Reeling from virus, Asia’s poultry farmers battle fowl flu outbreak | Asia Information
Staff are seen on the Ghazipur wholesale poultry market after it was closed for 10 days as a safety measure towards the unfold of fowl flu in New Delhi, India, on Jan 10, 2021. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN / Newpaper24)
MUMBAI/TOKYO – Asia’s hen farmers are confronting the area’s worst bird flu outbreak in years, with the lethal virus affecting farms stretching from Japan to India, roiling some poultry costs and displaying no indicators of easing.
Greater than 20 million chickens have been killed in South Korea and Japan since November. The extremely pathogenic H5N8 virus final week reached India, the world’s No. 6 producer, and has already been reported in 10 states.
Whereas fowl flu is frequent in Asia right now of 12 months as a result of migratory fowl patterns, new strains of the virus have advanced to turn into extra deadly in wild birds, making international locations on flight pathways notably weak, say specialists.
The fast and extensive geographic unfold of the most recent outbreaks make this one of many worst waves in Asia because the early 2000s
“This is without doubt one of the worst outbreaks ever in India,” mentioned Mohinder Oberoi, an Indian animal well being professional and former advisor to the UN’s Meals and Agriculture Group (FAO).
The Asian outbreak comes as Europe suffers its worst fowl flu outbreak in years, and follows on the heels of COVID-19, which damage poultry gross sales early on in some locations amid false illness issues however is now driving up demand as a result of extra residence cooking.
Rooster costs in India fell virtually a 3rd final week as cautious shoppers, more and more nervous about illness because the pandemic, steered away from the meat.
Chook flu can’t infect individuals by way of poultry consumption, and the H5N8 virus just isn’t identified to have ever contaminated people, however shoppers are nonetheless fearful, mentioned Uddhav Ahire, chairman of Anand Agro Group, a poultry firm based mostly within the western metropolis of Nashik.
Stay hen costs are already as little as 58 Indian rupees (US$0.79) a kilogram, under the price of manufacturing, he mentioned.
In South Korea and Japan, no market impression has been seen but, officers mentioned, with stronger demand for hen meat for residence cooked meals throughout lockdowns having a larger impact on costs.
The fast and extensive geographic unfold of the most recent outbreaks make this one of many worst waves in Asia because the early 2000s.
In Japan, the place outbreaks have been reported from Chiba close to Tokyo to greater than 1,000 kilometers away in Miyazaki on Kyushu island in simply two months, contemporary circumstances are nonetheless occurring.
Chook flu can’t infect individuals by way of poultry consumption, and the H5N8 virus just isn’t identified to have ever contaminated people, however shoppers are nonetheless fearful, mentioned Uddhav Ahire, chairman of Anand Agro Group
“We are able to’t say threat of the additional unfold of fowl flu has diminished because the migration season for wild birds will proceed until March, and even April in some circumstances,” mentioned an animal well being official within the agriculture ministry.
The H5N8 viruses detected in Japan and South Korea are similar to people who unfold by way of Europe in 2019, which in flip advanced from viruses that have been prevalent in 2014, mentioned Filip Claes, head of the FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Ailments (ECTAD).
A special variant circulating in Europe since late 2020 can also be inflicting vital harm.
The brand new strains are inflicting extra hurt now they’re extra deadly in wild birds, mentioned Holly Shelton, influenza professional at Britain’s Pirbright Institute.
“It’s fairly clear that this virus has established itself within the wild fowl inhabitants and so now there’s a larger propensity for it to spill over again into poultry farms,” she mentioned.
A obligatory flu vaccination for poultry in China has protected the area’s high producer, despite the fact that the virus has killed wild swans there.
READ MORE: New measures beef up battle against bird flu
Indonesia, Asia’s No.2 producer, is just a short lived transit level for wild birds, lowering its threat of an infection, mentioned Fadjar Sumping Tjatur Rassa, director of animal well being on the Agriculture Ministry.
Nonetheless, the nation has banned reside fowl imports from international locations with H5N8 and arrange a surveillance system for early detection of the virus, he mentioned.
With no main fowl flight pathways over Southeast Asia, international locations like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have thus far been spared H5N8 outbreaks, however face dangers from the motion of individuals and items.
“It is going to maintain spreading till one other virus comes alongside to exchange it,” mentioned Shelton.