Hebei Province - Credit Wikipedia
While South Korea, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and many other countries have been reporting hundreds of avian flu outbreaks in wild birds and poultry over the past few weeks (see DEFRA: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the UK, and Europe (Updated Assessment #3)), reports out of China have been nonexistent for the past 5 months.
Based on China's official MOA reporting site, there have been no outbreaks of avian flu in China since June 20th, and prior to that, only 7 cases (all in wild birds) in the first half of 2020.
This despite a record setting number of human H5N6 avian flu infections this year in China, presumably contracted from infected poultry. Reports that have dried up over the past month. In recent weeks Chinese media have reported their unusual success in preventing outbreaks is due to their nationwide poultry vaccination program.
Reporting of disease outbreaks - both in humans and in other host species - from China has always been released`strategically', with many events announced weeks or even months after the fact.
And quite obviously, we don't know about what we don't know. `Bad news' is often treated as a national security matter in China, so a lack of reports isn't necessarily indicative of a lack of reportable events.
With those caveats, China's MOA has announced their first HPAI outbreak (again in wild birds) since mid-June, this time in Hebei province. Details, as always are scant, but - as we've seen in Europe and parts of Asia this fall - H5N1 appears to be on the ascendent in China as well.
A wild bird H5N1 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak occurred in Caofeidian District, Tangshan City, Hebei Province
Release time: 2021-11-25
Source: Information Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
The Information Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced on November 25 that a wild bird H5N1 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza epidemic occurred in Caofeidian District, Tangshan City, Hebei Province.
11 Yue 25 days, the Ministry of agriculture and rural areas to the control center reported Chinese animal epidemic prevention, confirmed by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, Tangshan Caofeidian wetland nature reserve and bird provincial occur wildfowl together H5N1 subtype highly pathogenic Avian influenza epidemic. There were 134 wild fowls that fell ill and died in the epidemic site . After the outbreak, the local immediately launched the emergency response mechanism, to carry out emergency work on all dead wild birds sound processing, to disinfect the surrounding environment.
A total of 8 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks (all wild birds) have been reported across the country this year. The outbreaks are in a spot state and no regional outbreaks have occurred.
Between China's Great Wall of Silence, and a robust rumor mill run by anti-Beijing activists, it is often difficult to know what is really going on in Mainland China. Most of the rumors I see are unverifiable, and so they don't meet the `smell test' for inclusion in this blog.
Even though COVID has the bulk of our attention now, and for the foreseeable future, it never hurts to keep one eye on what is happening with other brewing threats.