CHANGSHA – A 59-year-old man having close contact with live poultry died on Monday morning of the H7N9 flu virus, the first of its kind in central China’s Hunan province, local authority said.
A separate statement issued by the health department of Guangdong province on Monday said a patient surnamed Xie died of the virus on Sunday in Foshan after treatment failed.
With the new cases, H7N9 has so far killed 25 people in China since January, and the number of human infections has been 113, with Zhejiang and Guangdong being mostly affected.
By Christina Larson
Science – As flu season bears down, the world is warily eyeing China. A novel H7N9 avian flu strain emerged here in March, infecting at least 135 people and killing 45 before petering out in the summer. Now it is back, with four human cases in southern China in the past month. More cases are a certainty, and researchers, public health experts, and vaccinemakers are preparing for the remote but real possibility that H7N9 will explode into a pandemic.
For now, the signs are reassuring. Sustained human-to-human transmission would be needed for H7N9 to cause widespread illness. But so far, there have been only a handful of possible instances of people infecting each other. In 70% of cases, victims are believed to have picked up the virus directly from live poultry, says Masato Tashiro, head of a World Health Organization (WHO) flu collaborating center in Tokyo. H7N9 is “still looking for ways to adapt well to humans,” says George Gao, deputy director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).
By Kate Kelland
MSN News — Research published in the British Medical Journal analyzing a family cluster of cases of the bird flu infection H7N9 in eastern China found it was very likely the virus “transmitted directly from the index patient (a 60-year-old man) to his daughter.”
Experts commenting on the research said while it did not necessarily mean H7N9 are any closer to becoming the next flu pandemic, “it does provide a timely reminder of the need to remain extremely vigilant.”
By Chris Wright
The Poultry Site – At the same time, the Chinese poultry sector is still having trouble and continues to recover from the crisis caused by avian influenza. The Chinese government just announced that it is giving the industry 300 million yuan (48.5 million dollars) more to help the poultry industry in its recovery. This is added to the 900 million yuan that has already been given to the industry. Aside from the central government subsidies, ten provinces have established preferential policies to support the poultry industry.
ANALYSIS – A new study from the US shows just how poor storage conditions can be at retailers and on farms for animal health products. If the results represent the industry generally, it is little wonder that vaccines, antibiotics and other products sometimes give disappointing results! There are signs that the H7N9 avian flu crisis is abating in China and the Mexican authorities have reported no new outbreaks in the region of Puebla. However, another low-pathogenic form of the flu virus has been reported at a farm in Spain in the last week.
Animal health products including vaccines and antibiotics usually have defined storage conditions to maintain their efficacy. These conditions, stated on the packaging, need to be kept to throughout the supply chain but a recently published case study involving beef producers in Idaho has revealed less-than-ideal refrigeration storage conditions for these products at retailers and on-farm.
Idaho beef producers and animal health product retailers participated in a study to gather data on the handling and management of animal health products.
In the study, the University of Idaho placed data loggers in 176 refrigerators (129 belonging to producers and 47 with retailers), recording temperatures in 10-minute intervals for a minimum of 48 hours.
The approximate age, type and location of the producers’ refrigerators were recorded, along with where the products were stored in the refrigerator. An inventory of each producers’ refrigerator was taken, with expired and opened products recorded.
Almost one-third (31 per cent) of the producers’ refrigerators maintained the recommended temperature range of 2 to 7°C for more than 95 per cent of the time but one-third (33 per cent) of the producers’ refrigerators maintained the recommended temperature range less than five per cent of the time.
Thirty-four per cent of the retailers’ refrigerators were within the recommended temperature range for more than 95 per cent of the time. However, 17 per cent were in the range less than five per cent of the time. More than 40 per cent of retailers did not monitor refrigerator temperatures.
Turning to news of bird flu, no new human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported in China in the last week and official are doing their utmost to convince the local population that the danger is over, including eating poultry meat in public. H7N9-positive samples are still being reported at some markets.
Shanghai retailers are now allowed to sell chicken meat again, which will come as a relief to hard-pressed poultry farmers who have seen close to a market collapse for their product over the last few weeks.
Low-pathogenic H7N1 avian flu has been reported in breeding hens at a farm in the Spanish region of Catalonia in the last week. Of the 12,000-plus birds in the flock, 133 died and rest have been destroyed.
In Mexico, surveillance has uncovered no new cases of bird flu in Puebla, according to the Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA).
Source: ThePoultrySite, 28th May, 2013
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By Lavinia Mo of Reuters
MSN News — The new H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted between mammals not only via direct contact but also in airborne droplets, and may be capable of spreading from person to person, Chinese and American researchers have found.
A study published in the journal Science and presented at a briefing in Hong Kong on Friday found that three ferrets, an animal often used for flu research, that were in the same cage as ferrets infected with H7N9 had contracted the disease.
One of three ferrets kept in separate cages nearby also became infected, through airborne exposure.
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By Jackie Linden
The Poultry Site – A University of Delaware study has found poultry manure to be less environment-polluting than previous thought. A new report, however, highlights the contribution of livestock to greenhouse gas emissions, while researchers have identified changes in manure management and nutrition that could greatly mitigate the impact from poultry. China is beginning to count the cost of the H7N9 flu outbreaks to its poultry industry.
A new study in the US has found that poultry production brings a lower environmental burden than thought.
Federal environmental programmes have drastically overestimated poultry industry contributions to water pollution, according to a University of Delaware-led study that could trigger changes to river and bay clean-up plans across Delmarva and around the country.
James L. Glancey, a professor in the university’s Bioresources Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments, said that a multi-state study, based on thousands of manure tests, found that actual nitrogen levels in poultry house manure are 55 per cent lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s decades-old, lab-based standards.
This work could significantly impact the future of poultry farming in the Chesapeake Bay area, where a forecasting model has been used to guide a federally backed attempt to restore the bay’s health and ecosystems and assign clean-up goals.
Growth in agricultural production has resulted in increased agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – with a huge proportion of emissions coming from livestock production, according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute.
In Japan, researchers comparing the figures for the output of GHG for pig and poultry production in France and Japan found that changing the manure handling process and increasing the use of synthetic amino acids in feeds could be beneficial in reducing GHG output.
Avian influenza can be very costly for the poultry industry, as the Chinese are finding to their cost. Official figures released this week by the China Animal Agriculture Association estimated that since the H7N9 influenza outbreak the poultry industry has recorded losses of more than 40 billion Yuan (US$6.5 billion).
The central government announced this week subsidies of 600 million Yuan ($96.77 million) to support the poultry producers across the country as live bird markets were closed to control the disease and poultry meat demand slumped. Processing companies will receive short-term subsidized loans and local financial institutions are being encouraged to offer credit aid to breeders and companies.
The China Development Bank, the country’s policy lender has said it has issued emergency loans worth 116 million Yuan (US$18.7 million) to help poultry firms cope with the impact of avian flu.
Chinese economists are predicting fewer cases of H7N9 flu in May and a dramatic improvement in market fortunes by mid-summer.
On human cases of influenza A(H7N9), the latest report from China gives the tally as 130 confirmed cases and 35 deaths from the virus.
Global players are also seeing bird flu affect their bottom lines. McDonald’s Corporation, for example, reported comparable sales in April 2.9 per cent below the same month last year in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, which the company attributed to the impact of bird flu, especially in China.
Bird flu outbreaks have also been reported this week in Nepal (in a backyard flock; virus subtype unknown), in North Korea (H5N1 highly pathogenic virus in domestic ducks) and Tibet (H5N1 in a mixed flock of village poultry).
Source and Photo: The Poultry Site, 16th May, 2013
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Posted in Disease, Food Security, Health Security, Poultry
Tagged Avian Influenza, China, Flu, Food security, H7N9, Influenza, N5N1, Poultry disease