Friday, April 06, 2018

China: Shanxi Province Reports Outbreak Of H7N9 In Poultry

Credit Wikipedia
Update:  I just discovered that FluTrackers picked up this report yesterday (link), so credit where credit is due. 


Last summer, in the face of a record setting human H7N9 epidemic, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture ordered the nationwide deployment of a newly developed H7+H5 poultry vaccine. 
H7N9 hasn't yet managed to adapt well enough to human physiology to transmit efficiently, but the CDC's IRAT system ranks the two lineages of this subtype at the top of their list of viruses with the greatest pandemic potential.
Despite limited success controlling HPAI viruses with vaccines in the past - in the short run, at least - China's massive vaccination campaign appears to have had an effect.  After a record shattering winter last year, China has only reported 3 human infections since October 1st (see chart below) and only a handful of poultry outbreaks.

Credit FAO

How long this happy state of affairs will last is anyone's guess, as poultry vaccines have a history of eventually losing their effectiveness as the circulating viruses - which are often suppressed, but are not necessarily eliminated - drift antigenically away the vaccine.

For more background on the history of poultry AI vaccines, you may wish to revisit:
Egypt: A Paltry Poultry Vaccine
The HPAI Poultry Vaccine Dilemma
EID Journal: Subclinical HPAI In Vaccinated Poultry – China

While poultry outbreaks have been few this winter, today we've a (translated) report from Shanxi Province's Ministry of Agriculture announcing an outbreak in Hongdong County (aka Hongtong County).

Hongdong County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province, occurred in poultry H7N9 flu
Time: 2018-04-04 
On March 27th, a breeder raised by a farmer in Hongdong County, Linyi City, Shanxi Province experienced suspected bird flu symptoms, with 812 cases and 699 deaths. On March 31st, the Shanxi Animal Disease Control and Prevention Center was diagnosed as suspected of the bird flu epidemic. On April 4, the national bird flu reference laboratory confirmed the epidemic was the H7N9 flu epidemic.

After the outbreak of the epidemic, the local authorities did a good job of handling the epidemic in accordance with the relevant preplans and the requirements for prevention and control technical specifications, and culled and harmlessly disposed of 6,374 poultry. At present, the epidemic has been effectively controlled.
A reminder that the H7N9 virus, while greatly reduced this winter, continues to circulate in parts of China.

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