Conclusions and Recommendations (Final version)The Fourth OIE Regional Expert Group Meeting for Implementation of the Programme on Surveillance ofWild Birds and Domestic Animals along Migratory Flywaysunder the OIE/JTF Project for Strengthening HPAI Control in AsiaTokyo, Japan, 21-22 June 2011Considering that1. The 4th OIE Regional Expert Group Meeting was successfully organized in Tokyo, Japan on 21-22 June 2011by OIE in collaboration with the Japanese Government, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries(MAFF) and the Ministry of the Environment with the main objectives; i) to give feedback to OIE Members inAsia concerning the achievements of the OIE Surveillance Programme in the last 3 years, and ii) to discuss theaction plan for the implementation of the Surveillance Programme in Fiscal Year 2011 and 2012. At the sametime, the meeting gave participants a good opportunity to review and discuss the potential involvement of wildbirds in the recent dissemination of the disease in East Asia.2. To encourage OIE Members in Asia to establish and strengthen the close relationship with competentauthorities on wild birds and other organizations concerned, participants in “the Expert Meeting on MigratoryBirds and HPAI in the Far Eastern Region,” which was organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japanback to back with the 4 th Expert Group Meeting, were also invited to attend the two day meeting.3. The meeting was attended by more than 60 people including 24 participants from 20 OIE membercountries/territories, namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, India,Indonesia, Japan, RO Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, The Philippines, Sri Lanka,Thailand and Vietnam, and experts from the OIE Reference Laboratory for HPAI and LPAI in Japan (HokkaidoUniversity), Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, FAO-Rome, OIE-HQ (OFFLU), Animal Quarantine Service ofJapan and National Institute of Animal Health of Japan.4. The meeting was kicked off with the five excellent reports on, i) Global assessment of avian influenza controlstrategies (from OIE HQ), ii) Current knowledge on wild birds and HPAI in Asia (from FAO), iii) Wild birds andHPAI in Asia (from Prof. Kida), iv) Wild birds and HPAI in Japan (from Prof. Ito), and v) Outline of the activitiesof Wetlands International. The up-dated information and their expertise were well shared by the participants.5. Seven Members namely, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Japan, RO Korea, Hong Kong SAR of PR China andVietnam were invited to make country reports on the recent outbreaks of HPAI caused by H5N1 virus(hereinafter “HPAI virus”) focusing on the possible role of wild birds in the spread of the disease. Their valuableinformation and experience were actively and well shared amongst the participants.
6. The meeting was informed of the achievements and the outcomes of the Programme on Surveillance of Wildand Domestic Birds along Migratory Flyways in the last three years by OIE Asia-pacific, Hokkaido Universityand the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology.The meeting noted that(On technical items)7. Recent re-introduction and the spread of HPAI virus in some countries in Asia including RO Korea and Japanhave raised concerns in animal and public health sectors in the region.8. H5N1 Clade 2.3.2 virus has become the most common clade in east and Southeast Asia region namely; PRChina including Hong Kong SAR, Japan, RO Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam in Asia. In SouthAsia region, Clade 2.3.2 virus was detected for the first time in Nepal in 2010, and recently in Bangladesh.9. In the case of Vietnam, Clade 2.3.2 virus in domestic birds has spread mainly in the north since its introductionin early 2010 and has become predominant over clade 2.3.4 which was commonly found in the country. Ithas been confirmed that a small subgroup of Clade 2.3.2 viruses has acquired resistance to the vaccines usedin 2010 and before in Vietnam.10. In view of the recent re-introduction and the spread of HPAI virus in Japan and RO Korea, wild birds maypotentially have acted as temporary agents for the introduction and secondary spread of HPAI to the poultrysector in those countries. However, because of the lack of sufficient data, definitive support of this theory atcurrent time is not possible. Further investigation and research are required to determine the source ofintroduction and spread of HPAI virus in Japan and RO Korea.11. Surveillance in wild birds may assist in understanding influenza A virus ecology and transmission risks todomestic birds and provides new information on HPAI epidemiology.12. In RO Korea and Japan, the Veterinary authorities and competent authorities on wild birds have been workingclosely and making efforts to monitor the HPAI H5N1 virus in wild birds and contain the disease in poultry in aneffective and a rapid manner.13. It is of importance to establish and re-enforce networks between veterinary authorities and competentauthorities on wild birds including related organizations like non-governmental/international organizations onwild birds.14. In countries where the vaccination against HPAI is practiced, it is important to use vaccine always together withother classical control measures including early detection, rapid response, stamping out and movement controlfor the successful disease containment and its eradication.
15. Surveillance of dead wild birds provides valuable information for the early warning/alert of HPAI outbreak tomitigate the introduction in domestic birds sectors.(On the outcomes of the OIE Surveillance Programme)16. In South Vietnam, influenza A (AI) viruses were frequently isolated from healthy domestic ducks includingdomesticated Muscovy ducks. The average prevalence of AI virus in the surveyed domestic ducks in SouthVietnam was higher than that in the surveyed domesticated Muscovy ducks.17. Occurrence of the genetic re-assortment in H9N2 viruses isolated from poultry in live bird markets in SouthVietnam under the OIE Surveillance Programme emphasizes the important role of surveillance and monitoringon live bird markets for the disease control and prevention.18. The H9N2 viruses isolated under the OIE Surveillance Programme had a potential to infect chickens, and thatthe endeavor of countries to prevent inter-species transmission of AI viruses in live bird markets and farms isone of the critical points for the disease control and eradication in Asia.19. The isolation of H5N1 HPAI virus from a healthy domestic duck in South Vietnam under the OIE SurveillanceProgramme, builds on previous findings and suggests domestic ducks play an important role in the persistenceand the transmission of H5N1 HPAI virus amongst domestic birds because they do not manifest clinical signsof the disease, and thus allow the virus to continue circulating undetected in the field.20. The migration routes of the six whooper swans Cygnus cygnus marked in Central Mongolia under the OIESurveillance program were parallel to the movements of whooper swans marked in Eastern Mongolia byFAO-USGS (2006-07), and wintering grounds of these birds did not overlap. The findings have confirmedconnectivity of Mongolia with PR China, RO Korea and Japan via migration of whooper swans.21. Telemetry studies should be combined with data on the pathobiology of experimentally infected whooperswans and pattern of outbreaks in space and time to elucidate if this species plays a role in virus dispersal.The meeting recommended that(On technical items)22. OIE Members in Asia should be well prepared for any possible introduction/re-introduction of HPAI virus bystaying alert, strengthening rapid response to the disease outbreak and improving capacity building for thedisease control.23. As wild birds may act as temporary agents for spread of HPAI in Asia, OIE Asia-Pacific should take theinitiative to encourage OIE Members in the region to create and enforce a linkage/network/partnershipbetween the animal health sector and the wild bird sector by organizing regional activities including workshopsand meetings together with partner organizations on wild birds.
24. As wildlife can play a potential role/involvement in the spread of animal diseases, OIE Members in Asia shouldactively take the initiative to establish and maintain a close relationship with the competent authorities andexperts on wildlife including related organizations to exchange relevant and up-dated information.25. OIE Asia-Pacific should encourage/support OIE Members in Asia to collaborate with Hokkaido University ininfluenza A virus studies as well as diagnosis by providing isolates and specimens to Hokkaido University as acenter for HPAI and LPAI in Asia under the OIE Surveillance Programme. The participant from Laos expressedhis interest in providing isolates under this framework.26. OIE Asia-Pacific should promote synergy with its partner organizations (FAO, Wetlands International, etc.) forthe effective and efficient implementation of the OIE Surveillance Programme.(On the OIE Surveillance Programme)27. The OIE Surveillance Programme should continue in Vietnam and Mongolia for next two years to obtain morefindings and data to elucidate a potential involvement of wild birds and domestic poultry in the spread of H5N1virus in Asia.28. Further studies of whooper swans will be important to assess possible variation in migration routes betweenyears (2010 vs 2011). This information will provide a multi-year data set to investigate the movement of thisspecies between regions of outbreak along the East Asian Flyway. Collection of samples from bird speciesthat co-mingle with whooper swans (e.g. bar-headed geese Anser indicus, ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea,common goldeneye Bucephala clangula) will be important to investigate possible inter-species transmission ofH5N1 virus in Mongolia.(Acknowledgement)29. The Meeting acknowledged the MAFF-Japan for its continuous and generous support to implement the OIESurveillance Programme on behalf of OIE Members in Asia.