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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:07 am 
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FAO has issued an H5N8 alert for European countries.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:08 am 
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New avian influenza’s rapid spread to Europe threatens poultry sector especially in low-resourced countries

FAO and OIE urge at-risk countries to step-up prevention efforts through increased bio-security
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Photo: ©Scott Nelson/WPN for FAO
Surveillance systems to detect virus outbreaks include laboratory testing.
24 November 2014, Rome/Paris - A new bird flu strain detected in Europe which is similar to strains reported to be circulating in 2014 in Asia poses a significant threat to the poultry sector, especially in low-resourced countries situated along the Black Sea and East Atlantic migratory routes of wild birds, FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) warned today.

Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have confirmed the new avian influenza virus strain H5N8 on poultry farms, and German authorities have also found the virus in a wild bird.

Earlier this year, the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea reported outbreaks of H5N8 in poultry as well as findings in migratory birds and waterfowl. The fact that the virus has now been found within a very short time interval in three European countries, both in a wild bird and in three very different poultry production systems, suggests that wild birds may have played a role in spreading the virus, FAO and OIE experts said.

H5N8 has so far not been confirmed to infect people. However, it is highly pathogenic for domestic poultry, causing significant mortality in chickens and turkeys. The virus can also infect wild birds, which show little signs of illness. It is known from other influenza viruses that wild birds are able to carry the virus long distances.

Should poultry systems with low-biosecurity conditions become infected in countries with limited veterinary preparedness, the virus could spread through farms with devastating effects, both on vulnerable livelihoods as well as on country economies and trade. The best way for countries to safeguard against these impacts is to encourage better biosecurity and to maintain surveillance systems that detect outbreaks early and enable veterinary services to respond rapidly.

The new virus strain provides a stark reminder to the world that avian influenza viruses continue to evolve and emerge with potential threats to public health, food security and nutrition, to the livelihoods of vulnerable poultry farmers, as well as to trade and national economies. Therefore extreme vigilance is strongly recommended while progressive control efforts must be sustained and financed.

In particular, to protect poultry-related livelihoods and trade, FAO and OIE are recommending at-risk countries to:

increase surveillance efforts for the early detection of H5N8 and other influenza viruses;
maintain and further strengthen rapid response capacities of veterinary services;
reinforce biosecurity measures, with particular emphasis on minimizing contact between domestic poultry and wild birds;
raise awareness of hunters and other individuals who may come into contact with wildlife in order to provide early information on sick or dead wild birds.
The new strain of avian influenza has not resulted in human cases. Nevertheless it is related to the H5N1 virus, which is known to have spread from Asia into Europe and Africa in 2005-2006. The H5N1 epidemic, in which wild birds have also been implicated, has caused the deaths of nearly 400 people and hundreds of millions of poultry to date. Therefore prudent and precautionary interventions at the animal level are warranted.

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/2 ... content=gk

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:41 pm 
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New Strain of Bird Flu Prompts a Warning for Farmers
By RICK GLADSTONE
NOV. 24, 2014

A new, lethal strain of bird flu detected this month on poultry farms in Britain and the Netherlands has now been reported in Germany, among both domesticated birds and a wild bird, international agriculture authorities said Monday. A warning posted by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health said the new virus, H5N8, was the same as a strain that hit poultry, migratory birds and waterfowl in China, Japan and South Korea this year. Its discovery within such a short time in three European countries, the warning said, suggests that wild birds may have spread the virus. The warning said the virus posed “a significant threat” to poultry farmers in countries along the Black Sea and East Atlantic migratory routes of wild birds. While H5N8 has not affected humans, the warning said it was related to H5N1, the bird flu that caused an epidemic in 2005-6, causing the deaths of nearly 400 people and the culling of hundreds of millions of birds.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/world ... .html?_r=0

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Avian flu: urgent request for scientific advice

News in brief
26 November 2014

EFSA is assessing the current situation on the H5N8 avian influenza A virus in Europe and the world, following an urgent request from the European Commission. Experts are focussing on the possible entry routes of the virus into Europe- in particular on the role of wild birds.

The highly contagious avian influenza virus has recently been detected in three European countries: in a turkey holding in Germany; three chicken holdings in the Netherlands and in a duck breeding holding in the United Kingdom.

The flu viruses found in the EU are similar to one that affected poultry flocks in South Korea earlier this year. To date, there are no recorded cases of humans contracting the H5N8 virus.

EFSA’s role is to provide EU risk managers with independent scientific advice and assistance on animal health and welfare related to avian influenza and any possible food safety issues.

In previous risk assessments EFSA provided information on the risks of influenza viruses entering and spreading amongst poultry in Europe and made recommendations to prevent existing risks. EFSA experts also concluded that there is no scientific evidence that avian influenza can be transmitted to humans through consumption of food.

The scientific report will be delivered in early December 2014.

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/141126a.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:07 pm 
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Questions and Answers on High Pathogenic H5N8 Avian influenza strain (Update 27/11/2014)
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What is Avian Influenza (AI)?

Avian influenza (AI) is a disease of birds, caused by Type “A” influenza viruses which can affect several species of domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, ducks, etc., as well as pet birds and wild migratory birds and water fowl. Avian influenza viruses have also been isolated, although less frequently, from mammalian species including rats, mice, weasels, ferrets, pigs, cats, tigers, dogs, horses, as well as humans.

What does Low Pathogenic/Highly Pathogenic mean?

There are many strains of AI viruses that can generally be classified into two categories according to the severity of disease in poultry:

low pathogenic (LPAI) that typically causes little or no clinical signs in birds
highly pathogenic (HPAI) that can cause severe clinical signs and possible high mortality rates in birds.
The differentiation between low and high pathogenicity avian influenza is based on the results of laboratory tests, which are described in the OIE Diagnostic Manual.

This characterisation of avian influenza viruses as low or high pathogenicity (severity of disease) is specific to poultry and other birds, and not necessarily to other species that can be susceptible to avian influenza viruses including humans.

Where has influenza A (H5N8) been reported?

This virus was initially reported as a low pathogenic strain in the State of Idaho in the United States in 2008 and again in 2014 in the State of California.

A highly pathogenic strain of H5N8 was detected earlier this year in Asia in poultry species in the Republic of Korea, Japan and in China.

In January 2014, the authorities of the Republic of Korea reported the first poultry cases of disease due to the infection with a highly pathogenic strain H5N8 of avian influenza viruses (type A). A total of 29 outbreaks were reported in birds involving geese, chickens and ducks. Close to 600,000 birds were culled. In September 2014, the country subsequently reported a new outbreak in ducks reared for meat production where 1200 birds died and 19,800 were culled to control the disease.

In April 2014, Japan notified one outbreak caused by HPAI H5N8 with 1100 cases reported. As a part of the control measures, 112,000 birds were destroyed/culled. . Four months later, in November 2014, another outbreak was notified by Japan when the virus was confirmed from two (2) faecal samples taken from tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus).

China reported the same subtype of avian influenza viruses in October 2014 notifying two outbreaks involving one environmental sample and one duck sample collected as a part of the national surveillance plan.

German authorities confirmed highly pathogenic H5N8, in fattening turkeys in a semi-closed rearing system in Mecklenburg - Vorpommern in early November. One case was detected; all 1,731 susceptible birds present at the farm were destroyed.

Two weeks later, Germany reported that a clinically healthy wild duck, shot in Mecklenburg - Vorpommern, tested positive to HPAI H5N8. Active monitoring of wild birds showed negative results for avian influenza virus with the exception of this duck. The virus was sequenced and reported to be the same as from the outbreak in the turkey farm.
All samples taken from poultry of holdings in the restricted zones and of contact holdings have been investigated with negative results for avian influenza.

In mid-November the veterinary services of The Netherlands detected the virus ona farm of 150,000 layer and breeding hens in Utrecht in a closed breeding system.
Four days later, Netherlands reported two more outbreaks. Cumulatively, more than 200,000 birds have been destroyed in the 3 outbreaks in Netherlands. A 10 km surveillance zone was established immediately which encompassed 26 other poultry premises. Screening birds on these premises has been undertaken.

In mid-November the United Kingdom also detected a highly pathogenic HPAI virus subtype H5N8 in a housed 60-week-old duck breeding flock. Approximately 6,000 birds have been culled. The authorities considered the outbreak closed on the 21/11/2014.

These data are extracted from WAHIS, the OIE World Animal Health Information System.

More information about WAHIS
Access to the list of HPAI notifications
What is the source of influenza A (H5N8)?

Based on the partial sequence data of the HA gene segment, the German, the Dutch and the British viruses were identified as closely related to the Republic of Korea H5N8 viruses. Investigations are continuing to determine the source of the European outbreaks. The viruses belong to the clade 2.3.4.6.

Have wild birds been identified as a carrier of the influenza A (H5N8) virus?

Wild birds can normally carry avian influenza viruses in their respiratory or intestinal tracts but they do not commonly get sick. They have historically been known as reservoirs and vectors of AI viruses. Around the world, surveillance measures have been put in place to monitor occurrence and characteristics of AI viruses in wild birds. To date, the infection with avian influenza viruses subtype H5N8 has been detected in wild birds in China[1], the Republic of Korea[2] and Japan[3] and recently in Germany from a wild duck. The majority of avian influenza viruses does not cause disease in wild birds, but is very likely that wild birds might spread the virus via their migratory flyways.

National authorities are strongly encouraged to raise the awareness and established cooperation mechanism with hunters and other individuals who may come into contact with wild birds in order to provide early information on sick or dead wild birds.

How is influenza A (H5N8) transmitted and spread among birds?

All AI viruses can be transmitted among birds through direct contact with secretions from infected birds, especially faeces or through contaminated feed, water, equipment, and human clothing and shoes.

They are readily transmitted from farm to farm by the movement of domestic live birds, people (especially when shoes and other clothing are contaminated), and contaminated vehicles, equipment, feed, and cages. Highly pathogenic viruses can survive for long periods in the environment, especially when temperatures are low.

Several factors can contribute to the spread of all AI viruses including: the movements of people and goods, marketing practices (live bird markets), farming practices and the presence of the viruses in migratory wild birds.

What are the reporting requirements for influenza A (H5N8)?

As detailed in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, all cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) found in any domestic or wild bird must be notified to the OIE by the competent authorities (Veterinary Services) in a country.

Low pathogenic avian influenza viruses of subtypes H5 and H7 in poultry are also notifiable to the OIE because, even though they do not cause severe disease, they have the potential to mutate readily into highly pathogenic viruses or to infect other species.

What are the basic requirements for worldwide AI prevention and control in animals?

All countries must maintain the public and private components of Veterinary Services, which comply with OIE standards on quality, including:

Appropriate legislation;
Early detection and response capacities in face of biological events in animals;
Compensation mechanism establishment and management;
Efficient veterinary laboratories;
Use of vaccination in relevant epidemiological situations when appropriate.
Can culling be used as a control measure?

If the infection is detected in animals, generally a culling policy is used in the efforts to control and eradicate the disease.

Requirements include (and are described in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code):

humane destruction of all infected and exposed animals (according to OIE animal welfare standards);
appropriate disposal of carcasses and all animal products;
surveillance and tracing of potentially infected or exposed poultry;
strict quarantine and controls on movement of poultry and any potentially contaminated vehicles and personnel;
thorough decontamination of infected premises;
a period at least 21 days before restocking.
Culling of infected and susceptible domestic birds has been carried out by currently affected countries with respect to highly pathogenic H5N8.

What are the OIE recommendations for trade in poultry from a country infected with influenza A (H5N8)?

The risk analysis to be used by importing countries in order to protect their territory from pathogen introduction is very complex and is based on a long list of OIE standards.

In the case of outbreaks of high pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N8 strain in potential exporting countries, the recommendations for safe trade that apply can be found in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Chapter 10.4; 2014). These measures are science-based and should not result in unjustified trade barriers; they include zoning, the testing of the animal populations of origin and processing temperatures for eggs, egg products and poultry meat sufficient to inactivate the virus.

What compensation measures should be applied for the concerned farmers?

Systems for financial compensation of farmers and producers who have lost their animals as a result of mandatory culling requested by national authorities vary around the world; they may not exist at all in some countries. The OIE encourages national authorities to develop and propose compensation schemes because they are a key to early detection and transparency in reporting the occurrence of animal diseases, including avian influenza.

What are the food safety recommendations?

Animals which have been culled as a result of control measures in response to an outbreak of avian influenza, including the A (H5N8) virus, should not enter the food and feed chain as a precautionary and regulatory measure.

There is no evidence to suggest that the consumption of poultry meat or eggs could transmit the AI virus to humans.

What is the public health risk associated with avian influenza?

AI viruses are highly species-specific, but have, on rare occasions, crossed the species barrier to infect humans. This disease should not be confused with seasonal human influenza (flu), a very common human disease (generally caused by human H1 and H3 viruses). Transmission of AI viruses to humans occurs when there is close contact with infected birds or heavily contaminated environments.

Currently there is no evidence of human infection from influenza A(H5N8) virus.

What prevention measures are recommended at the farm level?

It is essential for poultry producers to maintain biosecurity practices to prevent introduction of the virus in their flock:

keep poultry away from areas frequented by wild fowl;
do not provide elements on property that may attract wild birds;
keep control over access to poultry houses by people and equipment;
maintain sanitation of property, poultry houses and equipment;
avoid the introduction of birds of unknown disease status into flock;
report illness and death of birds to Veterinary Services;
appropriate disposal of manure and dead poultry;
vaccinate animals when appropriate.


More information

1. OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code
2. OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests & Vaccines for Terrestrial Animal
3. OIE Technical Disease Card
4. OIE web portal on avian influenza
5. OIE/FAO Network of expertise on animal influenza (OFFLU)

[1] Fan S1, Zhou L, Wu D, Gao X, Pei E, Wang T, Gao Y, Xia X., A novel highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza virus isolated from a wild duck in China. Influenza Other Respir. Viruses, 2014 Nov 1. doi: 10.1111/irv.12289.
[2] Ku KB, Park EH, Yum J, Kim JA, Oh SK, Seo SH. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N8) Virus from Waterfowl, South Korea, 2014. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2014;20(9):1587-1588. doi:10.3201/eid2009.140390.
[3] WAHID

http://www.oie.int/en/for-the-media/pre ... -27112014/

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:14 pm 
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Nov 28, 2014
WUR examines HPAI spread through wild birds
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Birds that spent the summer in Siberia might have been the source of the new bird flu outbreaks in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, according to Wageningen University researchers.
WUR examines HPAI spread through wild birds
The water bird Eurasian teal - spotted in the western part of The Netherlands, where Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 was first diagnosed - uses the same breeding grounds in Siberia as birds that migrate to Japan and South Korea. Those Asian countries had outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 earlier this year.

During the HPAI H5N8 outbreaks in South Korea earlier this year (2014) HPAI H5N8 virus was isolated in poultry, but also in wild birds originating from the Donglim Reservoir that is situated in the outbreak area with poultry farms (Jeong et al., 2014).

Donglim Reservoir is one of the most important resting sites for migratory Baikal teal, which overwinter in South Korea, Japan, and northern and Eastern China. HPAI H5N8 viruses were isolated from carcasses of wild birds but also from faeces, originating from the Baikal teal (Anas formosa), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), coot (Fulica atra) and the bean goose (Anser fabalis).

Mid April 2014 the virus popped-up on a poultry farm in Japan. In the frame work of wild life monitoring in Japan, faecal samples of Bewick tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) were taken and tested positive for HPAI H5N8 virus (ProMEDmail, 2014).

The German Ministry of Agriculture announced on 22 November 2014 that a common teal (Anas crecca) tested positive for the HPAI H5N8 virus. The teal was shot outside a risk area installed in Germany around the HPAI H5N8 outbreak on a turkey farm in Mecklenburg-VorPommern (risk area with a radius of 50km).

The above mentioned wild water birds use, among others, breeding grounds in Siberia. The common breeding grounds facilitate the exchange and development of avian influenza viruses among the birds present. After the breeding season, the above mentioned water birds migrate to Europe and to Asia for overwintering. In the countries of destination of the migratory birds avian influenza viruses can be swapped with the resident wild bird populations. The common teal has been spotted this year at several sites in the western part of the Netherlands, the area of the first outbreaks of HPAI H5N8 among commercial poultry.

Source: Wageningen University
CVI researchers Armin Elbers, Ruth Bouwstra en Guus Koch
by WORLD POULTRY Nov 28, 2014

http://www.worldpoultry.net/Broilers/He ... -1654932W/

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:56 pm 
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Background information on HPAI H5N8 in wild birds, possible source for avian influenza in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe

During the HPAI H5N8 outbreaks in South Korea earlier this year (2014), the virus was detected in poultry, but it was also isolated from wild birds coming from the Donglim Reservoir which is situated in the area where the outbreaks in poultry have occurred (Jeong et al., 2014).
Image

H5N8 HPAI viruses were isolated from carcasses of wild birds and from feces, including from various duck species such as the Baikal Teal ( Anas formosa ), mallard ( Anas platyrhynchos), coot (Fulica atra ) and Taiga Bean Goose (Anser fabalis).

In mid-April 2014, the HPAI H5N8 virus popped up at a poultry farm in Japan. In the context of wild bird monitoring in Japan in fecal samples from small swans ( Cygnus columbianus bewickii shown) HPAI H5N8 virus (ProMEDmail, 2014).

On November 22, 2014 the German Ministry of Agriculture reported that in one shot teal ( Anas crecca ) HPAI H5N8 virus was demonstrated. The duck was shot outside a set 'at risk' (50 km around outbreak in turkeys business in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).

The aforementioned wild waterfowl have breeding grounds in Siberia. On the breeding grounds, there is an excellent opportunity to exchange and develop flu viruses. Above draw after the breeding season for waterfowl wintering in Europe and to Asia. The wintering countries flu viruses are exchanged by migratory birds and resident waterfowl populations. Teal is this year in several places in the Netherlands, especially in the western Netherlands, observed .


CVI researchers Armin Elbers, Ruth Bouwstra and Guus Koch

http://www.wageningenur.nl/nl/Expertise ... Europa.htm

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