In order to stem the spread of the disease several countries
have announced a ban on U.S. poultry imports. China,
it was reported today, is the latest country to implement
a such a ban. China imports nearly 2000 tons of poultry
per day from the United States.
DOVER, Delaware, February 11, 2004 (ENS):
Avian influenza has been confirmed on two Delaware poultry
farms within the past 48 hours, but it is a different
strain from the H5N1 virus that has devastated Asian
poultry flocks and claimed at least 18 human lives since
December. Effective immediately, agriculture officials
have banned all sales of live poultry in the state.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture learned on Tuesday
morning that avian influenza of the H7N2 viral strain
is present on a second farm in Delaware. According to
the Delaware Division of Public Health, there is no
history of risk to humans with this particular strain.
This viral strain does not affect the safety of eating
poultry from the Delmarva area that includes Delaware,
Maryland and Virginia, health and agriculture officials
said. But poultry producers on Delmarva are being urged
to enforce the strictest of biosecurity procedures on
The first flu outbreak was reported Thursday in a flock
of about 12,000 chickens in Kent County that was being
raised to supply the live bird markets in New York City.
All the birds were immediately killed to prevent spread
of the disease, and a zone of quarantine imposed within
a two mile radius.
But Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse said
Tuesday that despite "aggressive measures"
to contain the outbreak, officials from the University
of Delaware Lasher Laboratory confirmed that a second
poultry farm at least five miles away from the first
infected flock has tested positive for the disease.
Lab results released Tuesday showed that the Kent County
birds died of the H7N2 viral strain. Further testing
is being conducted at the National Veterinary Services
Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
On Tuesday morning a H7 type of bird flu was identified
in a commercial flock of roaster type chickens in northern
Sussex County. The strain at the second infected farm
is known to be H7, but the more specific N type is not
yet known. The new infection was discovered after a
flock supervisor took sickly chickens to the Lasher
Lab for a determination of illness.
The flock of 72,000 birds 4.5 weeks old in three chicken
houses was destroyed on Tuesday afternoon. The infected
bird carcasses of both flocks were composted in their
The source of infection of the second farm is unknown
at this time, said Scuse. Tests results Tuesday showed
that all 20 farms within a two mile radius of the original
infected farm were negative for avian influenza.
"At this time we can not explain how the virus
appeared so far outside our original containment zone,"
he said. "This development is completely unexpected
given the precautions we took, the investigation we
made, and the industry's expectations of this disease's
"We will be taking immediate actions to contain
this disease, but this is now a serious situation for
the Delmarva poultry industry," Scuse warned. Delaware's
broiler chicken industry dominates Delaware and Delmarva
There are more than 75 poultry farms within six miles
of the infected farms, all of which are under quarantine
until further notice. Birds over 21 days of age on these
farms will be tested every 10 days for evidence of the
Avian influenza is most often transmitted from one
bird to another through mud and manure that can be tracked
from farm to farm on shoes or vehicles. It can also
be transmitted from bird to bird through the air.
Therefore, Scuse said, there will be no spreading of
poultry manure in areas north of Route 50. Feed delivery
trucks will only deliver to one farm per trip, and will
undergo rigorous cleaning before and after leaving each
"As secretary of agriculture I will call the commercial
fertilizing companies and enlist their cooperation.
All of the cages and equipment used to transport chickens
will also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a
routine basis. Within 72 hours of shipping birds to
market, there will be a pre-slaughter testing on farms
within six miles of the infected farms," Scuse
The Delaware Department of Agriculture is asking anyone
with small numbers of backyard chickens or other poultry
to report any disease or suspicions of disease immediately
to the department at 302-698-4566.
Effective immediately, the agriculture department is
canceling all scheduled farmer and grower meetings and
is asking that all sales or auctions of farm equipment
be cancelled in order to prevent spread of the disease.
Scuse is also seeking the cooperation of utility workers
when they visit farms for telephone, natural gas, or
electric needs to rigorously clean shoes and tires before
moving on to the next service call.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Georgia, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) has told Americans traveling
to Asian countries with the H5N1 strain bird flu in
humans and animals to take precautions. The agency has
not recommended that Americans avoid travel to any of
the affected countries but is providing information
for travelers on where outbreaks are, measures to take
before travel, precautions to follow while abroad, and
what to do if illness occurs during or after travel.
Outbreaks of H5N1 infection have been found in poultry
in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos,
Thailand, and Viet Nam. The virus was also confirmed
in a single peregrine falcon in Hong Kong.
To date, the Ministry of Health of Thailand reported
five human cases of H5N1 bird flu; these patients have
Of the 15 human cases reported in Vietnam to date,
11 have died. Several of these patients were confirmed
as having the H5N1 strain of the virus.
So far, no definitive evidence has been found of human-to-human
transmission, and no H5N1 infections have been documented
among healthcare workers.
China reported four new suspected bird flu outbreaks
on Monday, including one in the northern municipality
of Tianjin, which had previously not been affected,
state media said. Tianjin municipality is located close
to the capital Beijing, which has yet to report any
outbreaks. Hubei, Yunnan, and Shaanxi provinces had
reported other outbreaks earlier.
The source of exposure in the human cases of H5N1 influenza
is under investigation, although most human cases have
been linked to direct contact with diseased birds.
The co-circulation of human and highly pathogenic animal
influenza viruses is of serious concern to the CDC,
the World Health Organization, and other health authorities
worldwide, since an exchange of genes between the two
viruses might occur if individuals were co-infected
with both human and avian influenza viruses.
This gene exchange could give rise to a new influenza
virus to which humans would have little or no immunity
and which could be transmitted from person to person,
the CDC warns.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2004. All Rights