Monday, January 14, 2013

Updating The New York H5N? Report


Photo Credit – FAO


# 6856


Two days ago in (Presumably) LPAI H5N1 Found In New York, I blogged on a report from National Chicken Council’s Washington Report indicating that (presumably Low Pathogenic) H5N1 avian influenza had been detected at a New York live bird market, resulting in a halt of poultry exports to Japan & Taiwan.


Since then, a lot of people have been trying to track down details on this story, with very little success.


At least until this afternoon, when Sharon Sanders of FluTrackers managed to get responses from two members of the National Chicken Council who informed her that:


The USDA notified them of a laboratory confirmed low pathogenic H5N1 trace picked up from routine surveillance from a live market in one of the boroughs of New York City. This occurrence was approximately 2 weeks ago and they characterized this market as some type of neighborhood venue that sells non-commercially grown poultry i.e. not from a large commercial grower.


They also further clarified that the test came back positive for H5, but the N1 component was not detected.


Shortly after 5pm today, the USDA’s APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) forwarded the following information to Flutrackers and ProMed Mail  (along with a number of other recipients).


On behalf of Veterinary Services, APHIS, US Dept of Agriculture, I’d like to provide the following additional information on the 12Jan13 posting “PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza (H5N1:low path) - USA: (NY) poultry, RFI”:

· A Muscovy duck from a Brooklyn, NY Live Bird Market tested positive by rRT-PCR specific for the hemagglutinin H5 gene and negative for the neuraminidase N1 gene of avian influenza virus.

· Virus isolation is pending and we do not have an N-type at this time.

· The amino acid sequencing at the hemagglutinin protein cleavage site is compatible with North American low pathogenic avian influenza.

·  The market underwent an immediate sell down, closure and cleaning and disinfection (C&D). The C&D was completed on 1/11/13.

· Tracing and testing of the source flocks is underway.



To read how this whole detective story has unfolded over the past 48 hours, I would invite you to read this thread on FluTrackers. 

Kudos to the entire FluTrackers Team for staying on top of this story.


As I wrote on Saturday, the discovery of LPAI H5N1 in the United States is neither terribly unusual, nor is it a public health concern.  But as LPAI viruses can be progenitors of more virulent HPAI strains, steps will have to be taken to contain and eradicate this virus.

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