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Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries

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Influencers "Likes": Husam Bakri
Summary

Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious disease caused by type A influenza viruses that are members of the family Orthomyxoviridae in the genus Influenza virus A. Middle East countries have an estimated poultry population of 3 billion broilers, 137 million commercial layers, 30 million breeders, 2x106 layer breeders and 500.000 GP broilers,180.000 GS layers. Since 1999 the region faces different health problems such as drop in egg production, close to peak production: up to 62 % during 2-3 weeks, thin – shelled, rough and misshapen eggs, moderate mortality and respiratory signs in commercial Layer and Breeder production; while in broiler it was noticed severe mortality (over 60% after 3 weeks of age), severe respiratory signs, high percentage of condemnation due to secondary bacterial infections. Different serum and tissues samples were taken from breeders, layers and broilers from different countries and analyzed by serology and virus isolation. The results showed the presence of AI H9N2 virus in the Middle East area combined with IB or ND.; different investigations were done using reduction in mortality and improvement in production as parameters. By using Nobilis Influenza H9N2, the farmers were able to control the economic impact of the infection.

 

Keywords: AIV; Middle East; Nobilis Influenza H9N2 vaccine. 

 

Introduction

The avian influenza virus (AIV) H9N2 subtype was first characterized in 1966 as causing mild respiratory diseases in turkeys (Homme and Easterday, 1970) and, for the first decade after its isolation, was found only in shorebirds and mallards (Kawaoka, et al., 1988). However, after almost 50-years evolution and propagation, the H9N2 viruses have spread across most of the earth, circulating in wild bird and domestic poultry populations worldwide. Although AIV infections commonly result in low mortality in avian populations, in immunosuppressed chickens, recent isolates of H9N2 virus have been associated with high mortality in young chicken and a severe decline in egg production in laying chickens via secondary bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract and other viruses resulted in significant economic losses of domestic poultry.

 

AI in the Middle East

Estimated poultry population in the Middle East consists of 3 billion broilers, 137 million commercial layers, 30 million breeders, 2 million layer breeders. Since 1999 the region faces different health problems such as drop in egg production, close to peak production: up to 62 % during 2-3 weeks, thin – shelled, rough and misshapen eggs, moderate mortality and respiratory signs in commercial Layer and Breeder production; while in broiler it was noticed severe mortality (over 60% after 3 weeks of age), severe respiratory signs, high percentage of condemnation due to secondary bacterial infections. Thus, it has been believed valuable to find out what is the reason behind above mentioned respiratory problems.

 

Materials and methods

Several field visits to flocks with these clinical signs were performed in Kingdom Saudi Arabia (KSA), Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Yemen. A large number of samples (serum and tissues) have been collected for serological testing and virus isolation. ELISA tests performed for the major respiratory diseases such as IB, ND, AI, TRT, EDS and ILT. Test results showed the presence of AI. So HI test and virus isolation from tissues, kidney, trachea, lung and ceacal tonsils was done to detect and type the strain of AI.

 

Results and discussion

More than 60%, 1790 blood samples showed positive AI antibody response in AGP and Elisa tests. Same sera tested in HI showed positive titers against AI H9 strain, (Figure 1) and IB 4/91(data not shown).

 

From tissues frequently AI H9N2 virus was isolated, (Table 1), and IB serotype 4/91 (793B) also, (data not shown).

 

Figure 1: HI results of Broilers, Breeders and Layers

Table 1: Number of virus isolation samples.

 

Discussion and Conclusion 

Field trials have been conducted in UAE at a farm, where AI H9 was isolated the first time. In this commercial layer farm one house (45,000 birds, Lohmann) was vaccinated. A second house (45,000 birds, Lohmann) was not vaccinated as control. Birds were vaccinated twice with 0.5 ml of the vaccine Nobilis® Influenza H9N2 at 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. Production and mortality were monitored. (See figure 2). The control flock which showed a severe drop in egg production just before the peak of lay: 62% at 21 weeks of age. No drop in egg production and mortality were observed in the vaccinated flock. Intervet was the first company to introduce Nobilis® Influenza H9N2 in the area after intensive field investigation. Field trials were performed in the most endemic area and showed good protection against clinical signs. Figure 3 showed Production and mortality curves of a breeder flock, infected with AI H9N2, while figure 4 showed the egg quality of during AI problems in a commercial layer farm.

 

 

Figure 2: Results of a field trial with commercial layers in UAE: Production curve of a non-vaccinated flock (Non Vac) and a flock vaccinated with Nobilis Influenza H9N2 at 12 and 16 weeks of age (Vac).

  Figure 3: Production and Mortality curves of a breeder flock, infected with AI H9N2.

All the results from isolation, Elisa and HI tests show that H9N2 is present in the Middle East countries. Most of the governments allowed the use of vaccines containing the antigen H9N2 in order to control the economical impact of the disease.

 

In conclusion: AI H9 virus has a high prevalence in the Middle East region. The vaccine Nobilis® Influenza H9N2 helps the farmers to control the economical impact of the infection.

 

Figure 4: Egg quality during AI problems in a commercial layer farm.

Acknowledgements

  • The author would like to extend his thanks to Animal Health Service Deventer – The Netherlands.
  • Institute of Animal Health, Compton – UK.
  • R&D service laboratory, MSD-International – The Netherlands for their technical help.

 

References

1. HOMME, J. and EASTERDAY, C. (1970) Avian influenza virus infections I Characteristics of influenza A-turkey-Wisconsin-1966 virus. Avian Disease, Vol.14, pp. 66-74.

2. KAWAOKA, Y., CHAMBERS, M., SLADEN, L., and WEBSTER, G. (1988) Is the gene pool of influenza viruses in shorebirds and gulls different from that in wild ducks? Virology, Vol. 163, pp. 247-250.

 
Author/s
Husam Bakri
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
23/11/2016 | Dear Mkeary,
Thank you for your input .
Husam Bakri
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
24/11/2016 |

Dear Dr. Al Derbi,
Your comments are highly appreciated. Yes, most of the farms in the area are using the vaccine. The infection has been confirmed in most of the Middle East countries, Asian and North Africa. My study is aimed to help farmers see if the vaccine will help or not because poultry farmers were losing a lot and they need to know results of using the vaccine in the field. Just for your information, more than 95% from the integration breeder & layer farms in the area are using the vaccine and more than 75% from broiler farms, also. There are many good companies producing this vaccine and I am sure they have good results also.

We are saying let chickens talk. 

All the best.

Dr.M. Saravanan
Master of Veterinary Science
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
24/11/2016 | Dear Dr.Husam,
Thanks for sharing your expertise study and updating us !
Any updates of availability of AI vaccines as bi or trivalent along with ND/IB?

With best regards,

Dr.M.Saravanan
Husam Bakri
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
24/11/2016 | Dear Dr. Saravanan ,
The vaccine available in the market as the following:
AI or AI+ND
There no AI with IB
Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
30/11/2016 |

I do enjoy this discussion which is very enlightening and thank you very much to the author
I share the opinion of Husam Bakri that vaccination at Hatchery is safer than postponing AI vaccination to about 10 Days on the shed.
This is also applicable for ND Hb1 as it is safer to administer it in the Hatchery than on the farm to avoid seeding the litter with life vaccine
What are your views on the use of reconbinant rH5MD vaccine for the protection of H5N1 and Mareks at the Hatchery level ?does Eduardo Lucio believe that this could solve his fear on Marek's antigen interaction in Ai immune responses
I believe that in endemic zones that approve Ai vaccination, it would be safer to administer the vaccine at the Hatchery level.

Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
20/03/2017 | Thanks to the author of this article. These days, the H9N2 were found in West Africa. I know veterinary services will not be agree with farmers to vaccinate flocks. It will be a great challenge for this part of Africa. Wait and see.
Husam Bakri
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
20/03/2017 | Dear Dolo,
First thank you for your message. We have faced the same issue at our area and now most of the countries at our area using the vaccine with great impact for poultry industry .

wish you all the best and please feel free to contact me any time if you need help in regard to this subject.

Bakri
Lalit Belwal
Chief Technology Officer
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
22/03/2017 | Thank you Dr Bakri for raising an important but lesser discussed issue of H9N2 LPAI.

I have recently published a review of this problem in Asia and Indian subcontinent in International Hatchery Practice (Volume 31 Number 2 (2017). I would like to share the same with fellow professionals.
Kindly go to the link below.

http://www.positiveaction.info/digital/IHP/2017/IHP_31_2/pdf/IHP_31_2.pdf

and follow on to page 11/36. Regards
Husam Bakri
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
22/03/2017 | Dear Dr.
It is great information in your report just now I have seen it .

All the best
Re: Avian Influenza H9N2 in the Middle East Countries
22/03/2017 | Yes, Please
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