Dossier H5N8: Confirmed in dead ducks in Kerala India most likely H5N8

The confirmation of H5 in the waterfowl in Kerala, India (Kottayam, Alappuzha, see map) increases the likelihood that these birds will be infected with H5N8 that matches the sequences from outbreaks in Germany, Netherlands, and England (A/turkey/Germany-MV/R2472/2014, A/Ch/Netherlands/14015526, A/duck/England/36254/14) in Europe was well as Japan (A/duck/Chiba/26-372-48/2014 and A/duck/Chiba/26-372-61/2014).

The five sets of sequences are from collections in November and are virtually identical, supporting spread by migrating birds. Wild birds in Japan (Tundra swans) and Germany (common Teal) have been PCR confirmed, and the Teal has been sequence confirmed (partial H5 and N8 sequences exactly match the turkey sequences in Germany).

Minister for Animal Husbandry of India, mr. K.P. Mohanan said on Monday that the H5 Avian Influenza virus had been confirmed in samples sent to the High Security Animal Disease (HSAD) Laboratory, Bhopal, India. The strain spreads between birds and can potentially affect humans.

A communication issued by H.R. Khanna, Assistant Commissioner, Union Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF), directed the State to carry out control and containment operations in the wake of the outbreak. The State has been asked to constitute teams for the purpose. A red alert has been issued in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts where the disease outbreak was noticed in ducks. Four panchayats, Aimanam, Purakkad, Kumarakom, and Thalavadi have been affected.

The Minister said affected birds would be culled from Tuesday to prevent the spread of the disease. Farmers would be compensated after assessing the extent of loss. He said directions had been issued to restrict the transportation of ducks and eggs from Alappuzha to other districts. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has convened a high-level meeting on Tuesday to discuss the steps to be taken to control the outbreak of bird flu.

Meanwhile, officials in the Animal Husbandry Department are accused of sleeping on repeated alerts from farmers in Alappuzha district highlighting the possibility of a major outbreak over the last one week. A highly placed source in the government said the department had failed to anticipate the crisis and take precautionary measures. In another related incident, 22 ducks brought from Alappuzha by a farmer at Mylakkara, near Kallikad, in Thiruvananthapuram were reported to have died on Saturday.

The presence of H5N8 in India would increase the similarities between H5N8 spread in 2014 and H5N1 spread in 2005/2006. Although initial reports in late 2005 were largely limited to eastern Europe, the number of confirmed H5N1 dramatically increased in early 2006 after H5N1 as confirmed in cases in Turkey. Cases were subsequently confirmed in humans in Azerbaijan, Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria, while poultry outbreaks were confirmed in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa as well as south Asia, including India.

The parallels with 2005/2006 strongly suggests that the H5 in India will be H5N8 and this novel sub-clade will found in additional countries in Europe, the Middles East, Africa, and south Asia in upcoming weeks or months.

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Dossier H5N8: Migratory birds are the source – European poultry industry on high alert

Schwerin – the State Minister of Agriculture in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Till Backhaus (SPD) in Schwerin officially anounced that another case of bird flu has been detected in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The H5N8 virus that has been the source of infection of the (currently known) 5 outbreaks in Germany, Holland and the UK and that was previously detected in South Korea has been officially recorded in a wild birds in the Vorpommern-Rügen area (Northern part of Germany).

After the first detection of H5N8 in a wild bird in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany’s’ Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) has asked the states to extensive precautions. “I urgently call on all poultry farmers to high attention and to adhering biosecurity measures,” said Schmidt.

Poultry should be kept inside and all suspected cases of illness or deaths among birds must be investigated and reported to the competent veterinary offices as soon as possible.

“With that the suspicion is strengthened that wild birds are connected with the cases in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well as in the Netherlands and Britain,” the minister said. As a precautionary measure, all German states should consider ordering farmers to keep their animals in the stalls, Schmidt added. On Sunday, November 23,Schmidt ordered a meeting of the extended national crisis teams.

Germany and the Netherlands were working closely together with the aim of preventing a possible spread of the virus and to trace back its origin, the minister said.
The first H5N8 case in Germany was confirmed on Nov. 4 on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some 5,000 birds were infected by the disease, of which 1,880 died.

Dutch health authorities on Saturday were destroying 8,000 ducks to prevent the possible spread of bird flu, which has infected three farms in a week in the Netherlands, a leading poultry and egg exporter.

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Dossier H5N8; Outbreak of High Patogen Avian Influenza H5N8 in Germany

Germany has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, H5N8 in fattening turkeys in North East Germany (Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania). Increased mortality was observed in one of the six sheds of 15 week old birds for fattening (total number of turkeys on the premises ~ 31,000 of which each shed contained 5,000).

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Dossier HPAI: The complete STOP AI Training Manual

In 2007, USAID launched a worldwide program to battle outbreaks of Avian Influenza under the name STOP AI: Stamping Out Pandemic & Avian Influenza.

This program was one of the largest Training of trainer programs on Avian Influenza of its kind, with training programs conducted in more than 40 countries.

The training manual contains valuable training materials, presentations, background information and references on various subjects:

Module 1 – Overview of Avian Influenza
Module 2 – National Preparedness & Response Plans for HPAI
Module 3 – OIE Avian Influenza Standards and FAO Emergency Prevention System
Module 4 – Public Health and Occupational Safety
Module 5 – Animal Surveillance
Module 6 – Sample Collection and Transport
Module 7 – GIS and Outbreak Mapping
Module 8 – Biosecurity
Module 9 – Introduction to Outbreak Response
Module 10 – Depopulation, Disposal, and Decontamination
Module 11 – Recovery Options.

This training course was intended for animal and human health experts who have limited experience with avian influenza, but who do have field experience with other animal, zoonotic, or infectious diseases. This course includes modules on avian influenza virology, epidemiology, response, and recovery.

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