Published Date: 2005-09-02 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza - Asia (17): Mongolia, migratory birds, H5N1, OIE
Archive Number: 20050902.2597
AVIAN INFLUENZA - ASIA (17): MONGOLIA, MIGRATORY BIRDS, H5N1, OIE
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Date: 2 Sep 2005
Source: OIE Disease Information 26 Aug 2005 Vol. 18 - No. 35 [edited]
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Mongolia in migratory birds (OIE follow-
up report No. 2)
See also: 19 Aug 2005, 12 Aug 2005
Information received on 27 Aug 2005 from Dr Doloonjin Orgil, Director,
Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture,
End of previous report period: 18 Aug 2005 (see Disease Information, 18 ,
272, dated 19 Aug 2005).
End of this report period: 27 Aug 2005.
With regard to the suspicious samples sent on 15 Aug 2005 to the OIE Reference
Laboratory for avian influenza at Hokkaido University, Japan, the following
additional test results were received on 24 Aug 2005:
Sample / Bird species / Location / virus subtype
No. 1/bar-headed goose (Anser indicus)/Erhel lake,Huvsgel province/ H5N1
No. 3/ whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)/ Erhel lake, Huvsgel province /H5N1
No. 4/ whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)/ Erhel lake, Huvsgel province /H5N1
No. 6/ whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)/ Erhel lake, Huvsgel province /H5N1
[This report confirms previous postings and information obtained by the joint
mission that included the Wildlife Conservation Society -- see references
below, particularly 20050831.2578. As pointed out by Mod.AS, the important
news is that an H5N1 -- most likely the same one currently circulating in
Southeast Asia -- has extended its geographic range.
The challenge now is to gather good information and understand the evolving
epidemiology in the newly established geographic location. Foremost among
these unanswered questions is the prevalence of infection in the migratory
bird population. As put elegantly in previous moderator comments, dead birds
don't migrate -- i.e., waterfowl species typically identified in recent
outbreaks appear to be victims rather than effective carriers of the disease.
Comprehensive surveillance is the key to this question. Given the stakes, the
collective effort in surveillance has been weak. Additionally, surveillance
should not be limited to wildlife populations. We have already seen this
outbreak show up in commercial poultry in Kazakhstan and various places in
Russia. Surveillance will best tell us how firm the H5N1 viral foothold is in
both poultry and migratory bird populations.
Previous cases of human infection in this pandemic resulted from either direct
or indirect contact with commercial poultry. How efficiently the H5N1 virus
crosses the interface between wildlife and domestic poultry is salient in
predicting the magnitude of the eventual threat to people. Migratory birds
alone will not likely threaten people, but if poultry farms or backyard
poultry become infected because migratory birds have spread the H5N1 virus to
a new geographic region, then the risk to humans has indeed increased.
The OIE in a recent press release entitled, "Evolution of the animal health
situation with regard to avian influenza," puts it well:
"The OIE is vigilantly following the international animal health situation
with regard to avian influenza. Following the recent concerns caused by
outbreaks of avian influenza in Russia and Kazakhstan and by the risk of
spread of the virus to other regions of the world by migratory birds, the OIE
recalls the necessity of intensifying the fight against the disease at its
source -- that is in the avian production plants in contaminated countries.
This represents the best way of limiting the spread of the disease, of
eradicating it and of reducing the risk of the virus concerned acquiring the
attributes necessary for a human pandemic to occur....".
For the full statement see: <http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_050829.htm>