Sunday, December 18, 2016

Korean Media: MAFRA Now Reports Finding HPAI H5N8


Given that H5N8's first major appearance was on the Korean Peninsula in early 2014 where it devastated poultry operations for months, and it continues to be reported in China, Russia, and Europe - it isn't a terrible surprise that officials should now detect H5N8 in addition to widespread H5N6 in South Korea. 

It does, however, help to make a bad situation worse. 

First this report from Yonhap News, then I'll be back with a bit more.

Different type of AI discovered

2016/12/18 16:44

SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) -- A different type of avian influenza (AI) has been discovered in the country, the government said Sunday, as it intensifies efforts to contain its spread.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said a new H5N8 strain of the bird flu was detected at a chicken farm located in Anseong, some 77 km south of Seoul, earlier this week.

It marks the first time that two strains of AI have broken out in the country simultaneously.

The first outbreak of the H5N6 strain that has spread throughout the country was reported at a chicken farm in Haenam, about 420 kilometers south of Seoul, on Nov. 16.

The ministry said the H5N6 strain is more pathogenic than the H5N8 type that was previously detected in 2014.

However, experts said that it would be more difficult to contain the disease if quarantine authorities have to cope with two strains at the same time, particularly in the cold winter months when decontamination efforts are not very effective.
       (Continue . . . )

Despite its description of being `less pathogenic' than the recently arrived H5N6 virus, H5N8 forced the destruction of more than 15 million birds in Korea two years ago. 

Additionally, H5N8 virus that is currently plaguing Europe is showing signs of having acquired new virulence, as its impact there has been many-fold greater than in 2014.

The above article refers to a `new H5N8 strain of the bird flu'.  It is always dangerous to take media reports too literally, but this may indicate  the recently sampled H5N8 virus has evolved from the strain that Korea has dealt with previously. 

Hopefully MAFRA will publish a more complete analysis of this H5N8 virus in the next few days.

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