Update H7N9 AI outbreak in China, ECDC, April 11, 2013

China is opening up and learnt from the past it seams. They started to share information, but only in relation to the human cases. Not a word about the source of the outbreaks. Not a word over where the infected farms are. Pigeons are very unlikely to spread the virus through markets. If you have to run the biggest town of China, providing the people with eggs and poultry meat, you need extremely large farms, close to the customers. Well-protected, because of the risks that the animals are going to be infected. Think what the financial consequences would be if these farms should have to e closed.

One of the things that is important when it comes to human infections is the Case Fatality Ratio CFR of the virus, commonly called a case fatality rate, although it isn’t technically a rate but a proportion. On 10 April 2013, 33 human cases of infection with influenza A(H7N9) virus have been reported in four provinces of China: Shanghai (15), Jiangsu (10), Zhejiang (6) and Anhui (2). since 31 March 2013, with onset of disease between 19 February and 3 April 2013. The date of disease onset is currently unknown for five patients. Nine patients died.

That means that the current CFR = 27%, but there are still 21 are severe cases and three are mild cases. The median age is 64 years with a range between 4 and 87 years; 11 of them are females.

To calculate CFR, you can only count resolved cases, that is, people who have recovered or died. We don’t know for sure how many are still in hospital, but it appears to be a large number, many in critcal condition. Even if some of these survive, they obviously would not have without advanced care. This will not be available in a severe pandemic.

The true CFR of this virus could become as high as 90%. To decrease the CFR significantly, we would have to assume thousands of unreported mild cases. If this is true, we will see cases in other countries very soon.

We are either looking at a virus which is already pandemic-ready or at a virus with a 90% kill rate which is 2 mutations away from pandemic status. I would actually prefer the former as the latter is a potential species-wiper.

Update H7N9 AI outbreak in China, ECDC, April 11, 2013 from Charm Key

Update of 10 April: novel influenza A virus A(H7N9) in China

April 10, 2013, ECDC: On 31 March 2013, the Chinese health authorities announced that they identified a novel influenza A(H7N9) virus in three seriously ill patients. As of 9 April 2013, 26 human cases of infection with influenza A(H7N9) virus have been reported in four provinces of China: Shanghai (13), Jiangsu (8), Zhejiang (3) and Anhui (2). Of these patients, 8 people have died, 15 are severe cases and 3 are mild cases. No epidemiological link has been identified among cases. The source of these infections and the mode of transmission are yet to be determined. This is the first time that human infection with influenza A(H7N9) virus has been identified. No vaccine is currently available for this subtype of the influenza virus. Preliminary test results suggest that the virus is susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir).


Evaluatie bestrijding AI crisis, maart 2004

Op 28 februari 2003 leidt een onderzoek naar een verhoogde uitval van leghennen bij een pluimveebedrijf in de Gelderse Vallei tot een ernstige verdenking van klassieke vogelpest. Het bleek al snel een van de grootste uitbraken van vogelpest binnen Europa te zijn. Zowel de pluimvee sector als wel de overheid werden voor een schier onmogelijke opgave gesteld deze uitbraak onder controle te krijgen. Dit evaluatie rapport verschaft inzicht in de aanpak en het verloop van de AI-crisis in Nederland.


Dutch Avian Influenza outbreak 2003: lessons to be learned

How effective was the battle against Avian Influenza in Holland, 10 years ago? How could it happen? What was the role of the veterinarian? Lessons learned form the first large scale outbreak within a highly populated and highly industrialized country like Holland.


2003 AI outbreak Holland: comparing culling methods

This study of a group of students was conducted in 2003, during the outbreak of H7N7 in Holland. Since a new series of outbreaks recently started in Asia, it’s good to look back how the efficiency and effectiveness of the Dutch Emergency Response actually was.


Comparing firefighting foam and 100% Co2 for depopulating poultry

Current control strategies for avian influenza (AI) and other highly contagious poultry diseases include surveillance, quarantine, depopulation, disposal, and decontamination. Selection of the best method of emergency mass depopulation needs to maximize human health and safety while minimizing disease spread and animal welfare concerns. An overall goal of this project was to find a way to evaluate the welfare of the poultry subjected to a depopulation treatment. This study consisted of two experiments to evaluate the efficacy of mass depopulation methods. Experiment 1 was conducted as a proof of concept for the use of the alpha/delta (A/D) ratio in evaluating the time to loss of consciousness in poultry. Experiment 2 was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of two mass depopulation methods on turkeys. The methods that were tested were carbon dioxide (CO2) gassing and firefighting foam.

Not that, according to Directive EU 1099/2009 firefighting foam is not allowed to be used for culling poultry within the European Union.


Mass Depopulation of Poultry as a Disease Control Method

USA, July 6, 2006, Karen Davis, PhD, President UPC – United Poultry Concerns – in a reaction to Dr. Darrel Styles, USDAAPHIS/Animal Care.

On June 21, 2006, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service’s Animal Care unit sponsored a meeting on Methods of Mass Depopulation of Poultry. Each nongovernmental organization attending the meeting was asked to submit a summary of their recommendations on how the Department should proceed with its influenza planning in regard to mass depopulation of poultry.

Read more:http://www.upc-online.org/poultry_diseases/71106usda.html.


Report McKeegan: High expansion foam; a humane way of killing? (Oct. 2011)

Dorothy McKeegan presented on October 2011 her study: High Expansion Gas-foam: a humane agent for emergency killing of poultry? Dorothy studied Zoology at the University of Glasgow before completing the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at Edinburgh University.

After gaining her PhD in 1999, she worked at Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, conducting neurophysiological and behavioural research relating to the welfare of poultry. Dorothy was appointed as the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation lecturer at Glasgow in February 2005, and her teaching role involves delivering an integrated teaching programme for animal welfare and ethics across the undergraduate curriculum.

As a member of the Division of Animal Production and Public Health, Dorothy continues to pursue her research interests in avian sensory physiology, pain perception and poultry welfare. In current projects she is investigating avian pain, humane emergency slaughter and the welfare implications of production-related conditions. Dorothy also has an educational research interest in the teaching and assessment of ethical reasoning in veterinary students.


Report Marien Gerritzen: Welfare assessment of gas filled foam for killing poultry (2010)


During outbreaks of notifiable diseases in poultry control measures require poultry to be killed on-farm, preferably in their production housing in order to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
The Dutch governments interest in the potential of delivering gas into sheds using high- expansion foam as an acceptable method of emergency killing of poultry is shared by the UK government (Defra). To maximise the benefits of complementary research a collaborative programme of research between the respective project leaders Dr Dorothy McKeegan and Dr Marien Gerritzen

(Livestock Research Wageningen UR, NL) was established. Results and conclusions of this complementary research, as well as practical recommendations based on this research project are presented in this report.


Read report:  Gas foaming research report Oct 2010


Dierenbescherming pleit voor humane ruiming

Den Haag, 1 augustus 2006: De Dierenbescherming heeft bij het ministerie van Landbouw aangedrongen op een humane dood voor de duizenden dieren van een pluimveebedrijf in Voorthuizen. Het ministerie maakte dinsdag bekend dat in het bedrijf een milde variant van het vogelgriepvirus is aangetroffen.

Lees het hele artikel: Dierenbescherming pleit voor humane ruiming