1 showing up in countries that haven't reported outbreaks since 2006-2007.

 

Although most migratory flyways are predominantly north-south corridors, their overlapping allows for a lateral (east-west) movement of avian viruses as well – often via shared nesting areas and ponds. As you can see, the Black Sea/Mediterranean Flyway shares territory with both the East Africa West Asia flyway, and the East Atlantic Flyway.

 

For more on how scientists are studying the spread of avian flu viruses via these flyways, you may wish to revisit:

Erasmus Study On Role Of Migratory Birds In Spread Of Avian Flu
PNAS: H5N1 Propagation Via Migratory Birds
EID Journal: A Proposed Strategy For Wild Bird Avian Influenza Surveillance
PLoS One: North Atlantic Flyways Provide Opportunities For Spread Of Avian Influenza Viruses

Saturday, April 25, 2015

CDC’s Key Facts On The New H3N2 Canine Flu

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Credit CDC - Healthy Pets Healthy People

 

# 9979

 

Two weeks ago, in Midwest Canine Influenza Outbreak Due To `New’ Korean H3N2 Virus, we learned that an outbreak of canine influenza which began a month or so ago around Chicago was due to an Asian H3N2 canine flu subtype which emerged in 2007 (see Transmission of Avian Influenza Virus (H3N2) to Dogs). 


How this emerging influenza subtype managed to jump from Korea (or perhaps China) to the United States is unclear. But now that it is here, it appears to be spreading rapidly through an immunologically naive dog population. 

 

Unlike our domestic canine H3N8 - which jumped from horses to dogs in 2004, and has circulated in North America sporadically since then - this subtype has also been shown capable of infecting cats as well (see Korea: Interspecies Transmission of Canine H3N2). 

 

Adding yet another wrinkle, this H3N2 virus appears to be of avian origin. The HA and NA of the A/canine/Korea/01/2007 (H3N2) isolate was closely related to those identified from South Korean chickens and doves in 2003.

 

As with the existing equine and canine strains of H3N8, we’ve not seen any evidence of human infection with this canine H3N2 virus. But like all influenza viruses, canine H3N2 is a continually moving target.  It can not only evolve via antigenic drift, it can also pick up entire gene segments from other flu viruses via antigenic shift (aka reassortment).

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And while rare, as any virologist will tell you – shift happens.

 

Last summer we saw evidence of just such an event, in a report appearing in the journal Epidemiology & Infection, that  found a new reassortment of the canine H3N2 virus – one that had picked up the M (matrix) gene from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus (see Canine H3N2 Reassortant With pH1N1 Matrix Gene) – in china.

 

When found in reassorted swine variant viruses, The CDC has speculated that `This M gene may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans, compared to other variant influenza viruses.’ – CDC HAN 2012

 

But so far, we’ve seen no evidence that this canine H3N2 can infect humans.

 

This week the CDC published a new updated FAQ file on Canine influenza, specifically addressing this newly arrived subtype, including whether it has the potential to jump to humans.  I’ve excerpted the first two segments, so follow the link to read it in its entirety.

 

 

Key Facts about Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)

What is canine influenza (dog flu)?

Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs. These are called "canine influenza viruses." Dog flu is a disease of dogs. No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported. There are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus.

Can canine influenza viruses infect humans?

To date, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza viruses from dogs to people and there has not been a single reported case of human infection with a canine influenza virus.

However, influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to change so that it could infect humans and spread easily between humans. Human infections with new influenza viruses (against which the human population has little immunity) are concerning when they occur. Such viruses could present pandemic influenza threats. For this reason, CDC and its partners are monitoring the canine influenza H3N8 and H3N2 viruses (as well as other animal influenza viruses) closely. In general, canine influenza viruses are considered to pose a low threat to humans.

  • Where did canine influenza viruses come from and how long has it been around?
  • What are signs of canine influenza infection in dogs?
  • How serious is canine influenza infection in dogs?
  • How is canine influenza spread?
  • Is there a test for canine influenza?
  • Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?
  • My dog has a cough. What should I do?
  • Where can I find more information on canine influenza virus?