Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ag secretary says bird flu easily found

Scientists have a new test that can tell within four hours if a bird is possibly infected with bird flu — but it still will take about a week to know if that suspect case is really sick with the deadly Asian strain, Agriculture Secretary
Mike Johanns said Tuesday.

Bird flu hasn’t yet reached North America, but testing of migrating wild birds has begun in an attempt to catch it early if it does. There have been no worrisome discoveries yet, Johanns told The Associated Press.

Four hours also is how long it takes to get preliminary results in people infected with the H5N1 virus, Health and Human Services Secretary
Mike Leavitt said in the joint interview. But if bird flu ever begins spreading easily among people, that’s too long, he warned.

“If it occurs anywhere in the world, it’s just a matter of weeks until it appears in the United States,” Leavitt said, stressing U.S. preparations that include research into faster human tests for the disease as well as vaccines and treatments. Previously, officials have said that tests allowed them to tell within a day of testing whether a bird was possibly infected with bird flu.

Avian influenza story source

Posted by john T. on 06/06 at 12:19 PM
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