First case of bird flu confirmed in Greece CTV.ca News Staff
I agree with Kitchen Witch…who and what do you believe in the media release claims, and just where will this end up!
Authorities in Greece have confirmed the country’s first case of bird flu.
Greece’s agriculture minister says the H5 virus was detected in one of nine turkeys tested on a farm on the Aegean island of Oinouses, off Chios.
Neighbouring Turkey, only a few miles away, has also detected cases of bird flu.
The agriculture ministry said the turkey came from a small private poultry farm of about 20 turkeys.
Tests are being conducted for the possible presence of the deadly H5N1 strain – the virus that health experts fear could mutate into a human form and cause a flu pandemic.
The reports come after tests confirmed the presence of H5N1 in Romania and Turkey; however no human cases have been reported in either country.
Romanian officials say the outbreak is under control, but further tests today revealed twelve swans had tested positive for bird flu in the Danube Delta. It is not yet known whether the strain is the deadly H5N1.
Meanwhile, while World Health Organization officials cannot yet predict whether avian flu could mutate into a form that could easily spread among humans, they say there is little risk to the public right now.
“There’s no way to predict if this is going to mutate or when it’s going to mutate, but for the moment it remains something that’s of low risk to the public – except for those people in contact with diseased birds,” said Maria Cheng of the World Health Organization, appearing on CTV’s Canada AM.
Health officials believe those who come into close contact with bird droppings or who are engaged in the preparation of birds for food could be exposed to the H5N1 virus.
However, Cheng notes: “We haven’t seen any indication that the strain has mutated or evolved to become more adept at human transmission so that is reassuring.”
WHO is urging all countries to develop a pandemic preparedness plan before it is too late, Cheng said.
Federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh told CTV’s Question Period that there is a strong possibility bird flu would reach Canada if it were to spread among humans.
“I think that it would be next to impossible to prevent this from spreading (to Canada) if it does mutate – if it does become easily transmissible from human to human, or birds to humans,” the minister said in a show that aired Sunday.
He added that Canada is well prepared for such a pandemic, relative to other nations, and that America is seeking Canada’s advice for its own outbreak preparations.
“The (WHO) has said we are by far the best prepared country in the world,” Dosanjh said.
“But that doesn’t mean we’re fully prepared. Nobody ever is fully prepared. That’s why we continue to work hard in terms of working with the hospitals, and working with the chief public health officers of the provinces.”
H5N1 has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, along with millions of birds.