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Fujian H5N8 In White Crane In Rostock Germany Zoo
Recombinomics Commentary
January 8, 2015 14:00

Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection
At the zoo of Rostock highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 was detected.

The above translation from an announcement of a press conference for the above incident, cites confirmation of H5N8 in a white stock at the Rostock Zoo.  This confirmation follows reports of H5N8 confirmations in hunter killed mallards in the Stendal district of Saxony Anhalt (see H5N8 map).  However, these confirmations have not been cited in OIE reports and sequences have not been released.

Similar confirmations have been reported in the United States including confirmation of H5N2 in backyard farms near Benton City and Richland, Washington (see H5N2 map), as well as H5N8 in a hunter shot gadwall in Butte County, California.

These confirmations are largely linked to collections made at the end of the year and OIE may be delayed by the holidays, since none have been reported in OIE reports and the only Fujian H5 OIE report in 2015 is an update on the H5N8 clean-up of the Winston, Oregon backyard farm outbreak.

Similarly agency reports have been limited.  In Rostock a press conference has been announced for today and in the US agency reports have been limited.  The California H5N8 confirmation was detailed in an e-mail sent to stakeholders receiving a NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Plan) and posted on Facebook pages of recipients.  Similarly, the farms in Washington were cited in a WSAD release on exclusion zones in Benton and Franklin counties, but most information has come from media reports.

The media reports in Europe generally acknowledge the danger associated with the Fujian H5 in the H5N8 but frequently claim that feed contamination or trade may be causing the outbreaks.  In contrast the media reports in North America generally acknowledge the role of wild birds in the spread, but cite the absence of human cases for H5N8 or H5N2 to claim that human risk is low.

Although there is some spread involving know poultry exchanges in nearby farms, sequence data confirms that the outbreaks in Germany, Netherlands, England, and Italy are due to independent introductions, signaling a wild bird source. Similarly, although no human cases involving H5N8 or H5N2 have been reported, but serotypes have Fujian H5 (clade which has caused fatal human cases as H5N1 as well as H5N6, and many H5 clades (1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3) have cause fatal human cases and infected many mammalian species including dogs, cats, and a variety of wild animals.

OIE updates of the above H5N8 and H5N2 confirmations are expected, but it remains unclear when Canada or the United States will releases sequences from these outbreaks, which include sequences generated over a month ago in Canada.

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