Monday, May 28, 2007

Pupils offered bird flu treatment ( UK )

Children at a primary school are being offered anti-bird flu treatment as a pupil is thought to have the virus.

The year five pupil at Ysgol Henllan, Denbighshire, is linked to a smallholding near Corwen, Conwy, where a mild form of the virus was found.

A dozen children aged nine and 10 and two teachers are being given tamiflu treatments as a precaution.

Four people have tested positive for bird flu and 12 have flu-like symptoms, but no-one is seriously ill.

The number of people who may have had contact with the disease has risen to 142.

Of the 142, 47 came into contact “in the household setting,” 14 in the school and 81 in “the workplace setting”.

The child who is believed to have the virus is said to be responding to treatment at home.

This is an unusual step for us to take because the risk of the infection being passed from the child to other pupils is so small
Dr Brendan Mason, NPHS

The 12 children and two teachers have been identified as having been in prolonged close contact with the pupil, on days when there was a “small risk” of the child being infectious.

There are 58 children at the school but only those 12 who have been in close contact with the infected child, will receive tamiflu - an antiviral medication which reduces the severity of any impact of the infection.

The parents of each child are being contacted by staff at the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS).

Dr Brendan Mason from the NPHS, said: “This is an unusual step for us to take because the risk of the infection being passed from the child to other pupils is so small.

‘Very rare’

“However, this particular virus usually only affects birds and is relatively unknown in humans. Its clinical characteristics have not been fully defined.

“It is very rare to see this particular flu virus so we are taking every reasonable precaution to eliminate it from the community.”

The NPHS wrote to all parents to invite them to meet officials at 1700 BST on Monday and Tuesday.

“From a public health perspective, the school will be safe to reopen as normal after the half term break. The risk of avian flu to the public is low.”

The confirmed case involved a smallholding at Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, Conwy.

Conwy smallholding where bird flu has been confirmed
An outbreak was confirmed at the Conwy smallholding on Thursday

Owners Tony Williams and Barbara Cowling, who have tested negative for the virus, called in a vet after their Rhode Island Red chickens began to die.

They bought the chickens at Chelford Market at Macclesfield, Cheshire, some 70 miles (112 km) away, on 7 May.

A total of 30 chickens from the smallholding have now been slaughtered after 15 birds died.

Officials have stressed that the disease found at the Conwy farm was the H7N2 strain of bird flu, not the more virulent H5N1.

The second possible case emerged on Saturday about 35 miles (56 km) away, at a farm on the outskirts of Efailnewydd, near Pwllheli. It has also been linked to the market.

Bird flu story source: BBC

Posted by john T. on 05/28 at 09:59 AM
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