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ThePoultrySite Newsletter - 8th May 2006

Monday 8th May 2006
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Welcome to this weeks newsletter

*Latest News (link to all this weeks news)

This week we start in Thailand, where the government has presented a bird flu action plan to its poorer Southeast Asian neighbours today and called for international help for the region hit hard by the deadly virus. The plan, covering key areas such as surveillance of poultry and control measures, was presented to officials from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar at a meeting in Bangkok.

The Thai government had paid over five billion baht (about US$125 million) in compensation to farmers affected by avian influenza or bird flu while the country's frozen chicken export dropped sharply from US$597.3m in 2003 to US$13.3m last year.

In Vietnam, chicken breeders are just starting to break even more than two years into the Avian Flu epidemic that shattered the livelihood of some Vietnamese poultry farmers.

In Egypt, a woman died Thursday of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, the fifth fatal case in the country, the official MENA news agency reported, citing the health ministry. The ministry had reported on Wednesday that the 27-year-old was infected by poultry that she reared domestically in the Nile Delta governorate of Menufiya.

In Pakistan, the Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed that all samples tested for human cases of avian influenza at the National institute of health had proved negative and there was thus, no case of human avian influenza in the country.

In China, the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed another outbreak of bird flu among wild birds in a remote area of Northwest China's Qinghai Province. Seventeen bar-headed geese were found dead on a wetland in Yushu County on April 23. The number of dead wild birds had risen to 125 by Thursday, of which 123 were bar-headed geese, the ministry said.

Only half the world'shuman bird flu cases are being reported to the WHO within two weeks of being detected - a response time that must be improved to avert a pandemic, a senior WHO official said Saturday. Dr. Shigeru Omi, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific, said it is estimated that countries would have only two to three weeks to stamp out, or at least slow, a pandemic flu strain after it began spreading in humans.

Japan plans to spend $30 million to stockpile Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu in Singapore to help bolster efforts to stop the spread of avian influenza should a pandemic among humans start in Southeast Asia.

In Russia, 7 villages have recently registered cases of bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry said. The villages are located in the southern Russian regions of Dagestan, Krasnodar and Volgograd, the ministry said. The virus struck 11 regions in southern Russia in 2005, but hotbeds of the disease have been stamped out in many of those the regions.

In the US, health scientists and engineers are racing to find new ways to produce a vaccine that will protect people from the threat of a worldwide bird-flu pandemic. They are working with plants, insects and bacteria that they hope can churn out huge quantities of vaccine more efficiently than the present, agonizingly slow system of using millions of chicken eggs.

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Color from Hubbard

In another effort to modernize vaccine production while preparing for an influenza pandemic, the US government have awarded five contracts totaling more than $1 billion to develop cell-based technologies for making flu vaccines. The awards to five pharmaceutical companies are intended to help create an alternative to growing flu vaccines in eggs, the time-consuming production method used since the 1950s, and boost US production capacity.

Spurred by concerns about bird flu, lawmakers voted Wednesday to block chicken processed in China from entering the US. The prohibition is part of a $94 billion spending bill for food and agriculture programs that cleared a House subcommittee and now goes to the full Appropriations Committee.

A cure for bird flu is being sought by computers that usually search for the fundamental elements of matter. In April, the UK grid of computers that crunches data from particle physics experiments was used by scientists to study the avian H5N1 virus. The grid simulated the reactions of 300,000 chemical compounds to find which ones might combat the bug.

Avian flu is expected to be carried to the United States this year by migratory birds, the White House said Wednesday. Arrival of the disease, which would spread to domestic birds such as chickens, does not necessarily mean a human pandemic, but government, industry and private individuals should take steps for protection.

At least four strains of bird flu are capable of sparking the next pandemic, including the H5N1 virus that's killed more than half the 205 people it's known to have infected since 2003, virologist Robert Webster said. Avian influenza strains identified as H2, H9 and H7 subtypes also may change into forms that can be passed easily from human to human, said Webster.

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The Netherlands lifted its order shielding domestic poultry from contact with wild birds on Monday, as the threat of avian flu infections subsided, the Dutch agriculture ministry said. "The main reason for lifting the ban is that most migratory birds have passed the Netherlands," said ministry spokesman Hans Blom. "We considered migratory birds as the main risk for infecting poultry."

In the UK, vets investigating the outbreak of bird flu in Norfolk say there is no evidence the disease has spread. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has now introduced a 3km surveillance area around the farms. The new restriction is outside of the 1km zone put in place after the H7 strain of avian flu was found on three farms in North Tuddenham last week.

Bird flu has been in Norfolk since mid-March but was undetected for almost six weeks, a government report revealed last week. The study released by Defra found that chickens began dying from the H7N3-virus on a free-range farm at North Tuddenham, near Dereham, on March 25, with the infection taking hold on about March 20 and spreading to a second farm 11 days later.

Russia has jumped on the bandwagon of several other nations in banning poultry products from Britain, reports The Times. Japan had previously banned poultry, eggs and even breeding birds from Britain, while Hong Kong has banned exports from Norfolk, which is the epicenter of a bird flu alert. Peter Mandelson, the European Trade Commissioner, is now being urged to put pressure on Russia to accept most British poultry imports and to restrict produce from Norfolk only.

Fluxx Breeder from Big Dutchman
Fluxx Breeder from Big Dutchman

Events at next week's UK Pig and Poultry Fair will focus on two distinct themes, reports FWi. For poultry producers there is an avian flu discussion forum at 10am on the opening morning (Tuesday, 9 May). The panel will be chaired by NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond. Answering questions from the audience will be a four-member panel of industry experts.

Up to half of the 420 workers at a poultry processing plant on Anglesey in north Wales are to lose their jobs, according to the BBC. Grampian Country Food Group in Llangefni said the cuts were not a direct result of fears about bird flu, but followed "poor trading conditions". Unions warned the job losses were the tip of the iceberg and called for government support for the industry.

Are happy chickens safe chickens? One researcher believes so, outlining a possible role of bird stress on the number of campylobacter positive flocks. Speaking at the recent 2006 World Poultry Science Association meeting in York, Tom Humphrey of the University of Bristol revealed new results that show the incidence of campylobacter had fallen from 76% in 1993 to 20% in 2005.

A new study shows it would cost Australians $120 million a year to extend country-of-origin labelling to canned or packaged food that includes two or less principal whole fruit or vegetable products. The report also shows that only 10% of consumers would appreciate the extra information about the origin of the ingredients, a government spokesman said.

Company news

Dutch broiler breeding company Hybro BV has announced the completion of its enhanced portfolio, with news that its next generation Hybro PN+ broiler breeder will be available for customers at PS level from June this year. The PN+ joins the PG+ and the G+, to deliver superior performance for producers of hatching eggs and day old chicks, and is expected to further fuel the company’s ambitious plans for growth this year.

DuPont Animal Health Solutions - ANTEC® BIOSENTRY®
DuPont Animal Health Solutions - ANTEC®  BIOSENTRY®

*This Week's Feature Articles

We have 4 new features this week

Bulgaria Poultry and Products Meat Market Update
By USDA Foreign Agricultural Service - As of mid-April, poultry suppliers and traders report a full restoration of poultry sales and consumption to the previous levels. In the period October 05-March 06, lower poultry meat consumption was unexpectedly substituted with higher purchases of processed meat products made of beef and turkey. It remains to be seen if this new consumption pattern will stabilize throughout 2006.
Effect of Different Cleaning Regimens on Recovery of Clostridium perfringens on Poultry Live Haul Containers
B. A. McCrea, University of California and K. S. Macklin, Aubern University - Clostridium perfringens is important to both poultry producers and humans. The excretion rate of pathogenic foodborne bacteria increases after live haul; however, the majority of research into flock cross-contamination has been performed on Salmonella and Campylobacter.
The Future of Animal Agriculture in North America
By the Farm Foundation - This report examines the opportunities and challenges facing North America’s livestock sector, the driving forces behind these opportunities and challenges, and their potential consequences over the long term.
UK Poultry and Poultrymeat Statistics - April 2006
By Defra - This monthly publication combines information from the UK Hatcheries Survey and Poultry Slaughterhouse Survey results together with other Defra statistics, and trade data, pulling all ‘official’ poultry statistics in one publication.

Paracox-5 - Coccidiosis vaccine for poultry
Paracox-5 Coccidiosis vaccine

That's all for this week!

Ed.


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