Monday, May 21, 2007

Bird flu strain infecting fewer wild birds - OIE

PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) - The H5N1 strain of bird flu is infecting ever fewer wild birds, indicating it may be dying out in the wild though not in domestic birds, the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday. There are different forms of the H5N1 bird flu strain, which appeared in Asia at the end of 2003 and has led to the deaths of 185 people. Some of the forms can be transmitted between wild and domestic birds.

“In the first half of 2007, countries reported fewer deaths of wild and migratory birds, which could indicate the disease is coming closer to the end of a cycle,” Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, said in a news release.

But a form of the bird flu virus which can be transmitted between domestic flocks remained unchanged, said the Paris-based OIE, holding its annual general meeting this week.

“Poultry flocks still continue to be infected in some countries and that shows the international community needs to keep up its high level of prevention and control measures of the disease in animals,” Vallat said.

The OIE said 59 countries have reported outbreaks of the H5N1 strain since 2003.

The disease remains endemic—unique to a specific place or region—in at least three countries, namely Indonesia, Nigeria and Egypt, and continues to appear in previously unaffected countries, it added.

Bird flu story source: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 05/21 at 11:14 AM
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