Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tests show Sumatra pigs carry bird flu virus

JAKARTA, May 18 (Reuters) - Pigs have tested positive for bird flu in the same village on Indonesia’s Sumatra island where five people have been confirmed infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus, a minister said on Thursday.

Officials had said earlier that on-the-spot testing of various animals living around Kubu Simbelang village in North Sumatra province had given negative results for avian influenza.

However, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono told reporters on Thursday the pig samples from the village had been brought to a leading animal research center on Java island, and scientists there found a positive result for bird flu.

“After we brought them to Bogor, the serology test found positive results. From 11 pig samples, 10 are positive. Reconfirmation testings are still underway,” he said, but did not specify the H5N1 virus.

The minister’s comments are also likely to concern health officials. Pigs can act as mixing vessels in which human and bird flu viruses can swap genes, leading to a strain that can easily infect people and pass from person to person.

Source for avian influenza story:

Reuters Alertnet

Posted by john T. on 05/18 at 03:29 AM
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