CIDRAP — Signs of airborne H5N2 found; Iowa reports more outbreaks

Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | May 08, 201
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Air sampling findings
Montse Torremorell, DVM, PhD, of the University of Minnesota said she and three colleagues did a pilot air sampling study at three Minnesota farms with infected poultry.

“Our results indicated that influenza genetic material can be detected in air samples collected inside and immediately outside of infected poultry facilities. We still don’t know whether virus was viable or not, and those analyses are in progress,” said Torremorell, who holds the Allen D. Leman Chair in swine health and productivity.

“So far we have shown that HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] can be aerosolized from infected facilities,” she added. “However, the implications of these findings in terms of understanding the transmission of HPAI between flocks needs further investigation.” The study focused on a total of four poultry barns on the three farms.

Torremorell said the study was commissioned by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The agency’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, are testing the samples to see if they contain any viable virus particles.

Other participants in the study are Peter Davies, BVSc, PhD, Peter Raynor, PhD, and Carmen Alonso, DVM, all with the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Torremorell said.
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Another pause in Minnesota
In other developments, Minnesota officials reported no new H5N2 outbreaks today, suggesting that the virus’s spread may be slowing. From Apr 15 through May 5 the state reported new H5N2 findings every day. That streak finally ended 2 days ago (May 6), but yesterday two outbreaks were reported.

State officials also said today that they have finished testing all 3,138 fecal samples collected this spring from wild waterfowl, with no H5N2 findings. About half of the samples came from near the infected farms, and the rest were control samples from wildlife areas around the state, according to today’s update from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
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