Infectious Diseases 2024

Infectious Diseases 2024

Brazil reports Newcastle disease in Rio Grande do Sul

20 July, 2024 Officials from Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry have confirmed an outbreak of Newcastle disease at a commercial poultry farm in Anta Gorda, a municipality in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's southernmost state. This outbreak could significantly affect Brazil’s poultry industry, as many countries might ban products from Rio Grande do Sul, the nation's third-largest poultry exporter, responsible for nearly 15 percent of shipments. Read More

Colorado: 1.3M hens to be culled due to HPAI

18 July, 2024 Colorado is reporting an avian flu incident at a 1.3 million-bird laying farm in Weld County. This incident follows a report earlier this month of a farm with over 1.8 million layers also testing positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus. Read More

HPAI detected in Oklahoma dairy herd

16 July, 2024 The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in an Oklahoma dairy herd.
The positive sample was collected by the dairy in April and recently submitted to USDA APHIS for testing. The dairy herd has fully recovered, and the farm has not reported any other cases of HPAI.
the USDA APHIS said 157 H5N1 outbreaks have now been confirmed in 13 states. Read More

Health officials confirm human cases of avian flu in Colorado poultry workers

15 July, 2024 In coordination with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the State Emergency Operations Center, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is now reporting a total of five human cases of avian influenza in workers responding to the avian flu outbreak at a commercial egg layer operation. CDC has confirmed four of the cases, and one additional case is presumptive positive and pending confirmation at CDC. Read More

The Finnish Food Agency investigates causes of incorrect salmonella result

10 July, 2024 In May, a self-monitoring sample of chicken from Lappeenranta was found to contain Salmonella at the Helsinki laboratory of Eurofins Scientific Finland Oy. Later, it was discovered that the Salmonella result was incorrect, as the sample had been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria in the laboratory. The contamination occurred due to the sample coming into contact with a reference measurement sample processed at the same time. This was confirmed by the Food Agency's whole-genome sequencing study, which compared the genomes of Salmonella bacteria isolated from the chicken sample and the reference measurement sample. The serotype was identified as Salmonella Oranienburg. Immediately after the suspicion arose, a sales ban on eggs and chickens was ordered to prevent the spread of the disease. Read More

Increased detection of foodborne pathogens in US

MMWR: Weekly / July 4, 2024 / 73(26);584–593 10 July, 2024 A recent foodborne illness surveillance report in the United States reveals that the nation is not achieving its disease-reduction targets. This shortfall may be attributed to the growing use of culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs), which enable the detection of infections that might have gone unreported in the past. In 2023, FoodNet identified 29,607 infections, 7,234 hospitalizations, and 177 deaths overall related to foodborne pathogens. During 2023, the incidence of domestically acquired campylobacteriosis was notable. A total of 8,454 Salmonella infections were reported. The incidence of nonserotyped infections increased substantially. The incidences of the most frequently reported serotypes, S. Enteritidis and S. Newport, remained stable compared to the period from 2016 to 2018. In contrast, the incidences of the next-most frequently reported serotypes, S. Typhimurium, S. Javiana, and S. I 4,[5],12:i:-, decreased substantially. Read More

1.8 Million layers to be culled in Colorado avian influenza outbreak

10 July, 2024 Nearly 1.8 million chickens will be culled after bird flu was detected at an egg-laying operation in Weld County. This mass culling is the second-largest in a commercial flock since bird flu was first identified in Colorado in early 2022. In June 2022, an outbreak at a commercial poultry facility, also in Weld County, led to the culling of over 1.9 million birds. Read More

Addressing current turkey respiratory health challenges: Avian Metapneumovirus

Dr. Steven Clark 9 July, 2024 Avian Metapneumovirus (aMPV), also known as Swollen Head Syndrome (SHS), Avian Rhinotracheitis (ART), Turkey Rhinotracheitis (TRT), or Avian Pneumovirus (APV), has been reported in turkeys, turkey breeders, broilers, broiler breeders, commercial egg layers, and layer breeders. The first Subtype B outbreak was observed in Fall/Winter 2023 in North Carolina, alongside suspicions of Subtype A in California.
Currently, Subtype B has been confirmed in turkeys, broiler chickens, breeders, egg-layer chickens, and breeders across NC, SC, GA, VA, WV,PA, DE, and MI. Subtype A was first confirmed in CA (turkeys) and TX (broilers and breeders). "Confirmed" positive cases require two or more positive tests, including clinical signs, serology, PCR, and histopathology. By May, aMPV had spread through Midwest poultry states from Arkansas to Minnesota, with the most recent confirmation in an Iowa turkey flock with Subtype A. Read More

Pathogenicity and transmission dynamics of bovine H5N1 influenza virus

9 July, 2024 A new study on the pathogenicity and transmissibility of the bovine H5N1 influenza virus has been published in Nature. This paper provides valuable insights into the characteristics and potential impact of this virus. The bovine H5N1 virus isolated from infected cow milk showed systemic spread in mice and ferrets, reaching the mammary glands of both species. The tropism of the bovine H5N1 virus was similar to that of an older HPAI H5N1 virus isolate. The bovine H5N1 virus bound to sialic acids expressed in human upper airways. The virus transmitted inefficiently to exposed ferrets, with only one out of four exposed ferrets seroconverting without virus detection, suggesting limited transmissibility. The Cow-H5N1 virus bound to both α2,3- and α2,6-linked sialic acids, indicating that the Cow-H5N1 virus may have the ability to bind to cells in the upper respiratory tract of humans. This is of concern as it suggests a possible increase in the potential of this virus to infect other mammals Read More

Avian influenza in Victoria, Australia

8 July, 2024 Agriculture Victoria is responding to the detection of avian influenza at eight poultry farms in Victoria. Seven properties near Meredith have been infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain H7N3. Additionally, a property near Terang has been infected with the HPAI strain H7N9. Read More

HPAI H7N5 in Germany

4 July, 2024 Germany is reporting an outbreak of HPAI H7N5 at a laying farm in Bad Bentheim, on their border with the Netherlands. Since 2003, no outbreak with a highly pathogenic of serotype H7 has occurred so close to the Netherlands. Read More

CDC: 4th human case of H5N1

3 July, 2024 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the fourth human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the United States this year and the first in Colorado. Previous human cases occurred in Texas (1) and Michigan (2).
The Colorado patient is a dairy worker who was being monitored due to exposure to H5N1 virus-infected cattle. Read More

H5N1 clade replication in bovine airway cells

Journal of General Virology 2024;105:002007 27 June, 2024 A new study investigates the replication of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses in differentiated bovine airway epithelial cells cultured at the air-liquid interface. The study demonstrates that European H5N1 viruses can replicate in bovine airway cells, with rapid increases in viral genome loads and infectious virus observed within 24 hours post-inoculation. Importantly, infected cells remained detectable three days post-inoculation without significant damage, indicating sustained viral replication. These findings suggest that multiple lineages of HPAI H5N1 have the potential to infect the respiratory tract of cattle, highlighting the importance of extending avian influenza surveillance to ruminants. Read More

Hong Kong: Grand Hyatt hit by Salmonella outbreak

25 June, 2024 Hong Kong health authorities are investigating a salmonella outbreak linked to multiple restaurants at the Grand Hyatt hotel, affecting over a dozen diners and leading to a swift response from food safety officials.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) announced on June 21 that they had identified eight food poisoning clusters involving 15 individuals who consumed vanilla-flavored ice cream at the Grand Hyatt between June 1-2. All affected individuals sought medical treatment, with four requiring hospitalization before being discharged. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of Salmonella enteritidis in stool samples from six diners, prompting an immediate investigation by food safety authorities. Read More

H5N1 risk to dairy cows extends beyond US herd subtype

22 June, 2024 The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI; Germany) is conducting an infection study to assess the susceptibility of dairy cows to the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 (HPAIV H5N1). Initial findings indicate that both a US isolate (B3.13) and a recent H5N1 virus from a wild bird in Germany can replicate effectively in the udder. When the udder was directly infected through the teats, the dairy cows exhibited noticeable symptoms, including a significant reduction in milk production, altered milk consistency, and fever. Read More

HPAI H5N1 Infections on Finnish fur farms linked to gull mortalities, July-Oct 2023

22 June, 2024 From July to October 2023, Finland experienced an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 on fur farms. Finland is a major producer of furs, rearing 1.5–2 million animals annually. Of these, half are foxes, 41% are minks, 9% are raccoon dogs, and less than 0.1% are sables. Most farms breed more than one species, and according to the Central Database for Animal Keepers and Establishments maintained by the FFA, there are approximately 450 fur animal holdings. A new study published in Eurosurveillance analyzed the outbreak to identify the source(s) of the infection and possible transmission routes. The HPAI H5N1 virus was detected on 27 fur farms and was found to belong to the genotype circulating in wild birds in the same area. This suggests that the outbreak was likely caused by direct contact with infected wild birds, followed by virus transmission within and between farms, as indicated by genomic and epidemiological data. Read More

H7N8 hits another farm near Sydney

22 June, 2024 A second outbreak of HPAI has been detected at a commercial egg farm in Sydney's Hawkesbury region. Testing by a NSW biosecurity team confirmed that a second farm, also a commercial egg farm located within the locked-down area, had identified cases of the disease. The CSIRO's Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness confirmed a positive result for the H7N8 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Read More

Vaccinating risk groups against H5 in Finland

Eurosurveillance | Volume 28, Issue 29 Issue 25,20/Jun/2024 22 June, 2024 In July 2023, an outbreak of HPAI A(H5N1) caused by clade genotype BB was detected on fur farms in Finland. Intensified surveillance activities identified 27 RT-PCR A(H5N1) - positive fur farms in western Finland. The outbreak, which affected nearly half a million farmed fur animals - mainly foxes and minks - was contained by the end of the year. Phylogenetic analyses indicated several initial introductions of genotype BB clade viruses through large-scale exposure of fur animals to infected wild birds. Genomic analyses further revealed several mutations indicative of early mammalian adaptation of the viruses in their mammalian hosts. Animals on the affected farms were eventually culled. The culling of 485,000 animals on a total of 72 farms resulted in compensation for lost income amounting to 50.7 million EUR to the owners of the affected farms, as estimated by the Finnish Food Authority. Read More

HPAI H7N8 in NSW, Australia

19 June, 2024 The New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H7N8 at a poultry egg farm in the Hawkesbury district. This H7N8 strain is distinct from the one currently affecting Victoria. Read More

IB: Vaccine recombinants and chicken-selected subpopulation

Av Dis 68:89–98, 2024 17 June, 2024 A new study discusses the emergence of novel variants of the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) as a result of vaccine subpopulation selection and recombination events between vaccine and field strains. According to this study, vaccine subpopulations play a significant role in the emergence of novel variants of IBV by contributing to the selection of virulent viruses through recombination events and mutations. These factors lead to continuous disease outbreaks in poultry, causing economic losses in the industry. Read More

CDC: U.S. population Immunity to A(H5N1) clade viruses

16 June, 2024 CDC analyzed sera collected from people of all ages in all 10 HHS regions. Blood samples were collected during the 2022-2023 and 2021-2022 flu seasons. These samples were challenged with H5N1 virus to see whether there was an antibody reaction. Data from this study suggest that there is extremely low to no population immunity to clade A(H5N1) viruses in the United States. Antibody levels remained low regardless of whether or not the participants had gotten a seasonal flu vaccination, meaning that seasonal flu vaccination did not produce antibodies to A(H5N1) viruses. This means that there is little to no pre-existing immunity to this virus and most of the population would be susceptible to infection from this virus if it were to start infecting people easily and spreading from person-to-person. Read More

Seventh Australian poultry farm hit by HPAI outbreak

16 June, 2024 Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has now been detected at a seventh poultry farm in the vicinity of Melbourne. Six of these farms are affected by the H7N3 strain, while the seventh is dealing with the H7N9 strain. Among the infected properties are six egg farms and one duck farm. Read More

Inactivation of Avian Influenza A(H5N1) virus in raw milk at 63°C and 72°C

15 June, 2024 Molecular testing identified HPAI A(H5N1) genetic material in about 20% of samples from retail pasteurized milk products. However, researchers have been unable to culture the virus from these samples. In a recent study, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) assessed the stability of the HPAI A(H5N1) virus in raw milk at 63°C and 72°C, the temperatures commonly used in commercial pasteurization. Their findings were published in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine. Heating milk to 63°C resulted in a tenfold decrease in H5N1 levels after 2.5 minutes, indicating that the standard bulk pasteurization process of 30 minutes at 63°C provides a significant safety margin. Read More

USA: H5N1 in dairy herds, a field epidemiologic summaries

National Epidemiologic Brief 14 June, 2024 Questionnaires revealed potential risk factors and transmission routes for infections in dairy cattle.
Animal movement
>20% of farms received cattle within 30 days of clinical signs; and >60% of farms continued to move animals off the farm after onset of clinical signs.
Shared transportation vehicles
>50% of farms used trucks and trailers that are shared with other farms to transport livestock within 30 days prior to onset of clinical signs; and >50% of farms that used shared vehicles do not clean vehicles prior to use.
Shared transportation vehicles
>50% of farms used trucks and trailers that are shared with other farms to transport livestock within 30 days prior to onset of clinical signs; and >50% of farms that used shared vehicles do not clean vehicles prior to use. Read More

Epidemiological studies of HPAI in Michigan dairy herds and poultry flocks

14 June, 2024 In early April 2024, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) invited a USDA Epidemiological Strike Team into Michigan to investigate the links between HPAI affected dairy premises and evidence of spillover into poultry premises. A new report summarizes the findings from field epidemiological investigations of disease spread between premises for 15 dairy herds and 8 poultry flocks confirmed with HPAI genotype B3.13 in Michigan.
After interstate animal movement initially introduced the HPAI genotype B3.13 virus into a Michigan dairy, continued disease transmission within the state is determined to be multifactorial. Transmission between farms is likely due to indirect epidemiological links related to normal business operations such as numerous people, vehicles, and other conveyances frequently moving on and off the affected dairy premises, with many of these indirect links shared between premises. Read More

Commission secures 665,000 zoonotic influenza vaccine doses for Avian Flu prevention

European Commission 12 June, 2024 The Commission's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) as part of its mandate on preparedness, has signed on behalf of participating Member States, a joint procurement framework contract for the supply of up to 665,000 pre-pandemic vaccine doses of the up-to-date Zoonotic Influenza Vaccine Seqirus, as well as an option for a further 40 million doses over the duration of the contract. Thanks to this contract the participating Member States will have access to medical countermeasures to prevent avian flu. The vaccine is intended for those most exposed to potential transfers of avian influenza from birds or animals, such as poultry farm workers and veterinarians. It aims to prevent the spread or potential outbreaks of avian influenza in Europe, protecting citizens and livelihoods. Read More

US, European nations consider vaccinating workers exposed to bird flu

11 June, 2024 According to, the United States, Canada, and Europe are taking steps to acquire or manufacture H5N1 bird flu vaccines to protect at-risk poultry and dairy workers, veterinarians, and lab technicians.
Ms. Dawn O’Connell of the US Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response said the government is “looking closely” at the possibility of vaccinating farm workers and others in close contact with the virus. Read More

Poland: Natural infection with HPAI A/H5N1 virus in pet ferrets

Viruses 2024, 16, 931. 8 June, 2024 A case report sheds light on a unique occurrence of natural infection of domestic ferrets with the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A/H5N1 virus, highlighting the susceptibility of ferrets to avian influenza viruses. The infected ferrets exhibited a range of clinical symptoms, including respiratory distress, neurological symptoms, lethargy, weight loss, and gastrointestinal issues, similar to those observed in experimental infections. Two of the five infected ferrets remained clinically healthy but tested positive for A/H5N1 RNA, indicating the possibility of asymptomatic shedding of the virus. Read More

CDC reports A(H5N1) ferret study results

CDC 8 June, 2024 CDC has completed its initial study of the effects of the A(H5N1) bird flu virus from the human case in Texas (A/Texas/37/2024) on ferrets, a model used to assess potential impact on people.
-The A(H5N1) virus from the human case in Texas caused severe illness and death in ferrets (100% lethal). A(H5N1) infection in ferrets has been fatal in the past. This is different from what is seen with seasonal flu, which makes ferrets sick, but is not lethal.
-The A(H5N1) virus from the human case in Texas spread efficiently between ferrets in direct contact but did not spread efficiently between ferrets via respiratory droplets ((1 in 3, or 33% were infected). This is different from what is seen with seasonal flu, which infects 100% of ferrets via respiratory droplets. Read More

HPAI detected in Wyoming dairy herd

8 June, 2024 The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) have received confirmation from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) of the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy cattle herd in Wyoming. The detection was first identified in samples received by the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in a dairy farm in Wyoming. Read More

HPAI H7N3 is spreading in Australia

7 June, 2024 There is a fifth poultry farm close to Melbourne that has an HPAI H7 infection. The farm is surrounded by three additional locations that are in a limited area and have already seen the recent outbreak of the H7N3 virus. Read More

Bird flu spreads to dairy cattle in Iowa and Minnesota

6 June, 2024 An avian influenza outbreak has spread to 11 states, including Iowa and Minnesota where the first positive cases were confirmed. This adds to the growing number of affected herds across the U.S., surpassing 80 confirmed cases. In Iowa, the virus was detected in O’Brien County, adjacent to Sioux County where a severe outbreak affected millions of birds. Read More

Finland orders 20,000 doses of Avian Influenza vaccine

6 June, 2024 Finland is planning to provide vaccines to individuals at risk of exposure to an avian influenza strain that is spreading among farmed and wild animals, according to health officials. This move could make Finland the first country to implement such a measure as concerns about the virus's threat to humans grow. Read More

The USDA added house mice to their list of mammalian infections

5 June, 2024 APHIS has reported the detection of H5N1 in common house mice from Roosevelt County, New Mexico. House mice are known to contribute to the spread of avian influenza viruses, especially those associated with agricultural operations. These mammals may serve as a risk pathway for virus transmission within and between farms. According to Shriner et al. (2012), there is evidence that avian influenza viruses can be naturally transmitted to mice during outbreaks, and wild house mice can efficiently replicate these viruses without prior adaptation. Read More

HPAI H7N3 Detected at 4th poultry farm in Victoria

5 June, 2024 Three properties near Meredith have been confirmed to be infected with the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain of avian influenza, and one property near Terang has been confirmed to have the high pathogenicity H7N9 strain.
Three of the infected properties are located in the Restricted and Control Areas in Meredith and Lethbridge, within the Golden Plains Shire, while one is in the Corangamite Shire where movement restrictions were already in place. Read More

Mexico: first human case of AI A(H5N2)

ECDC 5 June, 2024 On 23 May 2024, Mexican health authorities reported to PAHO/WHO a deceased case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N2) virus, detected in Mexico. The patient was a 59-year-old male, with multiple underlying conditions, who developed respiratory infection on 17 April, sought medical attention on 24 April and was hospitalised, but died on the same day. The case had no reported travel in the three weeks prior to symptom onset. An investigation is ongoing to understand the source of infection. A respiratory sample taken on 24 April was analysed on 8 May at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases and on 20 May at the Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference in Mexico using RT-PCR analysis and sequencing. The subtype was confirmed as A(H5N2) but no further information on sequence deposition, genetic clade or mutational analyses are available at this time. No additional cases have been detected among close contacts of the case. Read More

Australia: 3rd Victoria poultry farm hit with HPAI H7N3

4 June, 2024 A third poultry farm (egg farm) has declared an outbreak of avian influenza in Victoria. Hundreds of thousands of chickens are being euthanized. The first infected property near Meredith is confirmed to have the H7N3 strain of avian influenza, and the second infected property near Terang is confirmed to have the H7N9 strain. One additional property in the Meredith area has now been confirmed as an infected property. Read More

Iowa to cull over 4 Million chickens due to avian influenza

1 June, 2024 Iowa has announced the state’s largest bird flu outbreak in two years at a poultry farm in Sioux County, located in northwestern Iowa. The flock contains 4.2 million chickens. Just last week, the virus was confirmed at a farm in neighboring Minnesota, west of Minneapolis, resulting in nearly 1.4 million chickens being culled. Read More

USDA: H5N1 beef safety studies

31 May, 2024 The United States' Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has detected viral particles of HPAI A(H5N1) in tissue samples, including muscle, from a cull dairy cow condemned (declared unfit for consumption) on post-mortem inspection due to signs of systemic disease. Dairy cattle slaughtered for beef production undergo routine inspection before and after slaughter by the FSIS. Meat from dairy cattle condemned at slaughter due to systemic disease do not enter the human food supply. Read More

CDC announces third H5 Avian Influenza case in dairy worker

31 May, 2024 A second human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) virus infection has been identified in the state of Michigan. This is the third human case associated with an ongoing multistate outbreak of A(H5N1) in U.S. dairy cows. None of the three cases are associated with the others. As with the previous two cases (one in Texas, one in Michigan), the person is a dairy farm worker with exposure to infected cows, making this another instance of probable cow-to-person spread. This is the first human case of H5 in the United States to report more typical symptoms of acute respiratory illness associated with influenza virus infection, including A(H5N1) viruses. This development underscores the importance of recommended precautions in people with exposure to infected or potentially infected animals. Read More

Avian influenza vaccines protect laying hens - Field study

31 May, 2024 A long-term study conducted by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (The Netherlands) aims to determine whether vaccination under field conditions can provide long-term protection for layer flocks against the HPAI H5N1 virus (clade and reduce within-flock transmission (R<1). A transmission study was performed 8 weeks post-vaccination with layer hens housed under field conditions. In addition to the main output, which is the assessment of the level of transmission, other variables such as chicken survival, virus shedding, and humoral and cellular immune responses were studied to assess the effectiveness of vaccination with VAXXITEK HVT+IBD+H5 or VECTORMUNE AI vaccines in poultry against HPAI H5N1 virus infection. Read More

Dust effectively infects chickens with Salmonella

Environ Microbiol Rep 2024 Jun;16(3) 30 May, 2024 A study published in Environmental Microbiology Reports tested the effectiveness of dust infection models to mimic field conditions in chickens. The results showed that dust could act as an effective carrier of Salmonella. Sprinkling 1 g of dust carrying Salmonella Typhimurium was sufficient to colonize the gut and invade the spleen and liver of 21-day-old layer chickens.
The threshold of infection experiment demonstrated that an infection dose of 10^3 CFU/pen was sufficient to alter the structure of microbial communities. Read More

H5N1 Avian Flu detected in Idaho Alpacas

29 May, 2024 The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in alpacas from a premises where HPAI-affected poultry were depopulated in May 2024, marking the first detection of HPAI in alpacas. Genetic sequencing at the USDA's NVSL reveals that the virus infecting the alpacas is the same B3.13 H5N1 genome circulating in dairy cows and the same genotype that affected poultry at the Idaho farm. Read More

Avian Influenza A(H5N1) virus in Cow's Milk: Heat inactivation and mouse infectivity

NEJM | 2024 25 May, 2024 A correspondence published in The New England Journal of Medicine discusses the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) of the H5N1 subtype in cow's milk, raising concerns about its potential impact on the human food chain. The study demonstrated that untreated milk containing HPAI A(H5N1) virus can infect susceptible animals that consume it. In the trial involving mice, researchers orally inoculated the mice with HPAI A(H5N1)-positive milk. The mice showed signs of illness starting on day 1, and high virus titers were detected in the respiratory organs, suggesting that infection may have occurred through the pharynx. Moderate virus titers were found in several other organs, consistent with the systemic infections typically caused by HPAI H5 viruses in mammals. Additionally, virus detection in the mammary glands of two mice indicated a high virus load in the milk of lactating cows, even though the mice themselves were not lactating. Read More

H5N1 Avian Flu viruses can persist on dairy milking equipment surfaces

medRxiv | 2024 25 May, 2024 A new study, published on May 22 in medRxiv, investigates the potential transmission of the H5N1 influenza virus through contaminated surfaces in dairy farming. The researchers found that unpasteurized milk containing the H5N1 virus remained infectious on milking equipment surfaces for at least one hour, indicating a potential risk of transmission to cattle and dairy farm workers. They also compared the viral decay of H5N1 and H1N1 in raw milk on different surfaces and observed similar persistence. Read More

Australia reports first human avian influenza infection

23 May, 2024 Two cases of Avian Influenza have been reported in Victoria, Australia.
An outbreak at an egg farm involving the HPAI H7N3 strain has led to hundreds of thousands of chickens being euthanized. The property near Meredith, in the state's west, is in quarantine, and testing has confirmed that the strain of the disease is H7N3, which is the most commonly occurring variant in Australia.
An unrelated human case of H5N1, which is not connected to the outbreak at the chicken farm, was reported in a child returning from an overseas trip in March. This case was only confirmed over the weekend. The two events are not related, as the virus strains are different. Read More

Quantifying vaccination's Impact on MS transmission control in field conditions

Av Path | 2024 23 May, 2024 A new study on the quantification of the effect of vaccination on the control of horizontal transmission of Mycoplasma synoviae under field conditions was published in Avian Pathology by a group of Dutch researchers.
The study found that vaccination plays a significant role in reducing the incidence of Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) in poultry populations under field conditions. By analyzing four years of monitoring data, the study quantified the effect of MS live vaccination on horizontal transmission. The data were collected from non-vaccinated broiler and layer breeders, as well as MS-vaccinated broiler breeders with good biosecurity in single-age housing systems. The average MS incidence rate per 1,000 weeks was significantly lower in MS-vaccinated broiler breeders compared to non-vaccinated broiler breeders, showing a decrease from 29.6 to 5.6 cases with successive vaccinated production cycles. Read More

First case of HPAI (H5) detected in Michigan resident

22 May, 2024 The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced its first case of the influenza A (H5) virus in a Michigan farm worker who had regular exposure to livestock infected with influenza A (H5). This follows extensive public health actions over the past few months by the state of Michigan to enable farm workers to monitor their health and notify local public health officials if they develop symptoms. Read More

Widespread expression of avian and human influenza A virus receptors in bovine mammary glands

bioRxiv | May 3, 2024 8 May, 2024 Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, analyzed the expression of avian and human influenza A virus receptors in the bovine mammary gland in a new study published in bioRxiv. This study sheds light on the presence of sialic acid receptors in cattle, which may have implications for host tropism and virus transmission. The widespread expression of sialic acid receptors in the bovine mammary gland has significant implications for influenza A virus (IAV) infection in cattle. This finding suggests that the mammary gland could serve as a potential site for viral replication and shedding, leading to the presence of the virus in milk from infected cows. Read More

Genomic epidemiology of 2024 H5N1 outbreak in US cattle: Preliminary report 5 May, 2024 Two report parts on the genomic epidemiology of the 2024 H5N1 influenza A virus outbreak in U.S. cattle were published on by more than 20 researchers. Here, we summarize the main conclusions.A reassortment event within North American avian H5N1 viruses occurred shortly before the start of the cattle outbreak. The cattle sequences are all Genotype B3.13. This genotype is a reassortant between the Eurasian panzootic H5N1 genotype and low pathogenicity North American genotypes first seen in late 2023. The PA, HA, NA and MP are derived from the European genotype and PB2, PB1, NP and NS derived from North American genotypes. This genotype is relatively rare in the USA but has been seen in birds as well as in wild mammals. Genotype B3.13 differs from the virus seen in a recent outbreak where H5N1 influenza A virus spilled over from poultry to goats. The outbreak in goats was unrelated to the current cattle outbreak. Read More

USA: HPAI virus Infection in dairy cattle and Cats, 2024

EID - Vol. 30, No. 7 - July 2024 30 April, 2024 A group of researchers from Iowa State University reported their findings on some of the earliest cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in cows and cats in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The researchers identified the highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in dairy cattle and cats in Kansas and Texas, United States, which reflects the continued spread of clade viruses that entered the country in late 2021. Infected cattle exhibited nonspecific illness, accompanied by reduced feed intake and rumination, and experienced an abrupt drop in milk production. The milk from most affected cows had a thickened, creamy yellow appearance similar to colostrum. On affected farms, the incidence appeared to peak 4–6 days after the first animals were affected and then tapered off within 10–14 days. Read More

Optimizing salmonella surveillance: Local farm density as risk factor

29 April, 2024 A study on optimizing Salmonella surveillance programs for pullet and layer farms explores the role of local farm density as a risk factor for Salmonella infection, aiming to enhance surveillance efforts and control measures for Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium. Researchers determined the significance of local farm density as a risk factor for Salmonella infection by fitting transmission kernels to Israeli surveillance data from June 2017 to April 2019. They assessed the risk of infection by Salmonella serovars Enteritidis and Typhimurium based on the presence of infected farms within specific radii.
The analysis revealed a significant increase in the risk of infection if infected farms were present within a radius of approximately 4 km for Enteritidis and 0.3 km for Typhimurium. Read More

Cross-species potential of H9N2 bat flu

Nature Communications | ( 2024) 15:3449 29 April, 2024 In 2009–2010, the first bat-associated Influenza A virus (IAV) was discovered in an asymptomatic little yellow-shouldered bat (Sturnira lilium) in Guatemala. This new virus (A/bat/Guat/2009) has subsequently been classified as a separate subtype, A(H17N10). In 2010, another bat-associated influenza virus, A/bat/Peru/2010, was detected in asymptomatic New World flat-faced fruit bats (Artibeus planirostris) in Peru. This virus also could not be classified as any of the existing IAV subtypes, including A(H17N10), and was therefore classified as A(H18N11). Read More

Vertical transmission of Salmonella Reading

28 April, 2024 Recently, an unconventional serotype of Salmonella, S. enterica serotype Reading (S. Reading), emerged as a foodborne pathogen following a multistate outbreak in the US due to the consumption of contaminated turkey products. In response to this outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued four recalls of turkey products, and the outbreak strain was found to be widespread at all levels of commercial turkey production, including live turkeys. However, no single supplier of raw turkey products or live turkeys was identified as accountable for the entire outbreak, and the CDC engaged the entire turkey industry to find solutions to end the public health event. Further studies on the outbreak strains revealed the emergence of a novel S. Reading turkey clonal group, plausibly vertically transmitted from breeders to progeny. Read More

H5N1 avian influenza infects Colorado dairy cows

27 April, 2024 The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced the initial detection of the HPAI H5N1 virus in dairy cows in Colorado, marking the ninth state affected. Read More

Genetic traces of HPAI found in one in five milk samples across the USA

26 April, 2024 The FDA has received preliminary results from its nationally representative commercial milk sampling study. The initial findings indicate that approximately 1 in 5 of the retail samples tested are positive for HPAI viral fragments through quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), with a higher proportion of positive results observed in areas with infected herds. It's important to note that qPCR-positive results do not necessarily indicate the presence of actual virus that poses a risk to consumers. Further testing is required to determine whether intact pathogens are still present and if they remain infectious. Read More

Early vaccination boosts salmonella vaccine uptake in hens

Front. Microbiol., 15 January 2024 26 April, 2024 A recent study on the early vaccination of laying hens with a live bivalent Salmonella vaccine indicates that vaccinating hens earlier can optimize pullet protection. Live vaccines can be administered via drinking water from the first day of life, but some pullet-rearers choose to wait until the end of the first week to ensure sufficient water consumption. However, this practice leaves the birds unprotected during the crucial first week of life, when they are most susceptible to colonization by field strains. Read More

USDA protects consumers from Salmonella in raw breaded stuffed chicken

26 April, 2024 The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced its final determination to declare Salmonella an adulterant in raw breaded stuffed chicken products when they exceed a specific threshold (1 colony forming unit (CFU) per gram or higher) for Salmonella contamination.
This final determination is part of FSIS’ broader efforts to reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with the raw poultry supply in the United States. FSIS intends to address Salmonella contamination in other raw poultry products later this year.
Under this determination, FSIS will consider to be adulterated any raw breaded stuffed chicken products that include a chicken component that tested positive for Salmonella at 1 CFU per gram or higher. Read More

USDA's steps against H5N1 avian influenza in livestock

25 April, 2024 The USDA is sharing a number of actions to combat HPAI in dairy herds:
Mandatory Testing for Interstate Movement of Dairy Cattle
• Prior to interstate movement, dairy cattle are required to receive a negative test for Influenza A virus at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) laboratory.
• Owners of herds in which dairy cattle test positive for interstate movement will be required to provide epidemiological information, including animal movement tracing. Mandatory Reporting
• Laboratories and state veterinarians must report positive Influenza A nucleic acid detection diagnostic results in livestock to USDA APHIS.
• Laboratories and state veterinarians must report positive Influenza A serology diagnostic results in livestock to USDA APHIS. Read More

Vaccine efficacy in HPAI: A meta-analysis

One Health 18 (2024) 25 April, 2024 A systematic review and meta-analysis re-evaluate the efficacy of vaccines against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in poultry. This study sheds light on the importance of vaccination in controlling HPAI outbreaks among poultry. The global spread of the HPAI A(H5N1) clade virus since 2021 has had a significant impact on the need for re-evaluation of vaccination strategies. The spread of the HPAI virus has led to significant morbidity and mortality among domestic poultry, affecting the supply chain of poultry products and human food safety. Conventional control measures such as biosecurity and mass culling have been recognized as challenging and unsustainable in effectively controlling the spread of the virus. Read More

Avian Influenza: Rapid mortality in captive Bush Dogs in UK collection

bioRxiv 2024.04 23 April, 2024 A new study investigates a case of rapid mortality in captive bush dogs caused by avian influenza A (H5N1) at a wildlife collection in the United Kingdom. The study reveals that the unexpected detection of H5N1 as the causative agent led to a high mortality rate among the bush dog population, with severe systemic infection affecting multiple organs. Genomic analysis identified the H5N1 virus as the primary cause of death, highlighting the importance of understanding and monitoring zoonotic risks associated with avian influenza viruses in wildlife populations. Read More

Huvepharma: Coccidiosis vaccine for turkeys receives conditional licensing

20 April, 2024 The United States Dept. of Agriculture’s Center for Veterinary Biologics has granted Huvepharma® a conditional license for the manufacturing and sale of a new turkey coccidiosis vaccine. The vaccine is the only USDA-approved vaccine with three species of Eimeria, the protozoan species that causes coccidiosis. It is sprayed onto day-old turkey poults in the hatchery. Read More

EFSA: Avian Influenza vaccination: surveillance & mitigation measures

19 April, 2024 A new scientific opinion on the vaccination of poultry against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was recently published by EFSA. This scientific opinion, authored by experts in the field, focuses on surveillance and mitigation measures to combat this disease in poultry populations.
The article discusses poultry vaccination against HPAI and emphasizes surveillance and mitigation measures. Overall, it provides insights into the complexities of implementing vaccination programs and surveillance measures to combat HPAI in poultry, emphasizing the need for tailored approaches and continuous monitoring to prevent and control disease outbreaks. Read More

HPAI H7N9 virus evolution amid vaccination

18 April, 2024 A new study by a Chinese research group, published in Emerging Microbes & Infections, delves into the evolution of the H7N9 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus within the context of vaccination, offering valuable insights into the genetic and biological changes of the virus in response to vaccination efforts. The study observes a gradual shift in the receptor-binding preference of H7N9 viruses in poultry, indicating an increased affinity for avian-type receptors and a decreased affinity for human-type receptors. Furthermore, the study finds that vaccination prevents reassortment with other viruses, thereby slowing the evolution of the virus.
According to the authors, these findings suggest that vaccination plays a crucial role in shaping the evolution of the H7N9 virus, reducing its potential threat to human populations by eliminating its ability to bind to human-type receptors. Read More

Avian influenza: Spreading

18 April, 2024 In a recent document from the US Department of Agriculture addressing 'questions and answers' regarding the spread of avian influenza in dairy herds in the US, there is an interesting reference to the issue of virus transmission. The Ministry of Agriculture states:
1. The virus spreads within the herd through cow-to-cow infection.
2. There is evidence of virus transmission from infected cattle herds to poultry farms. Read More

South Dakota: HPAI detected in dairy herd

12 April, 2024 The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) and the state's Animal Industry Board confirmed through testing the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy herd within South Dakota, marking a significant first for the state.
With this detection among South Dakota dairy cows, the tally of affected states now stands at eight. Read More

North Carolina: HPAI detected in dairy herd

11 April, 2024 The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDAC) has reported that tests have identified highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in one of the state's dairy herds. This discovery brings the tally of affected states to seven. Previously, cases of HPAI had been confirmed in dairy herds in Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico, and Ohio. As a precaution, the movement of cattle from affected herds in these states to North Carolina has been halted. Read More

UK: Campylobacter report 2013-2022

9 April, 2024 2022
-The number of reported Campylobacter cases in England decreased from 55,642 cases in 2021 to 54,461 cases in 2022, a decrease of 1,181 cases
-The region that reported the highest number of Campylobacter laboratory reports was the South East with 9,540 reports; however, the region with the highest rate per 100,000 population was the North East with 133.3 per 100,000.
-Overall, 54% of Campylobacter laboratory-confirmed cases in England were male the age group with the highest number of laboratory reports was the 50 to 59 year old age category.
-Consistent with previous years’ 5-year median, in 2022 Campylobacter reporting peaked in the month of June.
-Species was only reported for 23% of laboratory reports, the majority of which were Campylobacter jejuni (20% of all cases). Read More

Salmonella in poultry meat and products in Turkey

International Journal of Food Science and Technology 2024 8 April, 2024 A new study examines the prevalence, antibiotic susceptibility, and genomic characterization of Salmonella isolated from raw chicken meat and turkey products. The prevalence of Salmonella in poultry products in Turkey was found to be 38.22% in the study. Out of 293 chicken samples collected, 112 samples (38.22%) were contaminated with Salmonella enterica. Specifically, 4.46% of the isolates were identified as Salmonella Enteritidis, and 0.89% were identified as Salmonella Typhimurium. Read More

Vietnam: A novel reassortant influenza A(H5N1) virus

6 April, 2024 In the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), a novel reassortant influenza A(H5N1) virus has emerged since mid-2022, causing infections in both humans and poultry. Recently, this virus triggered human outbreaks in Cambodia at the beginning of this year. It carries surface proteins from clade, which has been circulating locally, while its internal genes derive from a more recent clade virus. The infiltration and widespread spread of this reassortant influenza A(H5N1) virus in the GMS pose significant threats to animal and human health, given the historical impact of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks in the area. Moreover, this reassortment event underscores not just the adaptability of the virus but also the constant risk of the emergence of new, potentially more harmful strains. Read More

CDC: sequencing results of H5N1 AI samples from patient

4 April, 2024 CDC has sequenced the influenza virus genome identified in a specimen collected from the patient in Texas who was confirmed to be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus and compared these with HPAI A(H5N1) sequences from cattle, wild birds and poultry.
The virus sequences are HA clade HPAI A(H5N1) with each individual gene segment closely related to viruses detected in dairy cattle available from USDA testing in Texas. While minor changes were identified in the virus sequence from the patient specimen compared to the viral sequences from cattle, both cattle and human sequences maintain primarily avian genetic characteristics and for the most part lack changes that would make them better adapted to infect mammals. Read More

Salmonella infections in Denmark from 2013 to 2022

3 April, 2024 A new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases analyzed Salmonella infections in Denmark from 2013 to 2022, focusing on serotype distribution, invasiveness, age, sex, and travel exposure.
The most prevalent non-typhoid Salmonella (NTS) serotypes identified in Denmark during the study period (2013-2022) were as follows:
1. S. Enteritidis: Accounting for 26.4% of cases
2. Monophasic S. Typhimurium: Responsible for 16.5% of cases
3. S. Typhimurium: Contributing to 13.5% of cases Read More

HPAI detected in Ohio dairy herd

3 April, 2024 The Ohio Department of Agriculture received confirmation from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) of the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy cattle herd. This is the first case of HPAI in a livestock operation in Ohio. Read More

Texas: HPAI in cats from affected dairy farms

3 April, 2024 Texas officials have reported that cats displaying signs of illness in dairy farm settings have tested positive for the virus. The Texas Animal Health Commission has confirmed in laboratory tests that three cats have contracted HPAI. Additionally, deceased grackles and pigeons were discovered at the same facilities, along with some farm cats. Read More

USA: Human case of H5N1 in Texas

2 April, 2024 A person in the United States has tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus. The case was reported by Texas and confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HPAI has now been confirmed in dairy herds in Michigan (1), Idaho (1), New Mexico (1), Kansas (2), and Texas (7).
The patient became ill following contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with avian influenza. Their primary symptom was conjunctivitis. Read More

HPAI in dairy herd in New Mexico

1 April, 2024 The USDA and APHIS has confirmed the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy herd in New Mexico, as well as 5 additional dairy herds in Texas.
This marks the first known case of HPAI in cattle in New Mexico, and adds to the two detections in Texas that were first announced on Monday, March 25. To date, USDA has confirmed the detection of HPAI in dairy herds in Texas (7) Kansas (2), Michigan (1), and New Mexico (1). The presumptive positive test results for the Idaho herd are still pending analysis at NVSL. Read More

Campylobacter in broiler flocks in Norway 2023

30 March, 2024 Surveillance in 2023 showed that a total of 128 flocks (6.1%) tested positive for Campylobacter spp. when all broiler flocks slaughtered before 51 days of age during the period 1st of May –31st of October were tested. In total 2,100 flocks from 505 farms were sampled. Of all farms sampled, 83 (16.4%) had at least one positive flock, and of these, 28 had two or more positive flocks. The majority of the positive flocks comes from farms having more than one positive flock and even though these farms only represent 5.5% (28/505) of all farms tested, they contributed with 57.0% (73/128) of all positive flocks tested in 2023. Read More

HPAI detected in Michigan dairy herd

29 March, 2024 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring announced the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy herd from Montcalm County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed this detection. Read More

HPAI detected in Idaho cattle

29 March, 2024 The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), has identified highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a Cassia County dairy cattle operation. These are the first cases of HPAI in a dairy operation in Idaho. The affected facility recently imported cattle from another state that had previously identified cases of HPAI in cattle. It is suggested the virus may be transmitted from cow-to-cow, in addition to previous reports indicating cattle were acquiring the virus from infected birds. Read More

HPAI detected in Texas & Kansas dairy cattle

27 March, 2024 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) jointly reported the identification of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in laboratory samples taken from multiple affected cows in Texas and Kansas.
As of Monday, March 25th, unpasteurized clinical milk samples obtained from ailing cattle on two dairy farms in Kansas and one in Texas, as well as an oropharyngeal swab from another Texas-based dairy, have returned positive results for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Read More

Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 outbreak in EU/EEA & UK

EFSA/ECDC 22 March, 2024 Since September 2021, a cross-border outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 has persisted across the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and the United Kingdom (UK), spanning over two years. By November 30, 2022, a total of 196 cases had been documented and outlined in a collaborative report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). As of March 15, 2024, the tally rose to 300 cases, marking an increase of 104 instances. These cases were distributed across Estonia (n=3), Finland (n=98), France (n=16), Germany (n=2), Ireland (n=7), the Netherlands (n=1), and the United Kingdom (n=173), as defined by European case standards. Among these cases, twenty-three required hospitalization, with six experiencing septicaemia, and tragically, one fatality was recorded in the UK. Read More

USA: H5N1 HPAI in a herd of goats

19 March, 2024 The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) has reported the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a young goat residing on a farm recently afflicted by an outbreak in poultry. Authorities, including the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), are currently probing the transmission of the virus within the farm premises situated in Stevens County, located in west-central Minnesota. As a precautionary measure, all animals on the farm have been subjected to quarantine. This discovery underscores the potential for cross-species infection within farms housing multiple animal types.
The investigation was prompted by the observation of unusual mortality among newborn goats subsequent to the culling of poultry as part of the response to the February outbreak. Both the goats and the poultry shared common living quarters and water sources. Read More

Chilean H5N1 virus spreads fatal disease in ferrets

19 March, 2024 Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses from Clade have triggered significant outbreaks among bird populations across five continents, with spill-over into various mammalian species. Instances of mutations linked to mammalian adaptation have sporadically surfaced in avian strains and more frequently in mammalian strains post-infection. Human infections with A(H5N1) viruses after contact with infected wildlife have been documented on multiple continents, underscoring the imperative for assessing pandemic risk associated with these viruses.
In a recent study, the pathogenicity and transmissibility of the A/Chile/25945/2023 HPAI A(H5N1) virus were examined. This novel reassortment, incorporating four gene segments (PB1, PB2, NP, MP) from the North American lineage, was isolated from a severe human case in Chile. Read More

FSIS plans to exclude vaccine strains from salmonella performance categorization

14 March, 2024 The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA has announced that live vaccine strains of Salmonella administered to flocks will be excluded from calculations used to determine the status of plants under the Raw Poultry Performance Standards. FSIS Salmonella performance standards are assessed on broiler carcasses, turkey carcasses, comminuted chicken, comminuted turkey, and chicken parts (81 FR 7285).
FSIS examined Salmonella detection and serotype data from flocks vaccinated with a modified live Salmonella vaccine at pre- and post-intervention points in participating slaughter establishments. These data indicate that vaccine strains can occasionally be found in raw poultry products even when the vaccine is used as directed on the label. FSIS’ current policy of counting such strains as a positive result in performance categorization may discourage the use of vaccination as a tool to control Salmonella. Read More

Assessing Campylobacter control in chicken meat

14 March, 2024 In response to a request from the 52nd Session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH), the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) convened a meeting in Rome, Italy from 6 to 10 February 2023, to collate and assess the most recent scientific information relevant to the control of thermotolerant Campylobacter in broiler production and chicken meat. The scope was focused on aspects of broiler primary production from the point of chick placement into production establishments to consumer handling. The objectives were to identify and assess control measures for Campylobacter in the broiler production chain. The expert committee reviewed the available data on Campylobacter control including scientific literature published from 2008 to October 2022 and data submitted in response to a call for data for this meeting. Read More

USDA scientists develop technology for pathogen reduction in intact eggs

11 March, 2024 Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA’s ARS) have developed a thermal pasteurization method based on Radio Frequency (RF) technology that effectively reduces the presence of Salmonella in intact eggs. A simple solution to foodborne pathogens in eggs would be to pasteurize all raw eggs before consumption; however, less than 3 percent of commercial eggs are pasteurized in the United States. Conventional thermal pasteurization of intact eggs is usually a lengthy process involving submerging eggs in hot water for more than 57 minutes to inactivate Salmonella cells.
Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service's (USDA-ARS) Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa., utilized a novel thermal technology to pasteurize eggs and inactivate Salmonella cells with a shorter processing time. Read More

Salmonella Infantis, an emerging human multidrug-resistant pathogen

Emerging Infectious Diseases | Vol 30, No. 4 - April 2024 11 March, 2024 Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis poses an ever-growing threat to public health due to its widespread presence across many countries and its association with high levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A 167% increase in human infections was observed in the United States during 2001–2016, and in European Union member states, Infantis is the predominant serovar isolated from broiler flocks and broiler meat, accounting for 56.7% of Salmonella isolates from broiler meat in 2018. A recent study analyzed the whole-genome sequences of 5,284 Salmonella Infantis strains from 74 countries, which were isolated during the period of 1989-2020 from a diverse range of human, animal, and food sources. The study aimed to compare genetic phylogeny, AMR determinants, and the presence of plasmids. Read More

EFSA: The role of mammals in Avian Influenza

10 March, 2024 Recently, there has been an increase in reported infections of avian influenza in mammals, spanning from asymptomatic cases to mass mortality events, and some human cases have also been recorded. Epidemiologically, there is great concern as evidence of mammalian adaptations to the virus has been found, yet the transmission routes and pathogenesis in mammals remain to be fully defined.
A new report by EFSA aims to assess the role of mammals in avian influenza epidemiology, virology, and pathology, including avian influenza maintenance, reservoir role, immunity, and the potential role of mammals in a pandemic scenario.
According to the report, the most represented taxa were found within the order Carnivora. The primary identified risk of infection was through predation (or feeding) upon infected birds or through contact with avian species. Evidence of mammal-to-mammal transmission in the wild is currently only circumstantial and yet to be confirmed. Read More

An increase in Psittacosis cases in Europe

WHO 6 March, 2024 Five European countries have reported an increase in cases of Psittacosis, a bacterial respiratory disease known to originate from birds or poultry. The events began at the end of 2023 and led to the death of five people. The World Health Organization, in a detailed report, states that the reported events from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands are mostly related to contact with wild or domestic birds.
Sweden is the only country that made a change in the diagnostic processes, a factor that may explain the increase in the number of reported cases.
Psittacosis is caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci, which originates from birds or poultry. Human infection usually occurs through the respiratory tract. There have been previously reported cases of slaughterhouse workers being infected (1). Read More

WHO: Ducks source of H10N5 in Chinese woman coinfection

WHO 15 February, 2024 On 27 January 2024, the National Health Commission of the Peoples Republic of China notified WHO of one confirmed case of human coinfection with influenza A(H10N5) virus and seasonal influenza A(H3N2) virus. This is the first case of human infection with avian influenza A(H10N5) virus reported globally.
The case occurred in a female farmer over 60 years of age from Xuancheng Prefecture, Anhui Province, who had onset of symptoms of cough, sore throat and fever on 30 November 2023. The patient, who had a history of chronic comorbidities, was admitted to a local hospital on 2 December 2023 for treatment and was then transferred on 7 December 2023 to a medical institution in Zhejiang Province as her condition became more severe. The patient was diagnosed with influenza A virus infection. She passed away on 16 December 2023. Read More

Avian Influenza devastates seabird populations in the UK over two years

15 February, 2024 The current strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has significantly impacted UK wild bird populations since its first recorded instance in the country among Great Skuas in the summer of 2021, with seabirds and waterfowl being particularly affected. The scale of reported mortalities attributed to HPAI in the UK and across Europe in 2022 demonstrates that HPAI has emerged as one of the most significant immediate conservation threats faced by numerous seabird species, including some for which the UK population is globally significant. Many species affected by HPAI are of conservation concern in the UK. Read More

Current trends in mammalian infection patterns with HPAIv H5N1

Emerging Infectious Diseases | 2024 14 February, 2024 A comprehensive review of mammalian infections during the current panzootic period (2020-2023), compared to previous waves of infection (2003-2019), was recently published in EID. It highlights the expanded geographic reach and increased number of species affected by the current event, emphasizing the importance of continuous surveillance to mitigate the risk of a global pandemic.
During the current panzootic period (2020-2023), the virus has affected a larger number of mammalian species worldwide compared to previous waves of infection. The current panzootic event has impacted a variety of mammalian species, including those classified as near-threatened, endangered, vulnerable, and critically endangered, potentially exacerbating their conservation status. The most likely source of mammalian infection appears to be close contact with infected birds, with some evidence suggesting potential mammal-to-mammal transmission. Read More

Salmonella in Europe - 2022

ECDC 9 February, 2024 In 2022, 30 EU/EEA countries reported 66,721 salmonellosis cases, of which 65,967 were classified as laboratory confirmed – a rate of 15.5 cases per 100 000 population.
• Salmonellosis is the second most commonly reported gastrointestinal infection in the EU/EEA, and a significant cause of food-borne outbreaks.
• The reported case rate was highest in young children (0−4 years) with 81.5 cases per 100 000 population, ten times higher than in adults (25–64 years). The fact that the salmonellosis rate in young children was ten times higher compared with adults may be explained by a higher proportion of symptomatic infections among young children, an increased likelihood of parents taking children to see a doctor when sick, and increased likelihood of doctors taking samples. Read More

Campylobacter in Europe - 2022

ECDC 9 February, 2024 • Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported gastrointestinal disease in the EU/EEA.
• In 2022, 30 EU/EEA countries reported 140,241 confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis.
• The overall EU/EEA notification rate was 46.9 cases per 100,000 population.
• The campylobacteriosis notification rate was highest in children under five years at 146.2 cases per 100,000 population.
• Thirty-five deaths from campylobacteriosis were reported in 2022, resulting in an EU/EEA case fatality rate of 0.04%. Read More

H10N3 Avian Influenza: A public health concern

2 February, 2024 In a correspondence published in The Lancet Microbe (1), it was reported that H10N3 viruses exhibit multiple amino acid residues associated with adaptation in mammalian hosts. Both human-derived and chicken-derived isolates demonstrated a high affinity for sialic acid-α-2,6-galactose receptors. Notably, certain chicken-derived viruses may possess the potential to evolve into a pandemic threat in the human population, bypassing the need for prior adaptation. Consequently, these characteristics underscore the potential public health threat posed by H10N3 avian influenza viruses. Read More

Funding of €46.7 Million allocated to support Italian farmers from the EU

29 January, 2024 After receiving a favorable vote from Member States, the European Commission is set to allocate €46.7 million as compensation to Italian farmers residing in regions impacted by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks. The funding for this compensation will be drawn from the agricultural reserve, and disbursements to farmers are scheduled to occur before September 30, 2024. Read More

Comparing European Campylobacter surveillance in broilers

Food Control 155 (2024) 28 January, 2024 European researchers compared various programs for Campylobacter control in broiler production across EU countries to identify the most promising practices for managing the pathogen. Mandatory surveillance, according to Campylobacter Process Hygiene Criterion (PHC), has been implemented by all twelve participating countries in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005. This involves quantifying Campylobacter in neck skin samples and setting a limit for acceptable contamination of carcasses (<1,000 CFU/g). Variations are observed in Norway and Iceland, where weekly sampling is performed during peak infection periods only, and in Iceland, where the limit is set at 500 colony-forming units per gram (CFU/g) instead of 1,000 CFU/g. The PHC limit is 1,000 CFU/g in 15 out of 50 samples. Starting in January 2025, this limit will be applied to 10 out of 50 samples in all member states. Read More

Germany: vaccination against HPAI viruses

26 January, 2024 After a prior decision permitting the utilization of vaccines to manage highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the European Union under specific conditions, reports indicate that veterinary authorities in Germany are preparing to implement this measure.
In Germany, the relevant authorities are in the process of incorporating the use of vaccines against HPAI through collaboration in a federal-state working group. The European Commission has enforced a significant shift in the strategy against avian influenza with the implementation of Implementing Regulation 2023/361/EU. Competent authorities can now authorize the vaccination of poultry against HPAIV, subject to stringent monitoring measures. This shift is attributed to the continuous circulation of HPAI viruses in migratory and increasingly domestic bird species, despite consistent Europe-wide control efforts. Currently, there is no regularly approved vaccine available for the prevailing HPAI viruses. Read More

S.D. Senators urge action on poultry trade and AI vaccines

25 January, 2024 Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) have penned a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, urging the initiation of discussions regarding the revision of trade agreements to potentially incorporate the use of a vaccine for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is presently conducting trials for vaccines designed to prevent HPAI. The avian influenza outbreak has had a profound impact on over 5.3 million birds in South Dakota, resulting in a federal government expenditure of nearly $1 billion. Prior to permitting producers to employ any approved HPAI vaccine, U.S. officials must engage in negotiations with major trade partners. In late December, the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) issued a policy brief on poultry vaccination, emphasizing the need for a reassessment of existing control strategies due to the virus's rapid spread. The brief endorsed the use o Read More

UK 2022 retail surveillance: Campylobacter & Salmonella in raw chicken/turkey

24 January, 2024 Samples of raw fresh chicken (n=306) and turkey (n=302) were collected from retail premises across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland between January and December 2022. Salmonella spp. were detected in 1.9% (n=6/306) of chicken samples and 0.7% (n=2/302) of turkey samples, but the salmonella organisms were not ESBL producers. C. jejuni was the most common contaminant on both types of meat. High levels of contamination (>1000 cfu/g) were observed in 5.6% of chicken meat samples in total with 10.4% of whole chickens highly contaminated. Meat with skin was more likely to be contaminated with Campylobacter spp. than meat without skin with 21.8% of skinless chicken contaminated versus 60.3% of chicken samples containing skin. In turkey meat, 10.4% of samples with skin were contaminated whilst 1.6% without skin were contaminated. Read More

Campylobacteriosis in Finland 2004-2021

24 January, 2024 A new study presents a comprehensive overview of passive surveillance on Campylobacteriosis in Finland from 2004 to 2021 and a pilot case-control study with whole-genome sequencing in summer 2022. According to the study:
-Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in Finland. Read More

USDA allocates $1B to combat HPAI

17 January, 2024 Since the commencement of avian influenza outbreaks in early 2022, the USDA has allocated just over $1 billion to reimburse farmers for the loss of their flocks and to control the spread of the disease. The most substantial disbursement, amounting to $715 million, was distributed to producers, growers, and integrators as compensation for depopulated birds and eggs. An additional $183 million was utilized for the culling and disposal of affected flocks. The present costs associated with personnel, contractors, state agreements, and field expenses are estimated to be an additional $130 million. Read More

HPAI detected in mammals in sub-Antarctica for the first time

12 January, 2024 Results confirm High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been found in elephant and fur seals on the subantarctic island of South Georgia.
The presence of HPAI has been confirmed for the first time in mammals in sub-Antarctica. The disease was detected in elephant and fur seals on the island of South Georgia by experts from the UK’s world-leading Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA). HPAI was first suspected on Bird Island off the northwest coast of South Georgia in October 2023 after the deaths of several brown skua. Read More

FAO & WHO :Salmonella Control in Poultry Meat- meeting report

10 January, 2024 FAO and WHO have published a report on measures to control Salmonella in poultry meat. The expert consultation concluded the following:
• At all levels of farm production, stringent biosecurity measures including sanitation and hygiene are important factors for preventing and controlling NT-Salmonella spp. in flocks.
• It is important for breeding flocks to be NT-Salmonella-free.
• Vaccine-based strategies reduce the prevalence and/or level of shedding of NT-Salmonella spp. in flocks but do not eliminate NT-Salmonella spp.
• There was no strong evidence that the use of substances with antimicrobial activity, such as additives in feed and water, resulted in effective control of NT-Salmonella spp. in broilers. Read More

Avian Influenza vaccination and safe trade

WOAH 8 January, 2024 A new policy article, titled "Avian Influenza Vaccination: Why It Should Not Be a Barrier to Safe Trade," published on the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) website, claims that the current spread of avian influenza is a major concern for the poultry industry, public health, and biodiversity. Given recent developments in its epidemiology and the increasing circulation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild animals, stricter biosecurity measures and mass culling of poultry may no longer be sufficient to control the disease. With the seasonal north-south migration of wild birds, countries must be prepared for an increase in outbreaks and should consider complementary approaches.
The rapidly evolving nature of avian influenza and changes in its patterns of spread require a review of existing prevention and control strategies. To effectively contain the disease, protect the economic sustainability of the poultry sector, and reduce potential pandemic risks, Read More

France: An avian influenza outbreak in a vaccinated duck flock

7 January, 2024 French animal health authorities have identified an outbreak of avian influenza at a duck farm in Notre Dame de Riez. The affected birds had received vaccination in November 2023 as part of France's initial deployment of the poultry vaccine. The vaccine employed in this case is developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, utilizing Baculovirus Expression System Technology. This vaccine is a clade 2.3.2 H5-recombinant baculovirus vaccine. Confirmation of the outbreak's results came on January 2, prompting the culling of all 8,700 ducks on the farm. Read More

Avian influenza detected in polar bear in Alaska

4 January, 2024 The discovery of a deceased polar bear on Alaska's North Slope marks the initial instance of this species succumbing to the HPAI prevalent in animal populations worldwide. The unfortunate incident occurred in October near Utqiagvik, the northernmost community in the nation, as reported by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. This marks the inaugural case of a polar bear falling victim to this ailment anywhere.
The fatality of the polar bear highlights the enduring and lethal impact of the particular strain of HPAI that has gripped wild animal populations, persisting for two years since its introduction to North America. The initial cases of HPAI H5N1 in Alaska were identified in wildlife, including birds and a fox, during the second week of April. Read More