Saturday, August 29, 2009

UN advise caution over swine flu found in birds

Updated on : Friday, August 28, 2009

NEW YORK: The UN has warned that the discovery of swine flu in turkeys in Chile raises concerns about the spread of the virus.

Last week, turkeys on two farms in Chile were found to have the H1N1 virus. According to the UN, poultry farms elsewhere in the world could also become infected.

Chilean authorities have allowed the sick birds to recover in a temporary quarantine rather than culling them, as they only suffered mild symptoms.

It is thought the birds became infected through contact with humans. Pigs in Canada, Australia and Argentina have also contracted the virus through contact with farm workers.

According to a British news channel, experts are worried about the development because the virus could mix with more dangerous strains. Any further spread of the virus among birds or from birds to humans could make the virus harder to control because it would be more likely to change.

The UN urged countries to monitor the situation closely to prevent the virus from combining with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is thought to be more dangerous than swine flu.

It called for better monitoring of animals and better hygienic practices at farms to keep infected animals from farm workers and vice versa.

Swine flu has killed at least 2,500 people worldwide. However, most cases of the virus are relatively mild.

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