Monday, August 14, 2006

US officials find birds infected with harmless bird flu strain

US officials announced that two wild swans have been found carrying a strain of the avian flu virus, although not the potentially lethal type that has caused human death and illness in Asia, Africa and Europe.

“Test results thus far indicate this is low pathogenicity avian influenza, which poses no threat to human health,” the US
Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

Testing has been done on the two wild mute swans, who were found in the northeastern US state of Michigan, as part of an extensive surveillance program meant to head off the spread of bird flu in the United States.

The swans, which did not show any signs of illness, were sampled August 8 at the Mouillee state game area located on the coast of Lake Erie as part of the ongoing US monitoring program.

Officials, who said they were investigating how the birds were infected, surmise that the much weaker variant of the disease which the swans have contracted might have come from two separate sources, rather than a single, virulent one.

“It is possible that these birds were not infected with an H5N1 strain, but instead with two separate avian influenza viruses, one containing H5 and the other containing N1,” officials said.

“It should be noted that wild birds are known to harbor many influenza viruses, and the finding of one or more of these viruses during routine testing is not unusual.”

Authorities said the results of “confirmatory testing” would be made available in about two weeks’ time.

Avian influenza article link:

Posted by john T. on 08/14 at 11:08 AM
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