Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza / bird flu

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza / bird flu

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Sun Jul 31, 2022 3:28 pm

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI, H5N1, bird flu) is taking a toll on Northern Hemisphere birds.
https://www.eaaflyway.net/alert-ai-in-seabirds/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/02/geese-skuas-cranes-foxes-avian-flu-takes-growing-toll-on-wildlife-aoe
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-62253049

We should be alert to the potential for this to to spread to NZ, especially when we start to get migrants arriving.
Brett Gartrell at Massey has the following advice.


In the event your shoreline surveys identify an unusual number of mortalities, then you should ring the exotic disease hotline for advice

EXOTIC PEST AND DISEASE HOTLINE – 0800 80 99 66

The difficulty comes in knowing when the number of dead birds is unusual as we always get mortality in any wildlife population, but your groups have extensive baseline data and will probably be best placed to recognise a spike in mortality.

MPI work collaboratively with DOC in wildlife investigations and Wildbase and commercial veterinary pathology labs may be asked to be involved depending on where the mortality occurs.

Some general guidelines for collecting wildlife carcasses might be useful here

  1. Make sure your people are wearing good PPE. Disposable gloves and face masks recommended
  2. Place any bodies singly into sealed plastic bags with two labels (one in another small ziplock bag inside the body bag, and one attached to the outside). The outside one often gets lost hence the need for redundancy here. The label should have the species (if known), date of collection, site of collection, name of collector as a minimum.
  3. If bodies are being sent to the lab immediately, then refrigerate prior to transport and send with icepacks to keep cool. Ensure the lab knows its coming. If the bodies are to be held for more than a day or two before sending to the lab, freeze them. Note this on the label.

While the idea that a sick bird would not make the migration journey holds some comfort, its worth remembering that HPAI has a 14 day incubation period. That is the time between a bird getting infected and starting to show disease is 2 weeks. Most of our migratory species could easily complete their migration in this period, so geography only provides a certain amount of protection.
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Michael Szabo
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Avian influenza reported in eastern Canada

Postby Michael Szabo » Mon Aug 08, 2022 6:27 pm

Reuters reports that the carcasses of thousands of migrant seabirds have washed up on the shores of eastern Canada this week and preliminary findings showed that the birds died of avian influenza.


Link to Reuters news report: https://www.reuters.com/business/enviro ... LGgXTbEpFg
'New Zealand Birders' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/857726274293085
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Michael Szabo
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‘Unstoppable’ bird flu epidemic causes growing alarm among Dutch farmers

Postby Michael Szabo » Wed Sep 14, 2022 7:02 pm

‘Unstoppable’ bird flu epidemic causes growing alarm among Dutch farmers (The Guardian)

With millions of chickens and ducks culled, farmers say only a vaccine can save the poultry sector from the ‘invisible enemy’

Link to article; https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ch-farmers
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Michael Szabo
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High risk that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza will arrive in the Southern Ocean

Postby Michael Szabo » Thu Sep 15, 2022 3:53 pm

Advice from avian influenza experts suggests that there is a high risk that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza will arrive in the Southern Ocean 2022/23-2024/25 austral summers:
https://ecoevorxiv.org/8jrbu/
'New Zealand Birders' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/857726274293085
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Peter Frost
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Re: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza / bird flu

Postby Peter Frost » Sun Sep 18, 2022 2:10 pm

Yet further concerns raised from Ireland, also mentioning specifically the threat to poultry: https://www.thejournal.ie/birdwatch-ireland-seabirds-avian-flu-5864076-Sep2022/. Given MPI's tendency to suppress any risks to commercial interests here, such as H5N1 might pose, it would not surprise me if extreme measures are proposed to control the spread of this H5N1 outbreak, if it reaches here (elimination of potential carriers among wild birds?). The point in the article about picking up any carcasses (being careful to wear suitable PPE) is also relevant. Anything more than, say, 3-5 carcasses of the same species in close proximity need to be sent to the authorities mentioned in Neil's post above, or disposed of in some appropriate way (incineration, deep burial), to avoid any infected tissues being moved by scavengers, including gulls. Incidentally, the comments to the The Journal article are also worth reading, to get some additional sense of scale of this emerging pandemic.

Peter
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Re: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza / bird flu

Postby boneywhitefoot » Tue Sep 20, 2022 6:53 am

Rosie and I found 4 dead Gannets washed up on the high tide line today.
This was at Templeton beach county Louth.
Its sad to see.
What is worry is kids taking feathers off the carcases to take home.
I explained to the parents that it wasn't a good idea.
I'm starting to love it up here but its really sad to see all the dead birds.

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