Russia escalates tension over Georgia instead of escalating measures to fight bird flu

Avian Influenza: News update (Abkhazia Institute)

H5N1 in Poultry


An outbreak of H5N1 has been reported in the Russian republic of Primorsky in far eastern Russia. The outbreak in the village of Vozdvizhenka, located 110 km north of Vladlvostok, began on April 8 and included 21 chickens and 8 guineafowl that died over 2 days. According to the report to OIE, the probable source of the outbreak was attributed to hunted wild ducks or geese because viscera were fed to the farmer's poultry. Wild birds are shot each year in the territory to “control” bird flu and up to 2,000 birds are tested each year. So far none of them, including 150 wild ducks examined recently, have tested positive for H5N1. A ban on public hunting has been imposed in Primorsky. The farmer was briefly hospitalized with suspected bird flu but has been released after being tested, Russian Centre of Emergency Medicine said. Russia has not had an outbreak since December 2007. In the Foki village in the Ural district of Perm this week, 37,500 birds died. They were tested at a local laboratory and were negative for bird flu. The chief veterinarian of the Perm agriculture ministry said that the birds had died due to a technological problem with the farm’s ventilation system.



South Korea.

A total of 11 H5N1 outbreaks have been reported in South Korea. The rapid pace of the spread and the timing of the outbreaks, which occurred in April instead of between November and March, has Korean experts puzzled. Kim Woo-ju of Korea University Medical Center claimed that this shows the virus is changing into forms that can could cause a pandemic.

Authorities remain uncertain how bird flu spread so rapidly in the 14 days since the discovery of H5N1 in Gimje on April 1, but one possible mechanism was demonstrated this week when a duck farm, located 1.7 km from an infected premise in Gimje, secretly sold birds to a dealer, who then drove his truck through quarantine checkpoints to sell them to restaurants in six cities including Jeonju, Jeongeup, Buan and Iksan. Some of the ducks sold to a restaurant in Gimje has tested positive for avian influenza.

A new case of bird flu is suspected in the town of Pyongtaek, Kyonggi province, located only 60 km south of Seoul and over 280 km north of the other outbreaks in North and South Jeolla. A total of 350 chickens died suddenly and preliminary tests have confirmed H5 avian influenza. All 26,000 chickens on the farm will be culled even though H5N1 has not been confirmed. Chief veterinary officer Kim Chang-seob said, "Judging by the way the birds died off and the large numbers involved, there is a good chance that the Pyeongtaek chicken farm has been affected by avian influenza."  Kim said that if H5 is confirmed, birds in poultry farms located within 500 m of the farm will be destroyed.

H5N1 in Humans

Egypt. A two-year-old boy from the delta province of Sharkia has tested positive for H5N1. The boy developed symptoms on April 13 and is being treated with antivirals at the Al-Abbasiya Chest Hospital, in Cairo.

H5N1 in the Scientific Literature

Kerby, M. B. et al., 2008. Direct Sequence Detection of Structured H5 Influenza Viral RNA. J Mol Diagn. In press.
Korteweg, C. and Gu, J., 2008. Pathology, Molecular Biology, and Pathogenesis of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Infection in Humans. Am J Pathol 172:1155-1170.

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