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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

China : Virus in Chinese ducks could infect humans

Article from UPI :

" Ducks, an important item in Chinese cuisine, have been felled by a new virus threatening Chinese duck farms, agricultural officials in that country say.

Last year Chinese farmers noticed their prized birds were producing fewer eggs than usual, and egg production plummeted by as much as 90 percent in some flocks. Ducks were waddling about awkwardly, their coordination hampered, and eating less than usual. Some died within days.

By the end of the year some 4.4 million ducks in the eastern provinces of Fujian, Shandong and Zhejiang, where duck farming is common, had caught the mysterious illness, AAAS reported Tuesday.

Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing analyzed the affected animals and discovered an aggressive new flavivirus, a class of viruses that includes those that cause yellow and dengue fevers.

It was the first flavivirus ever identified in ducks.

In addition to potentially affecting Chinese duck farming and the economy that depends on it, the flavivirus could put humans at risk, researchers said."

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