Saturday, March 24, 2018

OIE Clarifies That Ghana's H9N2 Outbreak Is NOT HPAI


Five weeks ago, in A Curious OIE Notification From Ghana: HPAI H9N2?, we saw a highly unusual - but plausible - report from the OIE of a laboratory confirmed outbreak of Highly Pathogenic (HPAI) H9N2 in a poultry flock in the southwest of Ghana, near their border with Cote d'Ivoire.
Highly unusual because avian H9N2 has previously only been reported as an LPAI (low path) virus.  
So unusual, in fact, that I cautioned:  `Now, this could be a lab error, or a typo, and could be nothing.  But if the OIE report (below) is correct, then we've a bit of an outlier.'
For more than a month we've been eagerly awaiting additional information, but have heard nothing until yesterday, when ProMed Mail carried the following clarification from the OIE:

Published Date: 2018-03-23 12:40:05
Archive Number: 20180323.5705853
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 22 Mar 2018
From: World Animal Health (OIE) Information and Analysis Department [edited]
re: ProMED-mail. Avian influenza (31): Ghana (BA) poultry, HPAI H9N2, new strain, OIE 20180215.5628421
After confirmation by the OIE Reference Laboratory and the delegate from Ghana, please be informed that the molecular and pathogenicity analysis performed confirmed H9N2 low pathogenic avian influenza virus. As this isolate is not OIE notifiable, the report has been removed from WAHIS interface as of 19 Mar 2018.
        (Continue . . .  )

And indeed, the OIE report has been deleted, leaving only a blank page in its place.  This is, thankfully, at least one potential avian flu crisis averted.
It is also a reminder that first reports can be wrong, even those released by `official sources'.
But better that Ghana raised the alarm rather than try to hide a potentially devastating incident - which sadly has been the choice too often made by governments around the world.

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