Korea’s Fall outbreaks - Credit Japan’s MAFF
While things remain quiet on the North American and European avian flu fronts, South Korea finds itself already well into their third H5N8 season, with yet another farm in the Southwestern part of the nation hit with the virus.
This latest outbreak occurs on a duck farm within a 3-km radius of a farm that tested positive more than 10 days ago (see South Korea Records 8th H5N8 Outbreak In A Month). Thus far this fall, all of Korea’s AI reports have come from South Jeolla Province.
First this report from KBS News (translated), then I’ll be back with more:
Input: 2015-10-31 12:34:09 Modify: 2015-10-31 12:34:09
Strong highly pathogenic avian influenza of toxicity has occurred again in the South Jeolla Province Yeongam (Yon'amu) county of southwest.
When agriculture and forestry depends on the livestock food section, October 18, infection of bird flu has been confirmed in the "H5N8 type" of highly pathogenic in South Jeolla Province Yeongam (Yon'amu) County farm, duck 27 000 birds too, which has been bred was killed was an emergency epidemic prevention in.
But the 27th is also in other farms within a radius of three kilometers of the farm, is that highly pathogenic avian influenza virus has again been detected.
Remarkably, just two years ago, HPAI H5N8 was all but unknown, having never caused an outbreak in poultry. Prior to its emergence in January of 2014 (see Media Reporting Korean Poultry Outbreak Due To H5N8), H5N8 was normally only seen in a low pathogenic form (although one HPAI H5N8 sample had been previously described in China).
By the end of its first year, HPAI not only devastated Korean poultry, it had wreaked havoc in Japan, China, Russia, Europe, Taiwan, and North America poultry as well.
H5N8 has spread faster, and farther, than any HPAI virus we’ve seen to date, covering more ground in its first year than H5N1 did in a decade. Not only does it appear well suited for carriage by a variety of wild and migratory birds, it has also reassorted repeatedly with local LPAI bird flu strains, both in Asia and North America.
As a result, H5N8 not only introduced itself to Taiwan last winter, it created novel versions of H5N2 and H5N3 there as well. In North America, H5N8 spawned H5N2 and a North American version of H5N1.
This winter one of the things we will be watching for – beyond the return, and possible geographic expansion of the virus’s range – are new reassorted subtypes based on this HPAI’s H5 gene. While far from guaranteed, the continual evolution of HPAI H5 makes this a possibility.
While it has been hard to find any good news in all of this, the one bright spot thus far is that none of the HPAI H5 viruses derived from the H5N8 parental gene have shown any signs of being pathogenic in humans.
The CDC, however, remains cautious and alert for any changes in these viruses, and has issued guidelines for dealing with HPAI H5 Exposure, Human Health Investigations & Response.
H5N8 began showing up in Europe, Japan, and North America in November of last year, and in the United States in December. Outbreaks began to decline as warmer weather returned, and by June had ended completely.
While past performance is never a guarantee of future results, the expectation is that the regions that saw HPAI H5 last fall are at high risk of seeing its return this winter. Perhaps of even greater concern, many areas that have yet to see the virus may very well get their turn this winter.