Thursday, April 27, 2006




A dead chicken was found yesterday on a British farm and has tested positive for a strain of avian influenza.

From The Guardian : "Officials have yet to determine how the birds may have become infected,

"Tissue samples and carcasses of dead chickens recovered from the farm were last night rushed to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey where scientists were working through the night to confirm the subtype of virus and whether it was a highly pathogenic strain.

"Veterinarians imposed immediate restrictions around the poultry farm prohibiting the movement of any produce on or off the site.

"....officials said last night that an H7 strain of avian flu was last detected in Britain in 1987. Outbreaks of H7 avian flu have since occurred throughout the world. In 2003, officials in the Netherlands ordered 31m birds to be culled after an outbreak of the H7N7 variant of bird flu. During the outbreak, 89 people became infected, most with flu-type symptoms or eye infections, although one vet working on the outbreak died from the infection after developing pneumonia.

"In 2002 a H7N2 avian flu virus struck poultry farms in Virginia, America, leading to the slaughter of 4m turkeys and chickens. The virus was eventually traced back to live bird markets in New York and New Jersey, where the virus was known to be endemic."

From The Independent : "All of the 35,000 chickens at the farm will now be slaughtered, as bio-security measures are put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Tests are being carried out today to establish the exact strain of the virus but preliminary test results show that it was likely to be the H7 strain rather than H5N1, which has been responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people, mainly in Asia.

"...restrictions had been placed on the firm, and that further action may be taken when the additional laboratory results were known.

"Although hundreds of wild birds have been tested in the last few months, the swan in Fife remains the only case of H5N1 to have been discovered in the UK.

"While H7 versions of the disease can be highly pathogenic among poultry, and have crossed the species barrier to humans, outbreaks in people have been less serious than those of H5N1."

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