Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sweden: LPAI H5 At A Pheasant Plant Near Malmö


A couple of days ago, in ESA Epidemiological Update: HPAI Clade Viruses in Europe as of 3rd May 2018, we looked at recent reports of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) across Europe, including the following 4 detections from Sweden.
  • Sweden: cases in two white-tailed eagles (reports on 09/04 and 26/04), in a common buzzard (report on 26/04), and in a Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) (report on 26/04)
While LPAI (low pathogenic avian influenza) viruses are often found in wild birds, and are considered less dangerous than HPAI viruses, they carry one overriding concern; H5 and H7 subtypes have a habit of mutating into far more dangerous HPAI viruses when allowed to spread unchecked in poultry.

Frequently discussed in this blog, this LPAI-to-HPAI mutation was recently the subject of a study (see Frontiers Vet. Sci.: Patterns In the Emergences Of HPAI H5 & H7 Viruses In Poultry) that examined both mutation and reassortment in the generation of HPAI viruses.

Although spontaneous mutation from LPAI-to-HPAI doesn't happen all that often, the risk is considered great enough that all LPAI H5 and H7 outbreaks must be reported to the OIE, and immediate steps must be taken to contain and eradicate the virus.
A little over two weeks ago, in neighboring Denmark, we saw the DVFA order 20,000 Ducks Culled Due To LPAI H5.

Today it is Sweden's turn, as announced by the following press release today  from their Ministry of Agriculture.

Bird flu at wild bird plant in Skåne
Press Release • May 24, 2018 16:14 CEST

A case of avian influenza of the type H5 has been found at a plant breeding pheasants in Arlöv outside Malmö. The virus is presence, that is to say, less pathogenic than the so-called highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that has recently been shown in Sweden. The samples are analysed by the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) within the regular monitoring programme for avian influenza.

"To avoid dispersal to poultry, it is important that poultry producers and hobby bird owners have good disease control procedures," says Karin Åhl, STF Head of unit for horse, poultry and game at the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

"This virus is presence, that is to say, less pathogenic than the so-called highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses that have been demonstrated in Sweden on several occasions in recent years. However, Lpai virus may, under certain circumstances, be transformed into highly pathogenic, which is the main reason for the monitoring of outbreaks with low pathogenic avian influenza, says Karl Ståhl, deputy Statsepizootolog of SVA.

Control area around the infected farm

With regard to the infected plant for pheasant farming, the Swedish Board of Agriculture has now decided on refusal and there are special restrictions which mean that no animals or animal products are allowed to leave or enter the establishment.

The Swedish Board of Agriculture has also decided to introduce a control area with a kilometre radius around the farm. The control area includes the following restrictions:

Persons visiting animal housing with poultry and other birds must comply with the hygiene rules.
  • The transport of poultry, live birds, hatching eggs and poultry products between poultry holdings shall be prohibited.
  • It shall be prohibited to transport poultry, live birds, hatching eggs and poultry products out of and into the control area.
It is possible to apply for exemptions for certain transport operations in the areas.
– To counteract the contamination of the blocked pheasant herd, the animals will be killed. This naturally means a strain on the animal owner, says Karin Åhl
Naturally found among wild birds

Avian influenza is found in many variants and is highly contagious between birds. Milder variants of the virus are found naturally among wild birds, especially in seabirds. Security Level 1 applies in Sweden, which means that poultry can be outside, but that feed and water must be given under roof or under an outdoor shelter.

It is important to have good management practices and to prevent direct and indirect contact with wild birds as far as possible. Pet owners should be attentive and contact the veterinarian if poultry shows increased mortality, changes in feed and water consumption, reduction in egg production or reduced general conditions.

In February 2018, avian influenza was discovered by the type H5N6 of a sea eagle and a buzzards on the Blekinge coast. Subsequently, further cases have been found in a hobby crew in Uppsala County and more wild birds.

General hygiene Rules

  • Ensure that only those who manage Tamfåglarna have access to the animal spaces.
  • Keep clean around houses and enclosures.
  • Be careful with the hygiene procedures.
  • Wash hands after contact with the birds.
  • After a stay abroad, you should not have contact with poultry until at the earliest after 48 hours.

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