Monday, June 25, 2018

Rosselkhoznadzor Statement On Outbreaks Of Avian Flu In Western Russia


Although we've reports of avian flu outbreaks in 5 different regions of Russia over the past 10 days (see here, here, and here) the following (translated)  statement from Russia Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) only cites the first 3 affected regions.

Outbreaks of bird flu in the country predictable and are due to seasonality

June 25, 2018

© Central body
The situation with the spread of the avian influenza virus is predictable and is due to seasonality. To date, outbreaks of disease registered in three regions of the country.
It should be emphasized that registered in the country bird flu virus does not pose a threat to human life. Disease is subject exclusively ptitsepogolove.
Foci localized and carried all the measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Just an hour ago we had a meeting with the Chairman of veterinary control and supervision of the Committee of the Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Utegulovym. We discussed, including the issue of the spread of animal diseases, both in Russia and in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In particular, it agreed to hold next Friday in technical consultations on mutual withdrawal restrictions. We hope that the measures imposed by Kazakhstan on the supply of products of Russian poultry farms will be adjusted as early as next week "- said the head of the Rosselkhoznadzor Sergey Dankvert.

Sergey Dankvert added that Rosselkhoznadzor received instructions from the Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev to conduct unscheduled inspections of public veterinary services subektovyh Penza, Kursk and Saratov regions. During the test, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision will evaluate the effectiveness of these bodies to take measures on the prevention of the introduction and spread of animal diseases.
While officially trying to minimize the situation - possibly because the 2018 World Cup is being held in Russia this month and next -  the local media continues to report heavily on outbreaks, and concerns over contaminated poultry products making it into the food chain. 

Reminiscent of last year's scramble to remove H5N8 tainted food products from store shelves (see Rosselkhoznador: HPAI Contaminated Poultry Shipped To At Least 9 Regions Of Russia), we have the following (translated) report from Inter-fax.
25.06.18 08:37

Bird flu discovered in Bashkortostan in Penza imported from turkey

June 25. - The bird flu virus is detected on the territory of Bashkortostan in Penza production enterprises, said Veterinary Department press service of Bashkiria.

"In the course of activities carried out under the verification information from the Rosselkhoznadzor and the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza type A, subtype H5 bird in the Penza region at the two production sites LLC" PenzaMolInvest "and JSC" Poultry Farm "Vasilyevskaya", revealed the facts receipt of poultry products of these enterprises on the territory of Bashkortostan ", - said in a statement.
The study collected samples of products in the Bashkir research and production of veterinary laboratories detected avian influenza virus type A. In order to confirm the results of the study materials sent to the laboratory in the city of Vladimir.
       (Continue . . . )

The assumption right now is that Russia is dealing with a relatively low-risk (to humans) H5N8 virus, but the OIE has only identified it as HPAI H5.   None of the official reports I've seen specify the exact subtype.

Last summer, in Appl Environ Microbiol: Survival of HPAI H5N1 In Infected Poultry Tissues, we looked at several studies on the long-term viability of HPAI H5N1 - arguably a much more dangerous virus - in frozen and fresh poultry.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jun 16. pii: AEM.00604-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00604-17. [Epub ahead of print]
Survival of H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus in Tissues Derived from Experimentally Infected Chickens.

Yamamoto Y1, Nakamura K2, Mase M2.

The tissues were stored at +4°C or +20°C and viral isolation was performed at different times for 360 days. The maximum period for viral survival was observed in samples stored at +4°C in all tissue types, i.e., 240 days in feather tissues, 160 days in muscle, and 20 days in liver. 

The viral infectivity at +20°C was maintained for a maximum of 30 days in the feather tissues, 20 days in muscle, and 3 days in liver

(Continue . . . )

Good reasons why - even if it doesn't pose a direct threat to human health - that all contaminated products need to be disposed of in a way that prevents further spread of the virus to wild birds, scavengers, or poultry.
`Seasonal and predictable' or not, the sudden spread of avian flu across multiple oblasts - and making its way (again) into the food chain -  is a bigger problem than the Rosselkhoznador's statement would suggest
And with the world's eyes firmly fixed on Russia and the World Cup for the next few weeks, it is coming at a very bad time as well.