Skip to comments.Fears That Chicken Farm's 'Safe' Bird Flu Could Mutate
Posted on 04/27/2006 6:37:36 PM PDT by blam
Fears that chicken farm's 'safe' bird flu virus could mutate
By David Sapsted
As ministry vets prepared to gas 35,000 chickens to curb an outbreak of bird flu, a prominent virologist warned the government not to be sanguine over this supposedly "safe" strain of the disease.
Prof Albert Osterhaus, a Dutch virologist, said that the H7 strain found in the flock just outside Dereham, Norfolk, had the potential to mutate into a form just as hazardous as the H5N1 strain, which has killed more than 100 people in Asia.
The farm in Hockering, Norfolk, where 35,000 chickens are to be slaughtered
He said he believed that an H7N7 outbreak in Holland in 2003 could have resulted in more fatalities had the Dutch authorities not acted swiftly to cull 30 million birds.
As it was, a Dutch vet, who was not given anti-viral drugs, died of the N7 strain after examining a flock of birds.
Dr Debby Reynolds, the chief veterinary officer, is waiting for the results of laboratory tests to learn how pathogenic the Norfolk strain of avian influenza is.
"This is most likely to be the H7 virus. It has a very low probability of infecting humans," she said in London. "Clearly, avian influenza and the H5N1 strain has generated a lot of concern and a lot of comment. There is no evidence that this is H5N1. This is most likely to be the H7 strain, which is potentially very serious for poultry."
However, Prof Osterhaus, who identified the virus behind the Sars disease, said from his research centre in Rotterdam: "You can't say the H7 virus is less dangerous than H5 until we know how pathogenic it has become. The H7 strain could become as dangerous as the H5N1 strain as it could mutate in a similar way. I do not know how highly pathogenic the strain on the Norfolk farm is. If you are lucky and it is a low pathogenic virus, culling the birds will suffice but if it is highly pathogenic any transfer of faeces on clothing, crates or even the wheels or vehicles will need to be traced.
"After the avian flu on the Dutch farm, we did screenings of wild birds and found the ancestors of the H7 virus in wild mallards. They carried a low pathogenic virus but when it got into flocks of poultry it was able to replicate and mutated quickly. It eventually became deadly. It does not mutate in wild birds so quickly because they do not live in such large flocks."
The chickens at Witford Lodge Farm in North Tuddenham, near Dereham, are expected to be gassed and then incinerated on the premises today.
Dennis Foreman, a director of Banham Poultry Ltd, which owns the farm, said that the number of chickens to have died from bird flu was "minimal".
"As a company we don't want this but, at the end of the day, it happened and we have got to deal with it professionally," he said. A one kilometre exclusion zone has been imposed around the farm, which is used to produce eggs for hatching elsewhere.
The infected chickens were brought from France in February. Dr Reynolds said there was a three-week incubation period of the virus and it was probable that the hens became infected after they arrived in Britain
Probably what they used to call the French disease.
So far it appears that contact with the birds is still required.
........is EXACTLY the reason they are (or should be) destroyed when any strain of the virus is found
Yup. Still good so far.
I'm more concerned about my dogs at this point.
They don't come into contact with the geese or swans but they do catch the occasional mourning dove or sparrow.
What disease was it that Chicken Little had?
Yup, me too. I have birds of all types, galore. Feces is my fear. (But it's not in the birds in the US yet)
LOL. I expect you're dying to tell us.
>>>>>However, Prof Osterhaus, who identified the virus behind the Sars disease, said from his research centre in Rotterdam: "You can't say the H7 virus is less dangerous than H5 until we know how pathogenic it has become. The H7 strain could become as dangerous as the H5N1 strain as it could mutate in a similar way. I do not know how highly pathogenic the strain on the Norfolk farm is. If you are lucky and it is a low pathogenic virus, culling the birds will suffice but if it is highly pathogenic any transfer of faeces on clothing, crates or even the wheels or vehicles will need to be traced.
but, but, but....
U.S. to Allow China Processed Poultry In
He added that poultry is safe as long as it is properly cooked and basic rules for kitchen safety are followed. The department says cooking poultry to 165 degrees will kill viruses or bacteria.
11 April 2006
Tests conducted at a WHO collaborating laboratory in the United Kingdom have retrospectively identified an additional human case of H5N1 infection. The case is a 17-year-old girl who developed symptoms on 11 March. She was seriously ill with bilateral pneumonia but has since fully recovered and been discharged from hospital. Early in her course of illness, a diagnosis of H5N1 infection was presumed based on her clinical symptoms and preliminary laboratory results, and she was treated accordingly.
Her 15-year-old cousin, previously confirmed by WHO, developed symptoms on the same day and was hospitalized in critical condition. She has also fully recovered and been discharged from hospital. Both girls, who are neighbours, reside in the small Daikyand settlement in Salyan rayon, where 7 of the 8 cases in Azerbaijan occurred. Active house-to-house surveillance in the settlement has failed to detect any further cases.
Retrospective confirmation of this case brings the total in Azerbaijan to 8. Five of these cases were fatal.
Avian influenza situation in Azerbaijan - update 2
21 March 2006
Samples from 11 patients under investigation in Azerbaijan for possible H5N1 infection have now been tested at a WHO collaborating laboratory in the United Kingdom. Positive H5N1 results were obtained for seven of these patients. Five cases were fatal.
Today is an official holiday in Azerbaijan. The government will issue an official statement on the situation shortly.
Six of the cases occurred in Salyan Rayon in the south-eastern part of the country. All six cases resided in the small Daikyand settlement of around 800 homes.
A 17-year-old girl died on 23 February. Her first cousin, a 20-year-old woman, died on 3 March. The 16-year-old brother of this woman died on 10 March. A 17-year-old girl, a close friend of the family, died on 8 March. All four of these cases lived together or near each other. The source of their infection is presently under investigation.
The additional two cases in Salyan involve a 10-year-old boy, who has recovered, and a 15-year-old girl, who is hospitalized in critical condition.
The seventh case occurred in a 21-year-old woman from the western rayon of Tarter. She died on 9 March.
Two additional patients, from Salyan and the adjacent rayon of Neftchela, have been hospitalized with symptoms of bilateral pneumonia. Testing of these patients is presently under way.
Last week, WHO strengthened its field team in Azerbaijan to include experts in clinical management and infection control and additional senior epidemiologists.
Over the weekend, a field investigation in Salyan, jointly conducted by WHO and the Azeri Ministry of Health, found some evidence that carcasses of numerous swans, dead for some weeks but not buried, may have been collected by residents as a source of feathers. In this community, the defeathering of birds is a task usually undertaken by adolescent girls and young women. The WHO team is today investigating whether this practice may have been the source of infection in Daikyand, where the majority of cases have occurred in females between the ages of 15 and 20 years. Interviews with surviving family members have failed to uncover a history of direct exposure to dead or diseased poultry for several of the cases.
Excellent collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the WHO team continues. WHO is confident that ongoing house-to-house surveillance for cases of influenza-like illness, undertaken by more than 90 local medical teams in Salyan and Tarter, will detect patients requiring further investigation. On-site diagnostic capacity continues to be provided by the US Naval Medical Research Unit 3 (NAMRU-3). A better understanding of the situation in animals is, however, urgently needed.
And of course the mainstream media still hung up on the fact that Rush Limbaugh is in constant need of pain medication.
27 April 2006
The Ministry of Health in China has reported the countrys 18th case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The patient is an 8-year-old girl from the south-western province of Sichuan. She developed symptoms of fever and pneumonia on 16 April. She remains hospitalized.
According to the Ministry of Health, an initial investigation determined that poultry deaths recently occurred near the childs home.
Of the 18 laboratory-confirmed cases in China, 12 have been fatal.
See am not reading any evidence here that this child had ANY contact with BIRDS just lived in an area with infected birds.
Thanks for the inputs, it deserves our close attention. Probably not H2H, what do you think?
The proponents of likely mutation seem to be very disappointed that so far their dire predictions have failed to materialize, especially as flu season is ending; this guy appears to be looking for a new candidate to run in the next campaign for election as the threat of the century.
Well, we do have the comet fragment impact scheduled for 5-25-2006.
If the impact is large enough, we could get a Cosmic Winter and the Bird Flu supplies would come in handy. (ahem)
My best guess is that it already HAS mutated.
What are you stocking for supplies btw..?
I skeptical that the H2H mutation has occured...there would be a frenzy of news if it had.