It's Saturday evening in Riyadh and we've a new update just issued from the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture (MEWA) on their recent H5N8 outbreak - and for the second time in as many days we are hearing of H5N8 positive test results outside of the Capital city.
Yesterday, they announced the discovery of infected water fowl in Al-Muzahmiyya, about 30 miles south and west of the city, while today samples taken from a pet store in Al-Kharj (about 55 miles south-east of Riyadh) have reportedly tested positive.While the impact appears limited so far, this is the first detection of HPAI H5 in Saudi Arabia since early in 2008, and the discovery of two additional foci outside of Riyadh in such quick succession has to be a concern to local authorities.
Daily summary of H5N8 cases
05/04/1439 (December 23rd, 2017)
Work is continuing by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture represented by the Riyadh branch of agriculture and the teams of the Municipality of Riyadh to follow the sterilization and disinfection of the bird market in Azizia in Riyadh as part of the precautionary measures to control the bird flu, in addition to continuing the epidemiological investigation in the surrounding area of the market, Completion of the removal of all remnants of the bird market in Azizia and disposal of them in a healthy and safe manner.
- The Ministry directed the suppliers of medicines and vaccines, feed mills, chicken suppliers and poultry farms to stop field visits and take strict biosecurity measures into consideration.
- The ministry announced banning the transfer of live birds to and from the Riyadh area to limit the spread of the H5N8 bird flu virus until further notice.
- The samples taken from a pet store in Al-Kharj governorate revealed that there was one case of a bird flu virus in H5N8 and the ministry started directly to implement the emergency plan at the site and the surrounding area.
- The ministry's sectors in addition to the internal, health and municipalities in Al-Muzahmiya governorate have completed safe disposal procedures of (958) birds, some of which have been confirmed to be infected with the flu,
- The total number of samples received to the veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Riyadh (123) samples to date, and more samples are being received from different regions of the Kingdom to continue the procedures for screening, investigation and control of influenza H5N8
- The total number of complaints received by the Central Emergency Room (59) has been reported on bird flu since the first reported case.