Thursday, April 11, 2013

New bird flu hard to detect

An outbreak the H7N9 strain of avian influenza in China has seen the introduction of some strong biosecurity measures there and in some other countries. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation says that unlike other bird flu strains, this new virus is hard to detect in poultry because the novel virus causes few signs of disease in animals.
"Unlike H5N1, where chickens were dying on a large scale, with this virus we don't have a red flag that immediately signals an infection. This means farmers may not be aware that virus is circulating in their flock. Biosecurity and hygiene measures will help people protect themselves from virus circulating in seemingly healthy birds or other animals," said Juan Lubroth, Food and Agriculture Organization chief veterinary officer.

Gold Coast Health has put emergency department doctors and GPs on alert for symptoms of the bird flu in patients who have been to China.

There are 20 flights a week between the Gold Coast and China and the Federal Government has warned that the H7N9 virus, which has so far killed nine of the 28 people it has infected in China, has a higher likelihood of spreading because the virus has already infected humans through direct contact with poultry.

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