During April and May we followed a number of outbreaks of HPAI H5N8 in western Russia (see here, here, and here), with the largest reported at one of Russia's biggest turkey producing facilities in Rostov (see Link).
By mid-May Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) announced that HPAI Contaminated Poultry Had Been Shipped To At Least 9 Regions Of Russia.During May and June we saw numerous reports of contaminated meat being found in the food chain (see Rosselkhoznador Investigation Into HPAI Contaminated Meat Distribution & Sale), along with allegations of illegalities on the part of Rostov's Regional Veterinary Laboratory which was charged with testing these products and overseeing the issuance of food safety certificates.
Although reports of bird flu outbreaks have diminished over the past two months, we continue to see scattered reports of the discovery of contaminated meat in the food chain. Today, we get this out of Vladivosiok:
In Primorye, discovered and thwarted the realization of retail chains products with the genome of avian influenza
According to Rosselkhoznadzor (Moscow), at this year's poultry farms of the Rostov region LLC "Evrodon-South" observed mass death of turkey stock. In selected pathological material was discovered gene of influenza A virus of birds, and identified the H5 subtype. In this regard, all terupravleniya Rosselkhoznadzor and veterinary services of the Russian Federation was ordered to strengthen the veterinary control measures in respect of products from this manufacturer, as well as for enterprises and commercial organizations that have economic ties with it.
In this regard, the Office of Rosselkhoznadzor for the Primorsky Krai and the Sakhalin Oblast unscheduled inspections of a number of wholesale food stores, retail chains and stores the Primorsky Territory was organized in order to prevent trafficking and sale of dangerous poultry products.
In the course of supervisory activities the inspectors Rosselkhoznadzor in Vladivostok in one of the hypermarkets and large food warehouse was discovered products produced on the affected bird flu Rostov company. Immediately after the discovery of potentially unsafe poultry meat has been placed on isolated storage, precluding any unauthorized traffic.
Conducted FGBU "Maritime Interregional Veterinary Laboratory" Rosselkhoznadzor tests have shown that 2 tons of steaks of turkey, who were in the wholesale food warehouse, as well as 300 kg of products of turkey meat in assortment (splint, ase, steak, medallions, sets for fire , wings and steaks), found in urban hypermarket, contains the genetic material of the virus avian influenza A, subtype H5.
Subsequently conducted FGBU "Federal Center for Animal Health" Rosselkhoznadzor (ARRIAH) testing of selected production samples confirmed the presence in them of the influenza virus genome of birds.
However, without waiting for the results ARRIAH, all dangerous products were destroyed (burned) its owners at the complex for the destruction of bio-waste "Factor-Primorye" Vladivostok under the control of Rosselkhoznadzor inspectors.
As previously reported, in May of this year, inspectors Rosselkhoznadzor, in collaboration with the staff of the department of economic security and countering corruption Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the city of Vladivostok in the Soviet area was prevented by turnover and, accordingly, the implementation of the population of 3 tons of turkey genome with avian influenza, produced at the plant OOO "Evrodon" Rostov region. Dangerous products have been found on one of the wholesale food warehouses and subsequently destroyed (burned).
While HPAI H5N8 isn't as big of a health concern as H5N1 or H5N6 - both of which have a track record of infecting humans - this illustrates how easily avian flu can make its way into some country's food supply.
A little over a month ago, in Appl Environ Microbiol: Survival of HPAI H5N1 In Infected Poultry Tissues, we looked at the viability (via viral isolation) of H5N1 in experimentally infected chicken's feathers, muscle tissue, and liver stored at various temperatures ( +4°C or +20°C).Refrigerated (+4°C) feathers retained viable virus for 8 months, tissue for 6 months, and in the liver for nearly 3 weeks. But even at the higher temperature (68F), the virus remained viable for a month in feathers, and just under 3 weeks in muscle tissue.
Beyond contaminated food concerns, this sort of prolonged viral persistence provides opportunities for dead birds in the wild to infect scavengers, and reinforces the need for people in contact with dead birds to take safety precautions.