Updated Outbreak Map – Credit http://www.maff.go.jp
Yesterday, after the announcement by Korea: Migratory Birds Likely Source Of H5N8 Outbreak, I wrote about the long-standing (and often bitter) debate between the poultry Industry and Wildlife conservation groups over the source, and spread, of avian flu viruses.
Today, in a response to the claim by the South Korean government that migratory birds are the likely source, the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds issued the following statement (h/t @Thijskuiken for sending me the link).
Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds statement on:
H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds in Republic of Korea January 2014
1. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks are most frequently associated with domestic poultry production systems and value chains.
2. H5N8 HPAI virus has recently emerged in domestic poultry in the Republic of Korea and has caused mortality of domestic poultry and wild birds.
3. As well as impact on the poultry industry, there is the potential for significant mortality of wild birds most notably in large flocks of Baikal teal.
4. There is currently no evidence that wild birds are the source of this virus and they should be considered victims not vectors.
Meanwhile, with the annual Lunar New Year’s travel holiday about to begin, the number of suspected and confirmed HPAI infections in poultry and wild birds continues to mount. This from the Korea Times.
By Kim Da-ye
Bird flu reached two new regions ― Gyeonggi and South Gyeongsang provinces ― Wednesday as the mass exodus for the Lunar New Year holiday began.
The latest report of a suspected avian influenza case was filed by a poultry farm in Milyang, South Gyeongsang Province. The farm has about 9,000 chickens.
A chicken farm in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, reported suspected bird flu Tuesday night; and some 18,000 birds there were slaughtered by Wednesday. The farm is about 15 kilometers away from Sihwa Lake where the H5N8 strain of avian influenza was found in the feces of migratory birds.