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Archive for April 22nd, 2015

‘Unprecedented’ Flu Outbreak Baffles Scientists

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Millions of birds killed as AI spreads across 15 states

This is so unusual that we can’t help but think something different must be going on —avian medicine expert

A lethal strain of avian influenza (AI) has been detected at an egg-laying facility in NW Iowa, the top U.S. egg-producing state, forcing the health authorities to destroy millions of laying hens, according to USDA.

Iowa has a $2 billion egg-laying industry with about 50 million hens that supply 1 in every 5 eggs consumed across the U.S.

The latest outbreak has occurred at an egg production facility with at least 3.8 million laying hens in Osceola County, which has been placed under quarantine. The quarantine covers an area of about 10km (6 miles)  around the farm, a division of Sonstegard Foods Co., based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The outbreak has also prompted Wisconsin to declare a state of emergency after three poultry flocks became infected in the past week.

There are now 15 states with infected birds: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

As of Monday, at least 2.6 million birds had been killed.

The strain has also led to the deaths of at least 2.4 million turkeys nationwide (birds either killed by the disease or by authorities working to prevent the spread of virus).

“Authorities have confirmed N5N2 outbreaks at more than 30 commercial poultry farms in the Midwest, including 22 in Minnesota. All were turkey operations except for one chicken farm in Wisconsin,” said a report.

“Minnesota, the nation’s largest turkey producer, is the epicenter of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu. The state annually produces about 46 million turkeys, meaning 4 to 5 percent of Minnesota’s annual production has now been affected by the flu,” said a report.

The virus can kill an entire flock within 48 hours, experts say.

AI spread from Asia to the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain into the North American poultry farms.

Rapid spread of the virus has alarmed scientists who have so far been unable to unravel the mystery of how the deadly virus have infected so many turkey farms in such a short period of time, said a report.

“It’s been really troubling to understand how in the world this can possibly be happening,” said Carol Cardona, a professor of avian medicine at the University of Minnesota.

“This is so unusual that we can’t help but think something different must be going on,” she said.

“Since December 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks,” said USDA

“The H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014, including the Pacific flyway.  In the Pacific flyway, the H5N8 virus has mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, creating new mixed-origin viruses.  This is not unexpected.  These mixed-origin viruses contain the Asian-origin H5 part of the virus, which is highly pathogenic to poultry.  The N parts of these viruses came from North American low pathogenic avian influenza viruses.”

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12 Disaster Zones Declared in NSW, Australia

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

State of emergency declared in New South Wales amid deadly weather

More than two days of cyclonic storms with pounding rain and gale-force winds  have prompted the NSW premier Mike Baird to  declare disaster in a dozen areas between Sydney’s Northern Beaches and the Hunter Valley in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW).

The disaster declarations cover Dungog, Newcastle City, Maitland, Cessnock, Gosford, Warringah, Great Lakes, Lake Macquarie, Pittwater, Port Stephens, Singleton and Wyong, said the Baird in a statement.

At least three people were killed in the town of Dungog, north of Newcastle, on Tuesday, and police retrieved the body of a fourth victim near Maitland, north-west of Newcastle, late Wednesday, said a report.

The State Emergency Services (SES) issued an evacuation order for several areas warning residents to leave immediately.

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Major Disaster Declared for Georgia

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Georgia Declared Federal Disaster Area

Georgia Severe Winter Storm (DR-4215)

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Georgia in the areas affected by a severe winter storm during the period of February 15-17, 2015.

Areas worst affected by the  severe winter storm include the counties of Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Elbert, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Stephens, and White.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, said the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

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State of Emergency Declared in Wisconsin

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Risk of significant large fires expected to extend

Gov. Walker has issued an Executive Order (#157) declaring a State of Emergency in Wisconsin in response to ongoing drought and elevated wildfire conditions.  Abnormally dry weather conditions throughout the state are increasing likelihood of wildfires, with the risk of significant large fires expected to extend at least through the end of May, said a statement issued by the governor’s office.

“Much of our state is in a moderate drought at this time, and we’re not expecting that will improve very soon,” Walker said. “The recent dry weather, in combination with other factors such as wind speeds and low humidity, create the perfect environment for volatile wildfires, which is a potential danger to the people of Wisconsin and their property, as well as our natural resources. Therefore, I am calling upon the Wisconsin National Guard to assist the Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in wildfire suppression efforts.”

The DNR is currently monitoring weather conditions and fire behavior, and fire departments and fire suppression resources are on high-alert, said the statement.

A copy of Executive Order #157 is posted HERE.

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U-S Bird Flu Outbreak Continues to Spread

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Millions of bird flu cases found in 15 states since December

A lethal strain of bird flu has been detected at an egg-laying facility in NW Iowa, the top U.S. egg-producing state, forcing the health authorities to begin destroying more than 5.3 3.8 million laying hens, according to USDA.

Iowa has a $2 billion egg-laying industry with about 50 million hens that supply 1 in every 5 eggs consumed across the U.S.

The outbreak has also prompted Wisconsin to declare a state of emergency after three poultry flocks became infected in the past week.

There are now 15 states with infected birds: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

As of Monday, at least 2.6 million birds had been killed.

The strain has also led to the deaths of at least 2.4 million turkeys nationwide (birds either killed by the disease or by authorities working to prevent the spread of virus).

“Authorities have confirmed N5N2 outbreaks at more than 30 commercial poultry farms in the Midwest, including 22 in Minnesota. All were turkey operations except for one chicken farm in Wisconsin,” said a report.

“Minnesota, the nation’s largest turkey producer, is the epicenter of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu. The state annually produces about 46 million turkeys, meaning 4 to 5 percent of Minnesota’s annual production has now been affected by the flu,” said a report.

The virus can kill an entire flock within 48 hours, experts say.

“Since December 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks,” said USDA

“The H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014, including the Pacific flyway.  In the Pacific flyway, the H5N8 virus has mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, creating new mixed-origin viruses.  This is not unexpected.  These mixed-origin viruses contain the Asian-origin H5 part of the virus, which is highly pathogenic to poultry.  The N parts of these viruses came from North American low pathogenic avian influenza viruses.”

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