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This week we start in Burma, where the countries bird flu problem is more serious than originally thought, with 100 outbreaks detected since the deadly avian virus was first confirmed last month, the FAO said today.
He Changchui, the FAO’s regional representative, said authorities initially believed that the deadly H5N1 virus was limited to two outbreaks. “The situation there was more serious than we imagined,” he told a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand. “Up to now, there are over 100 outbreaks.”
Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, began culling poultry on Sunday, more than a month after it first discovered an outbreak of deadly avian flu near its southern border with Nigeria.
The semi-desert former French colony ordered the culling of all poultry in affected areas on February 28, the day after an outbreak of H5N1 was confirmed. It later appealed for international help, saying it lacked the resources to do the job.
Burkina Faso (West Africa) has confirmed an outbreak of the killer H5N1 avian influenza virus, but international experts warn that the government is ill prepared to contain the crisis, posing a risk of further outbreak in the region.
The Minister of Animal Resources confirmed that three cases of the bird flu strain H5N1 have been identified on a poultry farm in the Kadiogo province, just 10 km from the capital Ouagadougou.
Efforts to control the H5N1 bird flu virus, now found in more than 40 countries, have been partly successful, the FAO said, citing countries such as Vietnam as an example.
The appearance of the H5N1 virus in Asia in late 2003 sparked the current round of global outbreaks. No human cases have been found since last year in Vietnam, which has the most human fatalities as a result of bird flu, or in Thailand, which was second to Vietnam in human cases in 2004.
There have been 42 human fatalities from bird flu in Vietnam and 14 in Thailand.
Vietnam has found the bird flu virus in chickens smuggled from China, the first case in poultry since December, officials said on Thursday. The state-run Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reported that Animal Health Institute tests confirmed the presence of the H5 virus component in chickens seized in the northern border province of Lang Son, 154 km (96 miles) north of Hanoi.
China is sharing more samples of the human avian flu virus with the World Health Organization, a Chinese health official said in Beijing yesterday. China will provide four samples of human bird flu virus to the WHO - the second such contribution from the country, according to Wang Yu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Germany, authorities said on Sunday that they had finished culling 30,000 domestic birds in the area where the first bird flu case on a commercial poultry farm was found. A spokesman for the state of Saxony said a commercial poultry farm in the town of Wermsdorf and a slaughterhouse nearby would be thoroughly cleansed to rid them of any traces of H5N1 bird flu virus.
Scientists at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute of animal health confirmed on Wednesday that the H5N1 strain of avian flu virus had been found on the farm. However, they added that further tests were being carried out to see if it is the highly pathogenic Asian variety, which has killed more than 20 people this year.
Arbor Acres - Helping Success take Shape
The European Parliament plans to help EU chicken farmers facing a sharp drop in consumption due to the outbreak of avian flu. MEPs support Commission efforts to extend compensation not just for those directly affected by the virus, but also for farmers suffering due to the "serious disturbances" on EU markets.
Parliament approved a Commission proposal today that would create a legal base for compensating farmers who have been hurt by the sudden decrease in consumer demand for eggs and poultry meat.
In the UK, the poultry industry will be watching for signs of a consumer backlash against chicken and eggs today following confirmation of the first case of H5N1 bird flu in Britain. As thousands of callers rang the Government's hotline with reports of dead swans, geese, gulls and garden birds, farmers and health officials repeated assurances that there was no risk to public health.
The run-up to Easter is traditionally a bumper week for sales of poultry and eggs and a slump in sales could cost the £1.2 billion industry dearly.
The UK's big four supermarket chains report strong, maintained sales of chicken and eggs despite the recent case of bird flu, said the National Farmers Union on Friday. Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrison's have all reported no significant change to poultry meat or egg sales in light of the H5N1 bird flu strain.
The statement follows a sharp drop in poultry sales earlier this year in France and Italy due to bird flu concerns.
The death of a Scottish swan from bird flu suggests that other infected birds are flying around Britain, but the chances of any human contracting the virus are still extraordinary low, the head of the United Nations' global fight against the disease said last night.
More than 70 animal health experts were sent out this weekend into the six-mile surveillance zone around the coastal village of Cellardyke in Fife, where the swan was found, to collect bird carcasses, photograph them and send them for laboratory sampling. Scottish farmers within the zone were told to keep their hens indoors and diagnostic laboratories were working today to test eight other birds for the H5N1 virus.
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Twelve swans and two other birds are currently being tested for bird flu in Scotland. Charles Milne, Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer, says they are routine tests and there are no indications that H5N1 may be present.
Authorities confirmed a couple of days ago that a dead swan found in Fife had died of H5N1 infection. The other 14 birds being currently tested are also from the general area near to where the swan was found.
All farmers taking part in the Farm Nutrient Management scheme in Northern Ireland are now expected to be paid the 60% grant for investing in slurry storage, following an emergency meeting between the Ulster Farmers Union and agriculture minister Jeff Rooker.
Questionmarks over the funding first came to light at the beginning of March when DARD announced that the £45m set aside for the scheme would not be enough.
Polish poultry companies are going to demand big retailers pay them back the fees collected in the past following a landmark court case. After the Highest Court said that the fees paid by a producer to Biedronka retailers were illegal, the poultry producers decided to use the precedent to fight for their rights.
“We have already asked our members to collect documents proving they pay additional fees for the last five years”, Leszek Kawski, the general director of the National Poultry Council of the Economic Chamber, said.
Croatia confirmed Friday night the first bird flu case in the capital of Zagreb after a dead swan found there tested positive for the H5 strain of bird flu virus. The dead swan was found on the shores of the Sava River in southeast Zagreb last weekend, said a spokesman for the Croatian Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Ministry.
Tests confirmed that the dead bird had contracted the H5 type of bird flu virus, but test findings as to whether it was the lethal H5N1 strain would be released on Sunday or Monday, reports from Zagreb quoted him as saying.
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Finding bird flu in the United States could spell trouble for Ohio's egg industry, which ranks second only to Iowa's nationwide.
Within an hour's drive of Dayton are the nation's top two egg-producing counties, Darke and Mercer, whose egg, turkey and other poultry farms together generated $250 million in farm receipts in 2003.
Poultry scientists at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture have found that Hops, an herb used in brewing beer, might work as a substitute for growth promoting antibiotics in broiler diets.
UA scientists Susan Watkins and Park Waldroup, along with graduate students Jana Cornelison and Frances Yan, conducted the research at the Division of Agriculture's Center of Excellence for Poultry Science.
The Texas Animal Health Commission on Tuesday announced it would wait until next year to develop mandatory premises registration regulations for places that livestock and fowl are held, handled or managed. The proposal is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's plan to tag animals so they can be tracked to prevent the rapid spread of disease. The plan, called the National Animal Identification System, would enable animal health officials to trace the movement of diseased or exposed livestock or poultry within 48 hours.
H.J. Heinz Company HNZ has completed the sale of its New Zealand based poultry business, Tegel Foods, to Pacific Equity Partners. The transaction is valued at NZ$250 million (approximately US$165 million). The transaction is part of Heinz's strategy to divest non-core businesses.
Tegel is a leading processor of fresh poultry and animal feeds which markets chilled and frozen chicken and turkey products and owns processing plants, feed mills and livestock operations throughout New Zealand.
State Attorney General Drew Edmondson asked a federal judge Monday to toss out poultry company claims against more than one hundred Oklahomans.
The state filed a federal lawsuit against several poultry companies in June 2005, alleging that the companies released hazardous pollutants into the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller. The poultry companies later field claims naming 160 Oklahoma citizens, businesses and cities as third-party defendants in the suit.
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We have 3 new features this week
Managing Ducks For Egg Production
By Dan L. Cunningham, Extension Coordinator, The University of Georgia - Many people enjoy keeping a small flock of ducks on their farm or around their homes when space is available. Ducks are beautiful animals and can be entertaining as well as having practical value as weed eaters and egg producers.
Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income 2005 - 2012 for EU-25
By the European Commission - Concrete measures to improve the protection and welfare of animals over the next five years are outlined in a new Action Plan on the protection and welfare of animals, adopted by the Commission today. The Action Plan aims to ensure that animal welfare is addressed in the most effective manner possible over the coming years, in all EU sectors and through EU relations with Third countries.
UK Poultry Disease Quarterly Surveillance Report (to December 2005)
By Veterinary Laboratories Agency - This report monitors trends in the major endemic poultry diseases and utilises the farmfile and VIDA (Veterinary Investigation Disease Analysis) databases. The report is compiled using disease data gathered by the network of 15 VLA regional laboratories which carry out disease investigation in the field.
Reaching new peaks of performance
That's all for this week!
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