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Bird flu detected at multiple chicken and turkey farms in Midwest, South; over 300k affected – USA TODAY



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Bird flu outbreak in Israel kills thousands of cranes

At least 5,200 cranes are dead, according to Ohad Hatsofe, a specialist at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Euronews News, Euronews News

  • The recent cases of the bird flu were detected at an Indiana farm.
  • Now, the bird flu has been detected at a Tyson Foods farm in Kentucky that houses an estimated 246,000 chickens.
  • Health officials say the recent cases currently pose no risk to the public or to food safety.

New confirmed cases of bird flu first noticed in Indiana are spreading among flocks of chickens and turkeys in three states, resulting in tens of thousands of birds testing positive for the virus.

The new cases were reported last week when nearly 30,000 turkeys at a southern Indiana farm were euthanized after the H5N1 strain of avian flu was detected, the first time it had been seen in the U.S. since 2020.

But on Monday and Tuesday, health officials said the same flu strain had been detected in 26,000 turkeys on another Indiana farm, as well as in a mixed flock of birds in Virginia and a flock of broiler chickens at a Tyson Foods farm in Kentucky.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the farms are quarantined and the birds in Virginia have been euthanized. The same will be done to those in Indiana and Kentucky, and another farm in western Kentucky is waiting on lab results. 

“The risk is too high of spread to wait until the laboratory confirmation comes in, especially with the presumptive positive and clinical signs in the birds already,” said Denise Derrer Spears, spokesperson for the Indiana board of animal health. “So the owners are taking action to prevent further spread.”

There are an estimated 246,000 chickens at the Tysons farm, but it is unclear how many will be euthanized. Tyson Foods said in a statement to USA TODAY that they were working with Tennessee and Kentucky state officials, as well as federal officials, to prevent the spread.

“Tyson Foods is prepared for situations like this, and we have robust plans in place, which we are now executing. This includes heightening biosecurity measures at other farms in the region, placing additional restrictions on outside visitors and continuing our practice of testing all flocks for avian influenza before birds leave the farms. Tyson Foods’ chicken products remain safe: the USDA confirms that avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk to consumers in poultry that is properly prepared and cooked. 

“Because the affected farm in Kentucky is only one of the thousands of farms that raise chickens for our company, the situation is not expected to impact our overall chicken production levels,” the statement read. 

It is unclear how the latest bird flu cases began, but health officials have noted that migratory wild birds are likely spreading the disease. 

“At this time, our goal is to continue to monitor the presence of (highly pathogenic avian influenza) in wild bird populations, and to quickly identify any instances where the virus spreads to commercial or backyard birds,” the USDA said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Watch: Video shows hundreds of blackbirds falling from the sky and crashing into pavement

Cranes: Thousands of cranes killed by bird flu, half a million chickens slaughtered in Israel

Kevin Stiles, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association and the Iowa Egg Council, told The Associated Press steps were being taken to prevent the flu from entering the state. The state is the nation’s leading egg producer and is home to 49 million chickens.

“IPA is maintaining open communications specifically related to biosecurity best practices and is offering surveillance testing. We are confident in our producers’ preparedness and ability to manage their flocks,” Stiles said.

The National Chicken Council added the chicken industry remains on “high alert,” but plans are in place to control the spread of the virus. 

Health officials say no human cases of avian influenza have been detected in the U.S., and the disease doesn’t present an immediate public health concern. The virus can spread from infected birds to people, but such infections are rare and haven’t led to sustained outbreaks among humans.

The 2015 outbreak led producers to kill 33 million egg-laying hens in Iowa and 9 million birds in Minnesota, the nation’s leading turkey producer, with smaller outbreaks in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The disease caused egg and turkey prices across the country to soar for months: The cost of eggs was up 61% at one point, and prices for boneless, skinless turkey breasts rose 75% between May and July 2015.

The USDA recommends all bird owners should take precautions in making sure their birds don’t get the virus, such as preventing contact with wild birds.

The National Chicken Council adds farms should take safety measures such as limiting visitors, avoiding the sharing of farm equipment and disinfecting all personnel before they enter a facility. 

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

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Monkeypox: Cases found and suspected in Portugal, Spain – CTV News




Portuguese authorities said on Wednesday they had identified five cases of rare monkeypox infection and Spain’s health services are testing eight potential cases after Britain put Europe on alert for the virus.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all stable. They are all men and they all live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, the Portuguese health authorities said.

European Health authorities are monitoring any outbreak of the disease since Britain has reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7 and found six more in the country since then. 

None of the eight suspected cases in Spain has been confirmed yet, the Spanish Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder, first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

It is not particularly infectious between people, Spanish health authorities said, and most people infected recover within a few weeks, though severe cases have been reported.

Four of the cases detected in Britain self-identified as gay, bi-sexual or other men who have sex with men, the U.K. Health Security Agency said, adding evidence suggested there may be a transmission in the community.

The agency in Britain urged men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

The Spanish Health Ministry and Portugal’s DGS health authority Spanish did not release any information on the sexual orientation of the monkeypox patients or suspected patients.

The two countries sent out alerts to health professionals in order to identify more possible cases.

(Reporting by Patricia Rua in Lisbon and Christina Thykjaer in Madrid; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alison Williams)

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Long Covid Patients' Symptoms Helped After Vaccination in Study – BNN



(Bloomberg) — Fewer Covid-19 patients reported lingering symptoms from the infection after getting vaccinated, according to a study that suggests the shots could help alleviate the burden of long Covid. 

A first vaccine dose after infection with the virus was associated with a 13% decline in the odds of having long Covid and a second shot with a 9% drop in the study published Thursday in the BMJ. Over the course of seven months in 2021, researchers regularly visited the households of more than 28,000 people to ask whether they were experiencing symptoms long after infection.

The findings, together with evidence that long Covid is reduced in those infected after vaccination, suggest that jabs may help decrease the prevalence of persisting symptoms.

“The large scale of this study means that we can be fairly confident about what has been observed, but it does not mean we can be sure what it means,” said Peter English, a former chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee. 

“The most obvious — and perhaps the most likely inference — is that vaccination does prevent at least some cases of long Covid, and may reduce the severity of symptoms,” he said in emailed comments. But “we cannot yet say this with any confidence.” English wasn’t involved in the research. 

An estimated 1.8 million people in the UK had reported experiencing long Covid as of April 2022, with two in three people saying the symptoms had affected their day-to-day activities, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

The scientists who ran the study called for more research to “understand the biological mechanisms underpinning any improvements in symptoms after vaccination, which may contribute to the development of therapeutics for long Covid.” 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Europe, US on alert after new monkeypox cases emerge – Al Jazeera English



US, Spain and Portugal announce cases of rare viral infection, two weeks after UK identified its first case.

Health authorities are on alert for the spread of monkeypox, a rare viral disease first reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s, after new cases emerged in Europe, and the United States confirmed its first infection.

Portugal said on Wednesday it had identified five cases of monkeypox, Spain said it was testing 23 potential cases, and the US state of Massachusetts announced it had found a case in a man who recently travelled to Canada.

The United Kingdom was the first to confirm a case of monkeypox earlier this month. It has now detected seven cases and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the virus’s spread after being unable to make a link between the initial case, in a man who had travelled from Nigeria, and the more recent ones.

Health authorities suspect some of the infections may have occurred through sexual contact – in this instance among gay or bisexual men – with four of the UK cases identified among people who visited sexual health clinics after developing the rash associated with monkeypox.

“No source of infection has yet been confirmed for either the family or GBMSM clusters,” the WHO said in a statement in Wednesday. “Based on currently available information, infection seems to have been locally acquired in the United Kingdom. The extent of local transmission is unclear at this stage and there is the possibility of identification of further cases.”

Monkeypox, which is similar to human smallpox, typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. Most people recover from the illness, which is endemic in parts of central and western Africa and usually the result of close contact with infected animals, within a few weeks, but it can be fatal.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all in a stable condition, according to the country’s health authorities. They are all men who live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, they added.

Health authorities in Madrid said the cases discovered in Spain appeared to be linked to sexual contact.

“In general, its transmission is via respiratory drops but the characteristics of the 23 suspected infections point to it being passed on through bodily fluids during sex relations,” they said in a statement, without giving further details.

“All of them are young adult males and most of them are men who have sexual relations with other men, but not all of them,” Elena Andradas, head of public health in the Madrid region, told Cadena Ser radio.

US health officials said the Massachusetts man who developed monkeypox went to Canada to see friends at the end of April and returned home in early May. He is currently being treated in hospital.

Jennifer McQuiston from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said while it was the only case the CDC was aware of, “I do think we are preparing for the possibility of more cases”.

The agency is in contact with its counterparts in the UK and Canada as part of the investigation, but McQuiston said no link had been established so far.

There are two types of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and Congo Basin (Central African) clade. The case-fatality ratio for the West African clade has been documented to be about 1 percent, and up to 10 percent for patients with the Congo Basin clade.

The WHO said that while smallpox vaccination has been effective against monkeypox, the end of mass vaccination programmes for smallpox meant people under the age of 40 or 50 no longer had that protection.

The UK has previously reported cases of monkeypox – all linked to travel to Nigeria – as has the US. An outbreak there in 2003 was traced to pet prairie dogs that had been housed with small animals imported from Ghana that were found to have the virus.

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