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20,000 hens dead due to ‘mystery illness’ possibly bird flu in Brahmagiri, India

Bird Flu

In a precautionary measure after a number of blood samples of chicken found positive with bird flu virus in at least three villages under Brahamagiri block, the district administration today ordered for bird culling and ban on poultry sell in the area.

Informing on the steps, Puri Collector Jyoti Prakash Das said a decision has been taken to start bird culling within the radius of 1 kilometre from the affected area. The culling will start from tomorrow, he added.

Apart from bird culling, the selling of poultry products within a radius of 10 kilometres from the affected areas has been banned along with a stoppage in supply of eggs for Mid-Day Meals provided in schools.

Notably, bird flu fear loomed large in Bhrahmagiri block in past three days after over 20,000 hens died in a mysterious disease. While blood samples of the birds were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, a number of those were taken from Patharganj, Budhibar and Masasahi villages were found positive with H5N1 viruses.

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39,000 hens killed due to bird flu in Bogdanitsa, Bulgaria

Bird Flu

Bird flu has been registered in a farm in the village of Bogdanitsa, Sadovo municipality, regional food safety director Dr. Kamen Yankov told Focus Radio. The case was confirmed yesterday. 39,000 laying hens will be culled and accordingly buried to prevent any spread of the disease. The farm will be disinfected and the owners – compensated. The 3-km protection area includes the villages of Bogdanitsa, Ahmatovo and Seltsi. There is also a 10-km observation area. Restrictions on poultry trade are in place in those areas.

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43,000 hens killed due to bird flu in Trilistnik, Bulgaria

Bird Flu

The latest bird flu case affects 43,000 laying hens in a farm in the village of Trilistnik, regional food safety director Kamen Yankov told Focus Radio. Laboratory tests have confirmed an outbreak of the disease, identified as a primary outbreak. The measures taken to control and eradicate the disease include humane killing of all birds in the affected farm, disinfection and delineation of a 3-km protection area and a 10-km observation area around the site.

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2 MILLION birds dead from bird flu, egg shortage looms in Cape Town, South Africa

“The emotional impact for us as a family business has been severe,” explains Pier Passerini.
As the managing director of Windmeul Eggs, Passerini is in the unenviable position of steering a 40-year-old family business through the catastrophic impacts of the avian influenza outbreak.
Located near Wellington, the business is among several in the Western Cape that have been forced to cull hundreds of thousands of hens in an effort to halt the spread of the deadly H5N8 virus, although the birds often die faster than they can kill them.
He says the industry is in complete shock.
“Most of us, when we speak to each other, are at a loss for words. You know it’s something that was always in the back of your mind as a poultry farmer; you’ve read about in other countries… it’s a nightmare that just happened to become reality…”
The H5N8 strain, which was first detected on 22 June, quickly spread and, at last count, was detected at 36 locations across the province.
Laying farms have been worst affected, with the Western Cape accounting for the majority of cases.
“The poultry industry in the Western Cape is quite concentrated,” explains State Veterinarian Dr Lesley van Helden.
“It’s concentrated close to Cape Town, which is obviously where the market for poultry is mainly. And the problem with this is a lot of the farms are within a few kilometres of each other, so it’s much easier for a virus to spread between the farms than if the farms were further apart,” Van Helden says.
The result has been the disposal of birds in their millions, and the composting of the carcasses to try and prevent contagion.
Passerini says Windmeul has now lost 70% of its flock to the outbreak, and that the trauma of witnessing death on this scale has affected his whole family and his employees.
“To see tons and tons of birds being disposed of on a daily basis is difficult; it’s difficult for our staff that’s been with us for many years; it’s difficult for us as a family – it’s not easy to see.”
The consequences are far reaching. The Western Cape government estimates the immediate industry losses to be R800m, but stated on Monday that the long term financial impact is likely to be around R4bn.
According to Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde, the informal economy has been most affected thus far, with the cull bird market in “big trouble”.
“Now we’ll start to actually see it in the formal economy, on the shelves in your retailers,” he warned.
Of great concern to the provincial government is how this will impact poor households who rely on chicken meat and eggs as their main source of affordable protein.
A light at the end of the tunnel?
While farmers are trying to convince state officials to give permission for vaccinations, the Western Cape government is hoping the change in seasons will help stem the spread of the virus.
 “One of the other areas that also helps us is that it’s getting warmer. And you know with humans and flu – we are more susceptible to flu in winter time. As we move to summer, we are less susceptible to flu and the same thing obviously with Avian Influenza…” Winde said.
But for farmers busy floundering in the wake of the outbreak, simply waiting for summer to take care of the problem may not feel like an appropriate response
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50,000 hens killed due to bird flu in Nykoping, Sweden

On the affected farm outside Nyköping, Hemvärnet will assist in the management of the hens that are killed, commissioned by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.
The hens affected by bird flu in Nyköping are now killing and 20 people from home shelter are in place in protective equipment to serve in the removal of the 50 000 chickens.
“We will load bags and prepare for transport,” says Pontus Stenberg from Hemvärnet to P4 Sörmland.
The assignment will last for two days.
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22,000 hens killed due to bird flu in Kentucky, USA

Bird flu has now been confirmed in three Southern states, but officials say the nation’s poultry supply isn’t at risk.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that it’s temporarily banning the transportation of poultry after a form of the disease was found in a commercial flock of 22,000 hens in western Kentucky. The state says the farm was placed under quarantine and the birds were killed.
The announcement came as the state of Alabama confirmed the presence of the same form of bird flu in two flocks there. Another form of the poultry illness was previously detected in Tennessee.
Officials say none of the infected birds have entered the food chain. They say temporary measures limiting the movement of birds should help prevent the spread of the disease.
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6,200 hens killed due to bird flu in Koshi, Nepal

Nepal has reported firmed an outbreak of severe H5N8 bird flu on a poultry farm in the Koshi region, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday, citing a report from the Nepalese authorities.
The virus killed 3,650 of the 6,200 hens exposed, with the remaining animals culled, the Paris-based OIE said.
Nepal had already reported last month an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu among backyard chickens and ducks.
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Deadly Flu Virus Kills 79 Humans And Getting Worse In China

H7N9 Virus Alert
An avian influenza virus that emerged in 2013 is suddenly spreading widely in China, causing a sharp spike in human infections and deaths. Last month alone it sickened 192 people, killing 79, according to an announcement this week by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission in Beijing.
The surge in human cases is cause for alarm, says Guan Yi, an expert in emerging viral diseases at the University of Hong Kong in China. “We are facing the largest pandemic threat in the last 100 years,” he says.
As of 16 January, the cumulative toll from H7N9 was 918 laboratory-confirmed human infections and 359 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite its high mortality rate, H7N9 had gotten less attention of late than two other new strains—H5N8 and H5N6—that have spread swiftly, killing or forcing authorities to cull millions of poultry. But so far, H5N8 has apparently not infected people; H5N6 has caused 14 human infections and six deaths.
All human H7N9 cases have been traced to exposure to the virus in mainland China, primarily at live poultry markets. The strain likely resulted from a reshuffling of several avian influenza viruses circulating in domestic ducks and chickens, Guan’s group reported in 2013. Studies in ferrets and pigs have shown that H7N9 more easily infects mammals than H5N1, a strain that sparked pandemic fears a decade ago. There have been several clusters of H7N9 cases in which human-to-human transmission “cannot be ruled out,” but there is “no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission,” according to an analysis of recent developments that WHO posted online last week. WHO’s analyses of viral samples so far “do not show evidence of any changes in known genetic markers of virulence or mammalian adaptation,” WHO’s China Representative Office in Beijing wrote in an email to Science.
Still, there are worrisome riddles. One is that H7N9 causes severe disease in people but only mild or even no symptoms in poultry. The only previous example of that pattern, Guan says, is the H1N1 strain responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed 50 million to 100 million people.
A menace again
After two quiet years, human cases of the H7N9 bird flu virus in mainland China spiked sharply at the end of last year, provoking renewed fears of an influenza pandemic.
Because poultry infected with H7N9 show few symptoms, the virus has spread stealthily, coming to the attention of authorities only after human victims appeared. Determining where the virus is circulating requires testing chickens and collecting environmental samples from live poultry markets.
Human infections have followed a consistent pattern, dropping to zero during summer, picking up in the fall, and peaking in January. During the fifth wave of H7N9 that began last fall, authorities noticed an early and sudden uptick in cases, with 114 human infections from September to December 2016, compared with 16 cases during the same months in 2015 and 31 in 2014, according to a surveillance report. The report notes that the virus has spread geographically, with 23 counties in seven eastern Chinese provinces reporting their first human cases last fall.
“It is too late to contain the virus in poultry,” Guan says. He predicts that the virus will continue to spread in China’s farms, possibly evolving into a strain that would be pathogenic for poultry. Authorities have culled more than 175,000 birds this winter to stamp out local outbreaks of H7N9 and other avian flu strains. Further spread of H7N9 “will naturally increase human infection cases,” Guan says. 
H7N9 may also spread beyond China’s borders, either through the poultry trade or through migratory birds. The virus has not been reported in poultry outside China. However, warns WHO’s Beijing office, “continued vigilance is needed.”
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28,000 hens dead due to bird flu in Southern Greece

Bird Flu
Greece reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus among laying hens on a farm in the southern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday, citing a report from the Greek farm ministry.
The country had already reported a case of H5N8 in a swan in December but this would be the first outbreak on a farm.
Some 28,000 hens died of the virus, the report said.
The H5N8 Bird flu virus has spread among European countries in recent months with more than 20 countries hit so far, according to the OIE.
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China confirms another human bird flu case, second case in three days

Bird Flu
China health authorities confirmed a new case of a man being infected by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, state news agency Xinhua said late on Saturday.
According to Xinhua, a 53-year-old man is being treated in hospital in the southern China province of Jiangxi provincial and is in a critical condition.
Till date, China has reported a total of 17 bird flu infected people and at least two of them have died. Since October, China has culled more than 170,000 birds in four provinces and has closed some live poultry markets after people and birds were infected by strains of the avian flu.
China suffered the last major bird flu outbreak from late 2013 to early 2014 that had killed 36 people and led to more than US$6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector. Earlier this month, Shanghai, the largest city of China with more than 24 million residents, has also already reported one human case of H7N9 infection.
The virus was first reported in humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Reports say six people had died and subsequent outbreaks have killed hundreds more worldwide.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday that the recent outbreak of the virus have been handled in a “timely and effective” manner. It did not spread and have not affected chicken products or prices.
The farmers have also increased cleaning regimes, animal detention techniques, and built roofs to cover hen pens, among other steps, to prevent the disease.
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