More avian flu found in Bangladesh poultry

Lisa Schnirring  Staff Writer

Dec 23, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in Bangladesh said today that they have detected another H5N1 avian influenza outbreak on a farm, the country"e;s fifth one since the virus reemerged in poultry flocks in October.

Salahuddin Kahn, livestock department spokesman, said the outbreak occurred on a farm in Kurigram in the northern part of the country and that 100 birds were culled to control it, according to a report today from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Kahn told AFP that Kurigram is the fifth district to be hit by the virus since October. Two states in western India that share borders with Bangladesh—Assam and West Bengal—have also battled recent H5N1 outbreaks.

Also today, a report by the Chinese news agency Xinhua said an H5 avian flu outbreak was detected on two farms in northern Belgium. The report, citing Belgian media as its source, said the virus is not the lethal form of H5N1 and is not dangerous to humans, but it did not list the N (neuraminidase) number.

Tests on Dec 19 detected the virus in ducks and geese in Bocholt, which borders the Netherlands, and also on a farm in Buggenhout in East Flanders province, the story said. The government ordered control measures, including the culling of 5,000 birds and indoor confinement of all birds within 1 kilometer of the affected farms.

Elsewhere, agriculture authorities in Taiwan recently confirmed an outbreak of low-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza at a farm in Kaohsiung, on the southwestern part of the island, according to a Dec 20 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak involved chickens, AFP reported on Dec 21.

Of the 18,591 birds at the farm, the virus killed 230 and sickened another 290, according to the OIE report. It said the remaining birds were destroyed.

Officials have not determined the source of the virus, but have disinfected and tested 76 poultry flocks in the area, the report said. Taiwan"e;s last H5N2 outbreak occurred in March 2004, according to the OIE. That outbreak involved a commercial poultry farm.

In other developments, veterinary officials in Denmark are investigating a suspected avian flu outbreak on a chicken farm in a southwestern area, Reuters reported today. Routine blood tests revealed evidence of infection, though the report did list any details about the suspected pathogenicity or subtype.

Officials said they expected to have test results in a few days, according to Reuters.

Denmark"e;s last avian flu outbreak, which occurred in April, involved a low-pathogenic H7N1 strain, according to a previous report from the OIE.