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Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI situation update (FAO, March 13, 2019)

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  • Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI situation update (FAO, March 13, 2019)

    Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI situation update

    13 March 2019, 17:00 hours; Rome

    The next update will be issued on 10 April 2019

    Information provided herein is current as of the date of issue. Information added or changed since the last Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI situation update appears in red. For poultry cases with unknown onset dates, reporting dates were used instead. FAO compiles information communicated by field officers on the ground in affected countries, from regional offices, and from World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE], as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. FAO makes every effort to ensure, but does not guarantee, accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information. The designation employed and the presentation of material in the map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.


    Situation: Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1 and H5N8 subtypes) with pandemic potential in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa since February 2017.
    Confirmed countries (H5N1): Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
    Confirmed countries (H5N8): Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia*, Niger, Nigeria*, South Africa*, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
    Animal/environmental findings: Please see reports from individual countries below.
    Number of human cases: None reported to date
    * Countries reporting cases in the current wave (since 01 October 2018)

    Map 1. Officially reported HPAI outbreaks (H5N1 and H5N8 subtypes) in Sub-Saharan Africa, by onset date (1 October 2017 – 13 March 2019)

    Click to enlarge. Note: Map A shows confirmed H5N8 HPAI events observed since 01 October 2018; Map B shows confirmed H5N1 and H5N8 HPAI events observed between 01 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

    Situation update

    Nigeria H5N8 HPAI
    • • Number of outbreaks since 01 October 2018: 5
    • Regions affected: Bauchi, Plateau
    • Outbreaks reported since last update: 3 (in poultry)
    • Most recent outbreaks: Observed on 11 February 2019 in Plateau
    South Africa H5N8 HPAI
    • Number of outbreaks since 01 October 2018: 5
    • Regions affected: Western Cape.
    • Outbreaks reported since last update: 2 (in ostriches)
    • Most recent outbreaks: Observed on 08 January 2019 in Western Cape
    Table 1. Summary of countries with no new H5N8 HPAI events reported since last update (13 February 2019)
    Namibia Karas Region 27/01/2019 2 N/A (newly introduced in 2019) N/A
    * The table considers only the current wave, i.e. events since 01 October 2018 to present.

    For a summary of H5N1 and H5N8 HPAI events reported in sub-Saharan African countries before the current wave (i.e. before 01 October 2018) see Update 10/10/2018.
    Figure. Phylogenetic relationships of A(H5) clade HA genes from WHO’s Vaccine Composition Meeting Report, February 2019

    Click to enlarge - There is considerable genetic diversity in viruses of clade The A(H5N8) viruses cluster isolated from the period October 2016 until present has HA gene segments that are phylogenetically distinct from the cluster of viruses isolated in Asia during the period in 2013-2014. Initially, H5N8 viruses have been reported mostly from Anatidae (wild and domestic), but since 2017 outbreak reports in domestic birds such as chicken and turkey have increased. Recent viruses (e.g. viruses isolated in Bulgaria in 2018) are genetically similar to those isolated since 2016. Additional information: NA subtypes other than N1 are specified. The tree was built from the nucleotide sequences coding for the mature HA1 protein. The scale bar represents the number of substitutions per site. Bootstrap supports of topology are shown above selected nodes. A/Anhui/1/2005 (clade 2.3.4) is used to root the tree. Human viruses are in bold font. The available CVVs are in red. The proposed CVV is indicated by a red dot().The viruses tested in haemagglutination inhibition assay are indicated by hashes (#).[reference]

    FAO's support to countries

    Global level

    • Report of the WHO Vaccine Composition Meeting February 2019 [link]
    • Focus On “2016–2018 Spread of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in sub-Saharan Africa: epidemiological and ecological observations” [link]
    • Focus On “Highly Pathogenic H5 Avian Influenza in 2016 and 2017 – Observations and future perspectives” [link]
    • Risk Assessment addressing H5N8 HPAI in Uganda and the risk of spread to neighbouring countries. [link]
    • Press release on H5N8 HPAI in Uganda on 1 February 2017, the first time that HPAI was confirmed in the East Africa region [link]
    • Qualitative Risk Assessment addressing H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza spread in the Central African region [link]
    • HQ (AGAH/EMPRES), ECTAD-Accra and RAF liaising with affected countries and those at risk
    • USD 6.2 million mobilized from FAO internal resources (SFERA and TCP), AfDB, ROK and USAID (under GHSA funding and the EPT2 program) to support assessments and immediate response
    National level

    • FAO ECTAD Kenya supported the Government of Kenya to review and update their HPAI preparedness and response plan, which was developed in 2008 as HPAI contingency plan for the animal health sector. The review was conducted on 1-2 November 2018 employing a multi-sectoral approach in order to ensure inclusion of human health aspects and resulting in a multi-sectoral national HPAI preparedness and response plan.
    • Under the FAO EPT2/Stockpile project funded by USAID FAO provided the national veterinary services and laboratories of GHSA-1 project countries in Africa with PPEs and materials for avian influenza sample collection, transport, storage and analysis.
    • In January and March 2019, FAO ECTAD Ethiopia supported the National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Center (NAHDIC) and selected sub-national laboratories (namely in Sodo, Bahir Dar and Asela cities) to conduct active surveillance for avian influenza following annual migration of wild birds. A total of 542 serum and 1,354 pharyngeal and cloacal swab samples from domestic chicken as well as 1,939 fresh droppings of wild birds were collected from high risk areas along water bodies and wetlands around Rift Valley lakes and Lake Tana area. Samples will be tested in these sub-national labs and NAHDIC.
    • FAO ECTAD Tanzania supported the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to review their 2012 National Avian and Pandemic Influenza Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (NAPIP). The revised document will be merged with the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan drafted for the Public Health sector. The WHO Checklist for Pandemic Influenza Risk and Impact Management will be used to identify gaps.
    • FAO ECTAD Nigeria supported the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:
      • thirty five (35) staff of the Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) were trained from 12 to 14 November 2018 on Good Emergency Management Practices (GEMP) in Abuja;
      • forty (40) field veterinary officers and human health doctors were trained on disease outbreak investigation, mainly management of Avian Influenza outbreaks using a One Health Approach from 15 to 17 November 2018 in Abuja;
      • disease surveillance agents were trained on epidemiological field investigation;
      • poultry farmers and live bird market (LBM) operators received training on biosecurity measures;
      • a consultative meeting on vaccination against HPAI as an alternative control measure was organized in December 2018.
    • HQ (AGAH/EMPRES), ECTAD-Accra and RAF provided PPEs, disinfection materials, boots, protective eyewear and sample shipping boxes to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ECTAD-Accra further provided technical expertise to conduct risk assessment and risk mapping for HPAI in five states.
    Peer-reviewed Publications

    • Shehata, A.A., Sedeik, M.E., Elbestawy, A.R., Zain El-Abideen, M.A., Ibrahim, H.H., Kilany, W.H., & Ali, A. Co-infections, genetic, and antigenic relatedness of avian influenza H5N8 and H5N1 viruses in domestic and wild birds in Egypt. Poultry Science, 2019 January 22. [reference]. The study investigates pathogens circulating in 50 poultry farms (both commercial broilers and layers) that suffered from respiratory problems and mortality during the period January 2016 - December 2017. Both low (H9N2) and highly (H5N1 and H5N8) pathogenic avian influenza viruses were found, with some mixed viral infections observed in both broiler and layer farms. The H5N8 virus isolated from chickens possessed 6 amino acids substitutions at HA1 compared to those isolated from wild birds, with low antigenic relatedness to AI H5N1 clades 2.2.1 or
    • Naguib, M.M., Verhagen, J.H., Samy, A., Eriksson, P., Fife, M., Lundkvist, Å., Ellström, P., & Järhult, J.D. Avian influenza viruses at the wild-domestic bird interface in Egypt.Infection ecology & epidemiology, 9(1), 1575687. [reference]. This literature review investigates the role of wild birds in the introduction and endemicity of avian influenza viruses in Egypt. Dabbling ducks in Egypt harbor an extensive LPAI virus diversity and may constitute the route of introduction for H5N1 HPAI and H5N8 HPAI viruses into Egypt through migration, however their role in the endemicity of H5N1 HPAI, H9N2 LPAI and potentially other avian influenza virus strains and their evolution through reassortment of viral genes needs to be clarified.
    • Kouam, M.K., Tchouankui, H.N., & Ngapagna, A.N. Epidemiological Features of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Cameroon. Veterinary medicine international, 2019, 3796369. [reference]. This study provides some epidemiological data on the H5N1 and H5N8 HPAI outbreaks that occurred in Cameroon in the past. The potential drivers for disease dissemination identified include poultry and egg dealers moving from one farm, market, or town to another without any preventive care; poor biosecurity measures on farms and live poultry markets.
    • Jin, M., Jang, Y., Seo, T., & Seo, S. H. Inactivated H5 Antigens of H5N8 Protect Chickens from Lethal Infections by the Highly Pathogenic H5N8 and H5N6 Avian Influenza Viruses. Journal of veterinary research, 62(4), 413-420. [reference]. The study showed the efficacy of inactivated H5 vaccine derived from the H5N8 virus against H5N8 and H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in chickens. Reverse genetics constructed an H5 vaccine virus using the HA gene of the 2014 H5N8 avian influenza virus and the rest of the genes from an H1N1 virus. Results indicate that two-dose immunisation of chickens with H5 antigens using oil adjuvant are needed to provide broad protection against different H5 avian highly pathogenic influenza viruses.

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