Thursday, January 10, 2008

UK - H5N1 found in 3 dead swans

Three swans found dead at the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset have been found with the deadly H5N1 bird flu. DEFRA confirmed the news shortly before 14:30 GMT today. The dead mute swans were found two days ago but the results have only just been released. The swannery is located on the Dorset coast around 15 km north-west of Weymouth [BBC]. The outbreak comes after recent reports from China that the virus was passed between father and son [BBC]. Although experts claim no mutation has yet occurred, which would make the virus ever more deadly, it certainly heightens concerns. At least 200 people have so far died from direct exposure to the H5N1 virus in the last 5 years. In Egypt the 19th victim of bird-flu was announced as it welcomed in 2008 [BBC]. But so far there is no scientific proof that human to human transmission. The bird disease was first identified in the Far East but has gradually spread worldwide with case being identified on every continent. But also of concern is the increased resilience of the virus to known treatments. The World Health Organization announced early this year that some of those who had died in Egypt had been infected with a strain of the virus that was showed moderate resistance to the antiviral drug, Tamiflu.
[Map of spread / H5N1 map]

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