Skip to comments.US Finds Low-Risk H5N1 Bird Flu Strain In Ducks (Maryland)
Posted on 09/01/2006 3:37:15 PM PDT by blam
U.S. finds low-risk H5N1 bird flu strain in ducks
Fri Sep 1, 2006 5:43pm ET
By Charles Abbott
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mallard ducks in Maryland have tested positive for bird flu, apparently a common, less pathogenic strain that poses no risk to humans, the U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments said on Friday.
The H5N1 avian influenza virus was found in fecal samples from "resident wild" mallards in Queen Anne's County in Maryland, on the U.S. central Atlantic coast.
"Testing has ruled out the possibility of this being the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has spread through birds in Asia, Europe and Africa," said USDA in a statement. "Test results thus far indicate this is low pathogenic avian influenza, which poses no risk to human health."
Five to 10 more days will be needed for definitive tests to confirm whether low-pathogenic H5N1 bird flu was found in the United States for the second time this year. On August 14, the virus was found in two mute swans in Michigan. Scientists say low pathogenic avian influenza commonly occurs in wild fowl.
The Maryland mallards did not appear sick so the samples, collected on August 2 as part of a research project, were not given high priority when sent to USDA labs for testing.
"The birds are alive and well," said a USDA spokeswoman.
The low-pathogenic strain of H5N1 has been found six other times in the United States since 1975. Mild and low pathogenic strains of bird flu are common in the United States and other countries.
The H5N1 bird flu strain has killed an estimated 141 people and forced hundreds of millions of birds to be destroyed, mostly in Asia. As a precaution, the U.S. government stepped up testing of wild birds for avian influenza in the continental United States this year.
Is testing that sporadic, or is H5N1 not following any discernable migratory pattern? I've been under the impression that we'd begin to see infected birds first in Alaska, then spreading southward.
That's what I've read also. They expect to start seeing the 'high-risk' H5N1 in Alaska sometime in September.
It's a strain all right.
Low path ping...
Thanks for the ping Smokin' Joe.
I am not sure if by "resident wild" Mallards this is what they are referring to.
I suppose it is possible that the low path version has been under the proverbial radar due to a relative lack of testing (the birds appear healthy, so why test them in an 'ordinary' year?) and is endemic to these birds as a local population as well. There is just not quite enough information in the article to really sort that out.
You're welcome, fatima!
Yup. I had similar thoughts.
A Delmarva ping? I am assuming that this low-pathogenic variant is not the nightmare scenario for the Delmarva poultry industry that the highly lethal H5N1 varient is, but it bears watching.
As if we don't have enough to worry about this weekend! Right now I'm on backup dialup connection because Comcast is toast all over the mid-Shore, and there are electricity outages all over the place.
I was just about to ping the crew.......
This will probably not pose much of a threat to the industry, but it is good to know about it. Forewarned is forearmed.
You're right, DelMarVa folks have a bit more important things to worry about right now.......I got my power back around 5 and I think it is finally quit raining........but the power outages and flooding are very bad. My place is not prone to flooding, but I have one field totally underwater, so I imagine places prone to flooding are in seriously bad shape. One of my phone lines is out, and so hubby is not happy about not being able to get online.....and a friend just told me the cable is out. We have Dish and so are not having a problem.
Yes that is what they are referring to, the year round populations of them, there are also large resident wild populations of Canada Geese all over the DelMarVa peninsula.
Glad to hear you've still got power and connectivity. Still no cable here and the power is starting to flicker, so I think I'm gonna go offline for awhile.
As for this story, I would guess the biggest threat would be to the autumn hunting and guiding business if people get spooked.
You stay safe and dry.
Thanks for the ping!
Would the low pathogenic variety give any immunity to the population if the virulent strain appeared???
Frankly, I do not know what, if any immunity might be conferred upon birds which had a low path variety.
Sat Sep 2, 6:10 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mallard ducks in Pennsylvania have tested positive for a low-pathogenic strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments said on Saturday, adding to cases detected recently in Maryland and Michigan.
A strain of the H5N1 avian influenza virus was found in wild ducks sampled August 28 in Crawford County in northwestern Pennsylvania.
"Testing has ruled out the possibility of this being the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has spread through birds in Asia, Europe and Africa," USDA and Interior said in a statement. "Test results thus far indicate this is low pathogenic avian influenza, which poses no risk to human health."
The government said it was conducting additional tests to determine, in part, if the ducks had H5N1 or two separate strains with one virus contributing H5 and the other N1. A second round of tests could take five to 10 more days to confirm whether it was the low-pathogenic H5N1 bird flu.
The virus also has been found during the last month in Michigan and on Friday in Maryland. The Maryland mallards did not appear sick so the samples, collected on August 2 as part of a research project, were not given high priority when sent to USDA labs for testing.
The U.S. departments of Agriculture and Interior are working with states to collect between 75,000 and 100,000 wild bird samples in addition to more than 50,000 environmental tests throughout the United States.
A low-pathogenic strain, which produces less disease and mortality in birds than does a high-pathogenic version, poses no threat to humans. It is common for mild and low pathogenic strains of bird flu to appear in the United States and other countries.
The latest H5N1 bird flu strain in Asia, Europe and Africa is known to have killed at least 141 people and forced hundreds of millions of birds to be destroyed.