Reports of avian flu are fairly uncommon from South America, although whether that speaks to a lack of infection - or a lack of surveillance - is difficult to say.
Overnight Chilean and International media are reporting on an `H7' outbreak at a turkey farm near Valparasio. Details - including the subtype - are scant, but culling is already underway.
We have the following report (h/t Sharon Sanders of FluTrackers) from Chile's Agriculture & Livestock Service (SAG).
SAG detects avian influenza in turkeys for fattening in the Region of Valparaíso
Santiago, January 4, 2017.- The Agricultural and Livestock Service confirmed the existence of an outbreak of avian influenza limited to a group of turkeys located in the rural sector of the commune of Quilpué, in the region of Valparaiso. Given this situation, and in a joint effort between the SAG and the Ministry of Health, the existing protocols were immediately activated to eliminate the outbreak and eradicate this exotic disease for Chile, which could affect both wild and domestic poultry species.
The level of pathogenicity of the virus involved in specialized laboratories is being investigated, as the result obtained will determine the next health measures to be taken.
As a precaution, the SAG has determined the slaughter and destruction of the affected birds and the isolation of the area in order to avoid the spread of disease in poultry farms and maintain the excellent condition of avian health in the country. At the same time, an additional monitoring plan is being implemented for susceptible birds in the sector. The current situation has been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The effort to eliminate the focus quickly is due to the fact that it is a disease of importance to the health of the birds and their production. From the point of view of the health of the population, this event does not pose a risk, since the consumption of their meats and by-products does not present any danger of transmission to people.
Notwithstanding this, considering that there may be a potential risk of transmission for people exposed to live birds, the strict application of current protection protocols for personnel in contact with birds has been strengthened.
It should be noted that avian influenza is currently present in many Asian, European and African countries, and its dissemination is often associated with migratory birds, so that SAG maintains a strong surveillance plan in order to detect the most The eventual entry of the disease.
The SAG and the Ministry of Health are working in a coordinated manner in order to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health.
H7 viruses - in general - are considered less of a human health threat than H5 viruses. The exception being H7N9, which appeared in 2013, and has infected more than 800 people in China, killing several hundred.
Other H7 subtypes have - on rare occasions - infected humans, producing mostly mild symptoms. A few examples include:
A few examples include:
- In 2003 a large outbreak of H7N7 (89 confirmed, 1 fatality) in the Netherlands – with nearly all reported cases having very mild (often just conjunctivitis) symptoms.
- The Fraser Valley H7N3 outbreak of 2004 resulted in at least two human infections, as reported in this EID Journal report: Human Illness from Avian Influenza H7N3, British Columbia.
- In 2006 1 person in the UK was confirmed to have contracted H7N3, and the following year, 4 people tested positive for H7N2 – both following local outbreaks in poultry.
- 3 mild cases in Italy in 2013 (see ECDC Update & Assessment: Human Infection By Avian H7N7 In Italy).
H7 remains a major threat, however, to poultry. And in recent years we've seen outbreaks in Mexico force the culling of millions of birds.