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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hong Kong : Mutant bird flu in poultry delivered on wild wings

Via The Standard :

" The new mutant strain of bird flu predominant in the mainland, Vietnam and Europe - and which also infected a local woman last year - was introduced by wild birds, an expert said.

University of Hong Kong microbiologist Malik Peiris said this is the second time that wild birds introduced the dreaded H5N1, which has wiped out poultry in several countries since re- emerging in 2003, and killed 58 percent of humans infected.

The new strain of H5N1 was found in the territory in 2008, Peiris said.

"We reported that this virus is probably spread by wild birds, and sure enough [it was]. Unfortunately it is now causing outbreaks in Japan, in Vietnam and all the way up to Europe."

This is the second time bird flu has been introduced by wild birds to domestic poultry. "But once it gets into the poultry the maintenance of the virus is by the poultry trade," Peiris said.

The first time was during the Qinghai Lake outbreak of 2005 that killed thousands of wild birds."

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