Bird flu detected on a large poultry farm in Russia

By Vlasdislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Avian influenza Influenza Livestock Poultry

Russian veterinary services have warned that avian flu, which is currently spreading through south-east Asia, has been found on a large poultry farm in eastern Russia.

The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has identified a strain of low-pathogenic avian influenza type A, subtype H9, after studying pathological material from poultry at one of the facilities of Amurski Broiler, one of the largest poultry farms in the Primorsk Territory.

According to the deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor Nikolai Vlasov, this H9 subtype of influenza is not harmful to humans and usually does not lead to significant health problems or the death of birds. However, when the virus is in contact with poultry that has no immunity to it, the infection can spread and cause high mortality, resulting in serious economic losses for poultry producers.

A statement from Rosselkhoznadzor said: “There is reason to suppose that there is an infection among poultry stock in the facility, caused by the specified agent of bird flu. When a low-pathogenic virus is circulating among non-immune poultry stock, its pathogenicity could increase. Rosselkhoznadzor considers it necessary to warn of a possible outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“So there is a need to act in accordance with the current veterinary regulations for the prevention and elimination of avian influenza. However, it should be noted that, in this case, the vaccination of poultry is not appropriate.”

Rosselkhoznadzor has appointed a group of experts to investigate and clarify the epizootic situation, as well as provide guidance to the poultry business and decide on further action

However, the management of Amurski Broiler has rebutted all information about any bird flu infection at its premises. General director Oleg Turks said that, following the latest inspection of the poultry, avian influenza was not identified. He said the focus of the virus was on the border with China and that the Moscow commission’s visit to the company’s poultry business was due to the enterprise being one of the largest poultry producers in the Amur region.  

At the beginning of March, around 7,000 birds died at one of Amurski Broiler’s facilities, although it is not clear whether this incident was connected to an outbreak of avian influenza. Rosselkhoznadzor has yet to comment on the incident.

According to preliminary data, the virus has also been detected in migratory birds and wild waterfowl birds in both the Amur region and Primorsk Territory.

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