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#H7N9 US Customs Seize Chickens In Cooler From Vietnam. Illegal Trade Remains A Great Risk. 128 cases, 27 deaths.

May 2, 2013

20 Chickens…In A Cooler?!?!?! Really!?!??!  From Vietnam!  Yikes!

20 defeathered Chinese Silkies (a little disgusting I might add!)

20 defeathered Chinese Silkies (a little disgusting I might add!)

US Customs seized 20 defeathered Chinese Silkies, a white fluffy variety of chicken known for being both great pets and great eating out of a cooler in a Vietnamese passengers luggage. The meat was the color of a bruise, a dark, blueish-gray. In the end, the April 22 incident was a case of no harm, no foul. Customs said the passenger who was stopped may have made an honest mistake and was not deliberately flouting the rules. It does give you a great idea how diseases can be spread in the blink of an eye, or in this case, the transit of a jet from one country to another.

OIE expert mission finds live bird markets play a key role in H7N9 poultry and human infections

ProMed reported on the recent request by China to the the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to send OIE experts to assess the H7N9 situation in animals and provide advice. According to the information and data collected, the mission confirms that many of the human cases of H7N9 appear to have a link with live bird markets. To date no human cases or animal infections of H7N9 have been detected on poultry farms. During the mission the team made the hypothesis that people could be infected through exposure to infected birds in markets or to a contaminated environment such as live poultry markets where virus is present.

The OIE statement notes: “H7N9 is genetically a “bird flu”, but one of the ongoing mysteries in the H7N9 outbreak in China is how — with more than 125 people infected — only 46 positive virus samples have been detected out of nearly 70 000 tests conducted on poultry and their environment. Thus far, the virus has not been detected on farms or commercial poultry operations, only in a handful of samples taken from live bird markets.”

The mission also confirms that currently infection with H7N9 does not cause visible disease in poultry therefore veterinary services must be especially involved in preventing its further spread in poultry, particularly through the supervision of the implementation of biosecurity measures on farms.

Trade A Concern

The report went on to note that preventing the national and international spread of the H7N9 virus must be a priority. The strict application by local and national veterinary authorities of member countries of OIE science-based standards published in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (volume 2; chapter 10.4) can prevent spread of the virus from infected poultry. These standards apply to international trade in live poultry, poultry meat, eggs and even feathers.

The application of these international standards also prevents imposition of unjustified trade barriers by importing countries. Controlling illegal trade must also be a priority.

ProMedMail V2013 #207 http://www.promedmail.org

OIE Press Release: http://tinyurl.com/cltzu6b

Chicken Story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/us-customs-seizes-20-raw-chinese-silkie-chickens-at-dulles-airport/2013/05/02/56df055e-b338-11e2-9a98-4be1688d7d84_story.html

Case Count from CIDRAP http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/news/may0213china.html

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