File this under the heading of. . . if you look for it, you just might find it . . .
With British Columbia’s HPAI H5N2 outbreak just a few miles above the American border, surveillance of wild birds and poultry operations on the American side of the border have been increased, and today Washington state has reported to the OIE on the discovery of two wild birds carrying highly pathogenic H5 flu subtypes.
My thanks to @nlintelligence for tweeting the information out, on what has been a busy and hectic bird flu day.
As of this report, no HPAI has been detected in American poultry, but this news should put poultry operations in the region on higher alert. Highly pathogenic H5N8 was detected in a captive wild gyrfalcon, which has been fed on hunter killed birds from Whatcom County, WA while HPAI H5N2 was detected in a wild pintail duck from the same county.
Both reports share the same opening to their epidemiological notes, and then deviate based on the subtype involved.
As a precaution and in response to the recent HPAI outbreak in Canada, surveillance of poultry premises and of wild bird mortality events was enhanced by the USDA, and State personnel along the United States - Canadian Border. Through this surveillance, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 was identified in wild birds. Two serotypes were identified on enhanced surveillance, both with amino acid sequence at the HA cleavage site consistent with HPAI, H5N8 and H5N2. H5N8 was identified in a captive wild gyrfalcon that was fed hunter killed wild birds from Whatcom County, Washington and H5N2 was identified in a wild pintail duck also from Whatcom County, Washington.
Based upon direct sequencing from gyrfalcon specimens, an avian influenza subtype H5N8 of Eurasian lineage (partial H5 99% similarity to A/coot/Korea/H81/2014 and partial N8 99% similarity to A/Baikal teal/Korea/H41/2014). The amino acid sequence at the hemagglutinin cleavage site is consistent with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Preliminary data suggests that these virus strains (H5N2 and H5N8) may be related with the H5N8 strain potentially representing the progenitor; however further analysis is needed. Neither of these viruses has been found in any poultry in the United States. These H5N8 and H5N2 detections involve only wild birds. Further investigation and characterization of the HPAI viruses is ongoing.
Preliminary analysis suggests this H5N2 is similar to the HPAI identified in the current Canadian outbreak. Based upon sequence attempt from a virus isolate, an avian influenza subtype H5 of Eurasian lineage (partial HA 98% similarity to A/bean goose/Korea/H40/2014) and N2 of US wild bird lineage (partial NA 98% similarity to A/American green-winged teal/California/HKWF609/2007); the amino acid sequence at the hemagglutinin cleavage site is consistent with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Preliminary data suggests that these virus strains (H5N2 and H5N8) may be related with the H5N8 strain potentially representing the progenitor; however further analysis is needed. Neither of these viruses has been found in any poultry in the United States. These H5N8 and H5N2 detections involve only wild birds. Further investigation and characterization of the HPAI viruses is ongoing.
The following statement has been released by APHIS, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
H5N2 Found in Northern Pintail Ducks & H5N8 Found in Captive Gyrfalcons
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2014— The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5 avian influenza in wild birds in Whatcom County, Washington. Two separate virus strains were identified: HPAI H5N2 in northern pintail ducks and HPAI H5N8 in captive Gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds. Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States.
There is no immediate public health concern with either of these avian influenza viruses. Both H5N2 and H5N8 viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date. The finding in Whatcom County was quickly reported and identified due to increased surveillance for avian influenza in light of the HPAI H5N2 avian influenza affecting commercial poultry in British Columbia, Canada. Washington State, USDA, and other Federal partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing of birds in the nearby area.
All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, are encouraged to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov