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Fujian H5N8 In Fraser Valley Canada Increasingly Likely
Recombinomics Commentary
December 3, 2014 20:00

The president of the B.C. Poultry Association has confidence security measures will prevent the spread of avian flu after it was discovered on two farms in the Fraser Valley.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the virus at a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a broiler chicken breeding facility in Chilliwack on Tuesday. Thousands of birds will be euthanized.

"When something like this happens, those farms are quarantined so nothing can come on or off of those places," Ray Nickel with the B.C. Poultry Association told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"The farms that are in the surrounding area go into what we call a lockdown."

The above confidence that the H5 HPAI outbreak in Fraser Valley will be contained appears to be overly optimistic.  H5 has been confirmed on two farms without known links, suggesting that infections were due to wild birds carrying HPAI.

The closest confirmed wild birds with HPAI H5 are those in Japan, which have Fujian H5N8 (clade 2.3.4).  Japan has already confirmed H5N8 in Tundra Swans, ducks, and a white naped crane (
A/duck/Chiba/26-372-48/2014 and A/duck/Chiba/26-372-61/2014)  in four prefectures (Shimane, Chiba, Totorri, Kagoshima).  Closely related sequences ((A/turkey/Germany-MV/R2472/2014) and England (A/duck/England/36254/14, A/chicken/Netherlands/14015526/2014 and A/chicken/Netherlands/14015531/2014) have flown into three countries in Europe (Germany, Netherlands, and England) via three independent introductions and the first three confirmed outbreaks in The Netherlands are also due to three independent introductions.

It is becoming increasingly likely that the HPAI H5 in Fraser Valley is Fujian H5N8.  Canada undoubtedly knows the serotype and relationship to the H5N8 in Asia, and delays in releasing the information signals a match.

Release of the PCR insert sequence from the confirmed Fraser Valley cases would be useful.

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