Saturday, May 26, 2007
Bird flu poultry bought at market UK
Officials trying to trace the source of an outbreak of mild bird flu say 15 chickens found to have the virus were bought at a Cheshire market.
A H7N2 strain was found in the Rhode Island Red birds at the farm near Cerrigydrudion, Conwy.
On Friday, health officials announced nine people had been tested for the virus, with four positive.
Wales’s chief vet said Chelford Market near Macclesfield - some 70 miles (112km) away - was one line of inquiry.
The owners of the smallholding at Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, Tony Williams and Barbara Cowling, have tested negative for the virus.
The couple called in a vet after the chickens, which they bought at the market about two weeks ago, started to die.
Samples from the birds were sent for testing, and the virus was confirmed on Thursday.
Health officials have stressed that the disease found was the H7N2 strain of bird flu, not the more virulent H5N1.
Chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop said: “An important part of disease control is finding the source of infection. It has to be a very thorough process with a number of lines of inquiry to follow.”
She said anyone who purchased from or supplied to the market on Monday, 7 May and had not already been contacted by animal health officials should contact their local office.
Similarly, any poultry keeper who visited the market on that day and whose birds have subsequently become ill should do so, Dr Glossop said.
“In the meantime, all bird keepers throughout Wales should continue their efforts to maintain high levels of biosecurity and maintain vigilance by continuing to monitor their birds for signs of disease,” she continued.
“If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon, if you suspect that your birds have avian influenza you should report it to your local animal health office.”
Three of the nine people tested for the virus were taken to hospital, but have now been discharged.
Chief medical officer for Wales Tony Jewell said on Friday: “I would like to reassure the general public that the risk to their health from this outbreak is very low.
“This particular strain is not highly pathogenic and is normally only contracted following close contact with infected birds. In addition the symptoms are generally mild.”
Two of the four people who have tested positive were from Wales and the other two were from north-west England.
The five people who tested negative are being treated as having had the virus as a precaution.
Bird flu story source : BBC