Although HPAI H5N8 and H5N2 have garnered most of the headlines this fall with their extensive spread out of Asia into Europe and the Pacific Northwest, another freshman virus has been on our radar since last May as well; the H5N6 virus.
Unlike H5N8 and H5N2, this emerging virus has already shown some ability to infect humans, with tragic results. We are aware of at least two human cases last year, both fatal (see WHO GAR Update – H5N6 In China).
In November of 2014 in FAO-EMPRES Report On The Emergence And Threat Of H5N6, we looked at an analysis of H5N6, and other recently emerged avian flu viruses in China. The previous month, in China: H5 AI Rising, we looked at 24 recent detections of H5N6 across China.
Other than the Guangdong infection in December, we really haven’t heard much since October of last year. Over the weekend, however, China’s MOH announced another outbreak, which occurred about 12 days ago in Hunan Province.
Source: Ministry of Agriculture
The Information Office of the Ministry of Agriculture issued January 23, Xinhua County of Loudi City, Hunan Province occurred in poultry of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
January 14, Loudi City, Xinhua County quail farms of suspected bird flu symptoms, onset 5400, died 1200. January 16, animal disease prevention and control center in Hunan diagnosed as suspected bird flu. January 23, by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed that outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza subtype H5N6 outbreak.
After the outbreak, according to the relevant local plans and control technical specifications, earnestly epidemic disposal work. Have for all 44,160 local poultry were culled and safe disposal. Currently, the outbreaks had been effectively controlled. (Source: Ministry of Agriculture Information Office)
Today, because of this announcement, Hong Kong has announced a ban on imports of poultry and poultry products from the affected area.
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (January 26) that in view of a notification from the Ministry of Agriculture about a confirmed case of highly pathogenic H5N6 sub-type avian influenza in Xinhua County, Loudi City, Hunan Province, it has followed the existing approach for control of highly pathogenic avian influenza and taken the recommendations from the World Organisation for Animal Health into account to ban the import of poultry and poultry products, including poultry eggs, from the area within a radius of 3 kilometres from the said place for a period of 90 days and from the area within a radius of 13km for 21 days with immediate effect for protection of public health in Hong Kong.
A spokesman for the CFS said that, according to the information from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the outbreak does not affect any registered Mainland poultry farms for export to Hong Kong. No registered poultry meat or poultry egg processing plants are currently situated within the import restriction zone concerned either. According to records, no poultry or poultry products were imported from Hunan Province into Hong Kong between January and November last year.
The Centre will closely monitor the latest developments of the avian flu case in the province and take appropriate follow-up action as necessary.
Ends/Monday, January 26, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:38
While not apparently spreading as fast, or as far, as the high-flying H5N8 virus, H5N6 continues to erupt across central China, and like H7N9, poses the risk of future expansion outside of China.