Saturday, June 03, 2017

South Korea Raises Alert Over New Detection Of Avian H5

Jeju Island  South Korea


Normally by the first week of June, HPAI reports - except from a few endemic regions (e.g. Egypt, Indonesia & Vietnam) - would have all but dried up for the summer and our attentions would be primarily focused on vector borne diseases like WNV, Dengue, and Zika until the fall.  
But starting in 2014, concurrent with the emergence of H5N8 in China/South Korea and the return of H5N1 to Africa after 7 years, that summertime pattern began to change (see 2015's There Ain’t No Cure For The Summer Bird Flu).

In August of last year, in Another Busy Bird Flu Summer, we saw this pattern again, with large summer HPAI H5 outbreaks reported in Iraq, the continued spread of H5N1 across West Africa (Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria), and a dozen `out of season' H7N9 cases reported in China.
While we didn't realize it at the time - we also saw the emergence of a newly reassorted H5N8 virus (see OIE: Russia - HPAI H5 In Wild & Migratory Birds) in and around Ubsu-Nur Lake in Russia - which would go on to spark Europe's largest epizootic over this past winter.
After the busiest bird flu winter on record - one which saw:
  • 700+ human H7N9 infections in China
  • the emergence of an HPAI H7N9 strain, also in China
  • 2000+ HPAI H5 outbreaks spread across most of Europe
  • the expansion of HPAI H5N6 from China into South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan
  • and the spread of H5N8 into the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa
We continue to see fresh reports, albeit less than during the winter. 

In the past week alone we've seen the first report of H5N8 in Zimbabwe, the first confirmed HPAI H5 in the DRC, HPAI H5N5 reported in the Netherlands, continued widespread outbreaks of  H5N8 in Russia, the expansion of HPAI H7N9 to Northern China, and the first human H7N9 cases ever from Inner Mongolia.
Overnight we've reports of 3 outbreaks of bird flu in Luxembourg, and the OIE is reporting the detection of H5N8 in wild birds in Belgium
And today South Korea has announced - just days after downgrading their bird flu alert to normal after going 2 months without an outbreak - the discovery of (suspected HPAI) H5 on Jeju Island (see Reuters report  South Korea raises bird flu alert after confirming first case since April).
The exact subtype, and pathogenicity, should be available later this weekend. South Korea has battled H5N1 in the past, but over the past year they've only reported HPAI H5N6 and H5N8. 
The following (translated) report comes form MAFRA, South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture.

Jeju City, Jongno Chicken Farmhouse Hospital Report on AI suspicious

Registration date 2017-06-03 09:00:00

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock Food and Drug Administration announced on June 2 that a suspected highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (AI) was reported at a farm where seven backyard poultry in Jeju-si, Jeju-do was raised.

According to the report of the farm, the laboratory test (PCR test) conducted at Jeju Animal Health Laboratory confirmed the H5 type gene,

Currently, the agriculture, forestry and livestock quarantine headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is in close inspection for the virus type and the highly pathogenic nature. The virus type (serotype) will be tested on June 4,

Cheju Island is in the process of preventing the avian influenza according to the avian influenza emergency action guidelines, such as putting first-aid prevention team in the farm according to the report of suspicious AI, and carrying out movement control measures.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is conducting epidemiological surveys with a central epidemiological surveillance team * to strengthen the emergency measures * such as preventive measures for the breeding price of the suspect axis farms as soon as the H5 type gene is confirmed. As well as other necessary measures against the disease.

(1) disposal of poultry within a 500-meter radius, (2) disposal of poultry in small farms (less than 100) in Jeju Island, (3) Japanese inspection of all poultry farms, (4) remuneration of remaining farm households and small- Prohibition of handling and distribution of live poultry in traditional markets, ⑥ disinfection measures such as disinfection of persons using Jeju Island airport harbor, ⑦ prohibition of exporting all poultry and poultry products in Jeju Island to other areas

In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will hold an AI emergency meeting at 9:30 am on June 3, under the supervision of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, to discuss the implementation of emergency measures and to discuss necessary measures to be taken.

In addition, if the result of the close inspection confirms that it is a highly pathogenic AI, the government will issue a warning alert to the borderline stage and hold quick and strong preventive measures at an early stage.

While we may still get our summer lull, for now, avian flu continues to be unusually active around the globe.

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