Saturday, June 02, 2007

Human Bird Flu Outbreak In Wales Continues

Hundreds Exposed To Virus, But Source Remains A Mystery

Health authorities in Wales have no idea where the H7N2 bird flu virus that suddenly appeared in a market in Chesire, Wales in early May came from. Today four more people have been confirmed to be showing signs of H7N2 infection, taking the confirmed total to 17 :

The 17 people, who are all connected to the outbreak, have been identified as suffering from flu-like symptoms, and include a healthcare worker and school girl.

Wales chief veterinary officer Dr Christianne Glossop last week announced that the H7N2 strain of bird flu had been found on T’n Llwyn farm, in Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, near Corwen which has also been linked to the market.

Owners Barbara Cowling and Tony Williams bought a 15-strong batch of 22-week-old Rhode Island Red chickens from Chelford Market three weeks ago. But the birds became ill and died.

Almost 100 people, including 79 patients and staff at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and pupils at Ysgol Henllan, near Denbigh, have now been given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, which can lessen the severity and duration of flu, as a precautionary measure.

In total 256 people who have been in contact with the infected poultry or people who have become ill have been traced by public health officials.

The H7N2 strain of avian flu – a different strain to the H5N1 virus which has killed about 180 people in South-East Asia – can cause mild flu-like symptoms and conjunctivitis in humans.

Assembly government officials last night said it was “too early to speculate” about the source of the outbreak.

...some within the North Wales farming community have questioned why the source of the outbreak has not yet been found, as record of all transactions are kept by the market itself.

One source told the Western Mail, “Someone must have brought those birds to Chelford for sale. Why have they not been identified? Why have they not come forward?”

Experts Claim Britain's "Mild" Bird Flu Strain Has Potential To Become A Pandemic

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