Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hendra Virus

There has been a serious viral problem in Australia since 1994 but now there is a new problem occurring. There is an anti-vaccination movement that is causing many many problems. Heres a link to a recent article forwarded from a friend in Oz about the problem.

The virus is a flu like disease that can also cause neurologic signs and is highly fatal. It can be spread from horse to humans as well which makes this a serious public health concern for those in the Equine industry ...including Veterinarians. There is a vaccine available but it is expensive and many think that it is unnesessary and as a consequence are putting their horses ,themselves and their Veterinarian at risk. While Hendra isnt a problem in the US it highlights the "anti-vaxer" movements here as well. While we always needs to shine the bright light of scientific rigor on anything we give to our animals and ourselves, we also have to accept the data that disproves certain fears. This point is aimed at the so called link between autism and vaccines. There is NO evidence to even suggest that this exhists. There is however some interesting data emerging suggesting a link between autism and several other diseases and an altered GI microbiome. How this occurs is multifactorial but antibiotic use,C-section delivery and certain pesticides are current targets.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) H5N2 ....something you might want to keep track of

Avian Influenza has been on the radar for quite a while as it has shown transmission from birds to humans and there have been minor outbreaks in several countries in Asia. Influenza virus is typically classified by the 2 major surface antigens H and N . There is a strain currently causing a major problem in the US bird and poultry population that may lead to problems at your grocery store. While infections in people make the news ,infections in chickens and turkeys usually dont. Here is an update on the current outbreak in the US that you should follow.
Heres a link to some data on the latest outbreak

" 7 additional cases of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza virus have been confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  Outbreaks occurred in Iowa at turkey farms in Hamilton County (19,600 birds) and Sac County (42,200 birds).  In Minnesota, outbreaks were reported at turkeys farms in Brown County (39,000 birds), Kandiyohi County (4,000 birds), and Renville County (4,800 birds) and a chicken farm in Renville County (15,000 birds).  Nebraska reported an outbreak in a backyard flock in Dixon County.  To prevent further spread of the disease, all affected premises have been quarantined, and the surviving birds culled. Premises in four counties in Arizona were placed under quarantine Friday (6/12/15) because they had received chicken, quail or pheasant birds or eggs from a farm in Iowa in the week before H5N2 was detected. The Iowa farm is suspected to have shipped similar samples to other parts of the country. Follow up investigation, including laboratory testing, is being conducted."

 While this sounds like a lot of birds (and it is) its still a small percentage of the overall commercial bird population. It still points out that this could be devastating to our domestic poultry production and make your fried chicken dinner more costly than you are used to . Lets hope we can get a handle on its spread or we may be even more thankful for that Turkey this Thanksgiving.