Tag Archives: Avian influenza

Seattle tests backyard chickens for deadly bird flu

In the USA, the Washington State Department of Agriculture has started increasing its efforts to screen backyard chickens and other domestic fowl for bird flu to prevent an outbreak of the H7N9 virus that has so far killed 36 people in China.

The state’s Avian Health Program is looking for owners of backyard chickens, ducks and geese to join Washington’s Voluntary Flock Testing program. Experts will visit homes twice during a year-long period to test flocks for the virus by swabbing the birds’ mouths and collecting eggs. The program is free for bird owners.

There have been no known cases of the H7N9 bird flu strain in Washington. But, Michelle Gill, who oversees the state’s Animal Disease Traceability program, said testing backyard chickens could help contain the virus if it appears in this area.

“Washington has a lot of commercial poultry producers, and if we keep our backyard poultry safe and healthy that keeps our commercial poultry healthy,” she said.

Gill said wild birds migrating from China to Mexico pass through Washington and could infect domestic birds.

When birds are infected with the H7N9 strain, she said they show no symptoms, so owners are typically unaware.

Eleni French of West Seattle has had chickens in her yard for five years, though she never considered having them tested for bird flu.

“I’m surprised to hear they could get it,” French said. “I would never have thought we could catch bird flu here.”

Still, even after learning about the state’s free testing program, French said she does not feel a strong need to join.

And, she’s not alone. The voluntary testing program has existed for three years and so far only 50 bird owners around the state have joined. Hector Castro, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, is hoping to expand the program to include more flocks near commercial poultry, waterfowl refuges and within major bird flight paths.

“We’re trying to keep the public safe and keep domestic poultry safe and healthy,” Castro said. “We want a good network of volunteers in all parts of the state.”

The Avian Health Program is also offering free testing for bird flu and salmonella to 4H students showing birds at state fairs.

“These diseases can be passed on to humans so all sorts of precautions should be taken when handling birds,” Castro said. “Hand washing, keeping healthy birds and limiting contact.

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China boils baby chickens alive as country is engulfed by panic over continuing outbreak of new strain of bird flu

  • Up to 30,000 chickens are being boiled alive every day at ONE FARM alone
  • Chinese authorities reveal four more people have died from the new strain
  • Total death toll from the H7N9 virus has now reached 31

 

Tens of thousands of baby chicks are being boiled alive in China as panic grips the country over the current outbreak of a mysterious new strain of bird flu.

Four more people have died from the new strain, bringing to the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to 31, Chinese health officials revealed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the number of infections has risen by two to 129, with health experts saying that the disease is probably being spread by poultry.

Quick and easy: A crate of newborn chicks is tipped into a pot of boiling water as the mass extermination of poultry continues in China triggered by the current outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in the countryQuick and easy: A crate of newborn chicks is tipped into a pot of boiling water as the mass extermination of poultry continues in China triggered by the current outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in the country

Desperate measures: Four more people have died from the new strain, bringing to the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to 31, Chinese health officials revealed yesterdayDesperate measures: Four more people have died from the new strain, bringing to the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to 31, Chinese health officials revealed yesterday

Boiled alive: The number of infections caused by the new virus has risen by two to 129, with health experts saying that the disease is probably being spread by poultryBoiled alive: The number of infections caused by the new virus has risen by two to 129, with health experts saying that the disease is probably being spread by poultry

Chicken farms facing official demands to dispose of as many birds as possible have now resorted to to killing off newborn chicks by plunging them in boiling water.

These photographs were taken at a poultry farm in Qingyuan city, in Guangdong province, south-east China, where as many as 30,000 new born chicks were dumped into boiling water to be killed every day.

Farm spokesman Fai T’ien said: ‘Before this virus outbreak we were hatching around 100,000 chicks a day. We have now cut that down to 50,000 and it is still too many and we are having to kill most of them.

‘We are putting a few aside to be vaccinated and sold onto the market but most are having to be killed by boiling them.’

Desperate to live: These photographs were taken at a poultry farm in Qingyuan city, in Guangdong province, south-east China, where as many as 30,000 new born chicks a day were dumped into boiling water to be killedDesperate to live: These photographs were taken at a poultry farm in Qingyuan city, in Guangdong province, south-east China, where as many as 30,000 new born chicks a day were dumped into boiling water to be killed

Grim work: A worker fishes dead birds from the bubbling pot, as thousands more packed in crates behind him wait to meet their fate. The Chinese government has ordered the mass extermination of birdsGrim work: A worker fishes dead birds from the bubbling pot, as thousands more packed in crates behind him wait to meet their fate. The Chinese government has ordered the mass extermination of birds

Not much better in store for this lot: Farm spokesman Fai T'ien said some of the newborn chickens were being put aside for vaccination and sale for slaughter, but most of their birds are having to be boiled aliveNot much better in store for this lot: Farm spokesman Fai T’ien said some of the newborn chickens were being put aside for vaccination and sale for slaughter, but most of their birds are having to be boiled alive

Farmers say that boiling is the easiest and quickest way to kill the chicks but there has been criticism by animal-rights activists who say that has to be a better way to deal with the problem.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) has said it has no evidence that the new strain of bird flu, which was first detected in patients in China in March, is easily transmissible between humans.

Chinese scientists have confirmed that the H7N9 strain has been transmitted to humans from chickens. But the WHO has said 40 per cent of people infected with H7N9 appear to have had no contact with poultry.

The Chinese government provided only scant details about the latest victims of H7N9.

Two occurred in the eastern province of Jiangsu; one was from eastern Zhejiang; while another was from central Anhui, based on a Reuters analysis of the data provided by Chinese health authorities on Monday.

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the current strain of bird flu cannot spark a pandemic in its current form.

He added, however, that there is no guarantee it will not mutate and become more dangerous.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2320731/China-boils-baby-chickens-alive-country-engulfed-panic-continuing-outbreak-new-strain-bird-flu.html#ixzz2ScCW4Yx4

Boom in urban chicken-keepers may be harmful to birds

Urban chicken-keepers risk spreading diseases through their lack of knowledge of animal welfare regulations, research by the Royal Veterinary College has found.

The once rural pastime, popularised by celebrity flock-owners such as Jamie Oliver and Billie Piper has led to a boom in backyard coops, with brands such as Eglu selling pre-packaged kits for new starters.

However, while the study has revealed that backyard chickens kept in the Greater London area generally enjoy good living conditions, many owners have limited awareness of poultry diseases, and prevention measures such as vaccination are rare.

Almost half of flock owners would not seek professional veterinary help should their chickens fall ill and three quarters do not realise that Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regulations do not permit the feeding of kitchen waste to chickens, which has been outlawed since 2001.

Iveta Karabozhilova, co-author of the report said: “Our findings clearly indicate a communication gap between authorities and chicken keepers. Making information available and easily accessible through the most widely used channels is of high priority from a disease control perspective.

“Even though evidence from our study shows that flock owners provide enriched living conditions to the chickens, they ought to realise that their pets are a farmed species and are subjected to regulations. They need to expand their knowledge beyond the diseases for which there has been much publicity, like Salmonellosis and Avian Influenza, and be aware of the fact that some diseases must be reported.”

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/boom-in-urban-chickenkeepers-may-be-harmful-to-birds-8335041.html

News – Shanghai closes poultry markets over bird flu

Workers in protective clothing chat during a culling operation as authorities detected the new bird flu strain in pigeons being sold for meat at a wholesale market in Shanghai on 5 April 5 2013Chinese officials in the city of Shanghai have ordered the temporary closure of its poultry markets due to the H7N9 bird flu outbreak.

A spokesman for the city authorities said the decision was taken on grounds of public safety.

The city has already begun a mass slaughter of poultry after the virus was discovered in pigeons at a market.

Six people have died in this latest outbreak. The H7N9 virus is a form of avian flu not seen before in humans.

China has officially confirmed 14 cases and six deaths due to H7N9 infection as of Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.

The cases are reportedly from eastern China, including in Shanghai and Zhejiang province.

WHO says there is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

“We have 14 cases in a large geographical area, we have no sign of any epidemiological linkage between the confirmed cases and we have no sign of sustained human-to-human transmission,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in Geneva.

The latest fatality was a farmer, 64, who died in Zhejiang province, state-run media say.

Four of the bird flu fatalities and six of the 14 cases have been recorded in Shanghai.

The city is also monitoring another person who was in close contact with one of those who died after showing flu-like symptoms.

Shanghai health official, Wu Fan, was quoted by Agence-France Presse news agency as saying that the person tested negative for H7N9.

“There is no possibility of spreading the infection overseas,” Wu Fan also told a press conference.

Officials ordered the slaughter of at least 20,000 birds starting late on Thursday after the virus was detected in pigeons sold in Huhuai market.

The market was sealed and police stood watch as workers disinfected the areas, reports say.

Xu Wei, a spokesman for the Shanghai government, said trading of live poultry will be suspended on Saturday.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22037833