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China Confirms Avian Flu Outbreak 05/12/2017

China’s Ministry of Agriculture recently confirmed that there had been an outbreak of bird flu at chicken broiler farms in a central province.

The outbreak in Hexian (a city with a population of about 500,000 people in the central province of Anhui) was caused by the H5N6 strain of the virus. Following the outbreak, the local government culled more than 30,000 birds. The outbreak had infected some 28,650 broiler chickens and killed more than 15,000 of the birds.

There had been an earlier outbreak of bird flu in August – also the H5N6 strain, and that had killed almost 10,000 birds on quail farms in the south-west province of Guizhou.

How does it spread?
These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds and can spread quickly to domesticated bird populations. Wild aquatic birds can be infected with avian influenza A viruses in their intestines and respiratory tract. Usually, they do not get sick. However, such infections are very contagious among birds, and some of these viruses can sicken and kill certain domesticated bird including chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

Bird flu outbreaks are a problem for domestic birds (or birds kept for food) because there is a potential for low pathogenic H5 and H7 viruses to evolve into highly pathogenic versions. Then, this results in rapid spread and significant illness and deaths among poultry during outbreaks of the highly-pathogenic kind of virus.

Such outbreaks have a significant economic impact, and trade restrictions may be applied.

Other countries have also been affected – South Korea and Japan tackled significant outbreaks during the winter. Bird flocks are more vulnerable to avian flu during the drier winter months.

The H7N9 strain of the virus has resulted in at least 281 deaths in China since October, with two cases of human infection. Live poultry markets in many provinces were closed as a result of human infections.

The last major outbreak of avian flu in China took place in 2013. It cost the farm sector more than $6 billion in losses and killed some 36 people.

Prevention is better than cure
While bird flu is not yet back in this country, the announcement reinforces the importance of bio-security at all times. Click Here
to read our guidelines on ‘how to get biosecure in 3 simple steps.’

To find out more about what you can do to protect your business, please call us on 01903 538 488, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

 

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