Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region Photo Credit- Wikipedia
While we await further word from China's CDC on the outbreak of unidentified pneumonia in Wuhan City, there are some other stories worthy of our attention, including today's announcement of two outbreaks of HPAI H5N6 affecting swans in Western Xinjiang Province - very near the Kazakhstan border - and only about 90 km from a large poultry outbreak reported early last summer.
Although avian flu activity in China appears to have been greatly suppressed these past couple of years following their massive nationwide H5+H7 poultry vaccination campaign of 2017, we've begun to see a few small cracks appear.
- In early December, we saw evidence (see EID Journal: Antigenic Variant of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus, China, 2019) of a recently emerged antigenic variant of HPAI H7N9, one that is already spreading in several regions of China.
- In last April's OFID: Avian H5, H7 & H9 Contamination Before & After China's Massive Poultry Vaccination Campaign), we saw the post-vaccine campaign detection of H5 viruses was pretty much unchanged, while the prevalence of H9N2 viruses has increased significantly.
- In November - in EID Journal: Genetic Characterization of Avian Influenza A(H5N6) Virus Clade 220.127.116.11, Russia, 2018 - we examined the details of last winter's first detection of China's HPAI H5N6 virus in Western Russia.
Other than HPAI H5N1, the Asia strain of HPAI H5N6 has been the most successful avian H5 virus in affecting human health, with roughly 2 dozen known (and often fatal) infections since 2014.
Like H7N9, HPAI H5N6 continues to evolve and diversify.
Today's (translated) statement from China's Ministry of Agriculture describes two outbreaks (Bole City and Yinging County) in wild swans.
Epidemic of Swan H5N6 Subtype Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Yining County and Bole City, Xinjiang
Date: 2020-01-08 16:58 Author: Source: Agriculture and Rural Department of Public Information Office
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Information Office 1 Yue 8 released, and Bole City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Yining County occurred wild swans H5N6 subtype highly pathogenic bird flu.
1 Yue 8 Ri , the Ministry of agriculture and rural areas to the control center reported Chinese animal epidemic prevention, confirmed by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, Yining County in Sa Zi Township Sarah Wood Village ponds and Bole Riverfront Park waters wild swans occur H5N6 Asia Outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Two water habitats swan about 150 feathers, the incidence of 15 feathers, death 15 birds.
After the outbreak, a local person has been sent to pay close attention to the dynamics of the two habitat swans and disinfect the surrounding environment. All sick and dead birds have been harmlessly treated.