Monday, February 12, 2018

Iran: Media Reporting 40% Of Nation's Poultry Lost To Avian Flu


Officially, Iran hasn't notified the OIE of any new H5N8 poultry outbreaks in nearly a year, having last reported 30 outbreaks between November 2016-January 2017 (see OIE report) involving the loss of just over 1 million birds.
Unofficially, we continue to see media (and sometimes Ministry of Agriculture) reports indicating that H5N8 avian flu continues to devastate their poultry industry, driving food prices higher, and contributing to the societal discontent which led to protests in December (see Iran: Bird Flu, Food Insecurity & Civil Unrest).
Added the the H5N8/H5N1 mix of viruses already reported there, last week we learned from the OIE: HPAI H5N6 Arrives In Iran, sparking a large die off of (reportedly thousands) of wild ducks in Boujagh, in the northern part of the country.

Although exact numbers are hard to come by, less than two weeks ago the Iranian MOA Reported 21 Million Birds Lost To H5N8, making today's media report from the Anadolu press agency in Turkey at least semi-credible, even though it cites H5N1 and not H5N8 as the primary culprit. 
Iran slaughters 40 percent of its poultry, imports eggs from Turkey amid bird flu panic

Published 17 hours ago
Iranian officials culled 25 million heads of poultry following a recent outbreak of bird flu, the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported Monday.

Speaking to ILNA, head of the Tehran Chicken and Egg Association Nasir Nebipur said a collosal 40 percent of the nation's poultry had been slaughtered due to bird flu fears.

Nebipur went on to point out that the massive cull had led to a dramatic decrease in egg production, leading in turn to skyrocketing egg prices.

In order to meet public demand for eggs, Iran is now importing 50 trucks of eggs from Turkey each week, the news agency reported.

Also known as H5N1, the bird flu - which has caused 454 deaths worldwide since 2003 - can be transmitted to local poultry stocks through migratory birds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Humans can reportedly become infected by the virus by eating infected poultry.
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Despite international agreements mandating the prompt reporting of certain animal diseases (including H5 & H7 avian flu)  to the OIE, and specific human diseases (and outbreaks) to the World Health Organization, these regulations aren't always rigorously followed.
Sometimes, this can be attributed to a lack of money, or surveillance and reporting infrastructure . . .  and sometimes it seems to simply boil down to policy.
As a result, we often only get snippets of information from many places around the world, and have to put the pieces together ourselves. Not an ideal situation, given the high stakes posed by the international spread of infectious diseases, but often our only recourse.

While I try to find and blog those infectious disease stories I think are important, I can only cover a small percentage of the daily barrage of information that comes over the transom.  For every blog I write, there are probably 10 or 20 potentially newsworthy stories I take a pass on.
Luckily, I'm not alone in this endeavor.
Crof blogs on a variety of infectious disease and societal issues every day while CIDRAP News provides both terrific long form articles and news briefs 5 days each week.

The bulk of the flu news gathering, however, is being done quietly by a dedicated group of volunteer newshounds at FluTrackers, who gather and collate infectious disease information - both important and obscure - from every corner of the globe.
Frankly, I couldn't do what I do with this blog if it were not for the efforts of Sharon Sanders and her team at FT.
Hopefully, if you are not a regular visitor, I've piqued your interest enough that  you'll make the FT repository a daily stop. Just click the Latest Activity button.

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