Highly pathogenic H7N3 outbreak in Mexico- largest in nearly 20 years: millions of chickens could be culled

June 27, 2012MEXICOMexican veterinary authorities are intensifying avian influenza control efforts in a region that houses several large commercial farms after further tests determined that the strain responsible for more than 200,000 bird deaths at three farms is the highly pathogenic H7N3 subtype. The events represent the first highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks in Mexican flocks since the country battled H5N2 in the mid 1990s. In a follow-up report submitted today to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Mexican animal health officials said intravenous pathogenicity tests revealed the highly pathogenic H7N3 subtype. The initial report on Jun 21 said preliminary tests suggested a low-pathogenic H7 subtype. The outbreaks began at three large commercial farms in Jalisco state on Jun 13, causing clinical signs in the layer flocks that included gasping, lethargy, fever, and death. The disease sickened 587,160 of more than 1 million susceptible birds, killing 211,424 of them. About 60,000 have been culled so far to curb the spread of the virus. Today’s update said that, based on the latest test results, authorities are sampling birds at about 60 poultry farms near the outbreak area, and quarantine measures are under way in the region, which has about 500 production units. Full gene sequencing and an epidemiologic investigation to determine the source of the virus are also in progress. Jalisco state, in western Mexico, is the country’s top egg producer. Officials have also limited poultry movements near the outbreak area and are testing birds at commercial farms, backyard flocks, and poultry markets. They are also assessing bio-security practices and overseeing depopulation efforts at the affected farms, according to the OIE report. David A. Halvorson, DVM, an avian health expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, told CIDRAP News that Mexico’s last high pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks occurred in 1994 and 1995 and involved H5N2. He added that low-pathogenic H5N2 circulated in the country for several years. John Glisson, DVM, PhD, director of research programs for the US Poultry and Egg Association, said in an e-mail statement to CIDRAP News, “The US poultry industry would strongly agree with the idea that the disease should be dealt with quickly and that quarantine of these farms and elimination of infected flocks would be a prudent measure.” In 2004, highly pathogenic H7N3 outbreaks in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley led to the culling of 19 million birds, and two related human infections were confirmed. The patients, both men who had been exposed to infected poultry on the farms, were the first known H7N3 infections in humans. Both had conjunctivitis with mild flulike symptoms, according to a December 2004 report on the cases in Emerging Infectious Diseases. –CIDRAP
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8 Responses to Highly pathogenic H7N3 outbreak in Mexico- largest in nearly 20 years: millions of chickens could be culled

  1. Granny Bear says:

    Conjunctivitis? Is that, perhaps how they “caught” it? Should a full face mask or the filters plus goggles be used? Half mask breathing filters, to keep out dander, etc. should already be par, but perhaps eyes need to be protected, as well?


  2. Carl says:

    you know its going to be bad when it starts on Mexico
    btw im mexican so not trying to be racist


  3. Granny Bear says:

    Dunno, Carl, it looks like you guys jumped right on it. If quarantine and and a big chicken cull is enough, then it appears Mexico is taking all of the right steps. Does it have a mosquito vector?


  4. m c says:

    My thought is…..who/where do all those chickens/eggs get sold too and/or to whom ?

    its not a matter of if, but when it mutates and becomes a very large real threat to humans


  5. krystal says:

    I just can’t believe how bad it is becoming in Mexico. We live in Texas, I remember hearing about my mom going to Mexico no problem when I was growing up. My grandparents used to travel to Mexico, driving across the border. Then nowadays, we don’t even dare to drive to the border towns. Cartels are taking over, and Janet Napolitano is blind, thinking it is fine. Also, in Mexico, they worship Santa Muerte and Narco Culture is permeating on USA soil! If you don’t know, it is big in LA California and here in Texas.


  6. Korheg says:

    So this one killed almost half the chickens infected…. What happens when it spreads to humans? Perhaps this is the one they’ll release for depopulation.


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