Monday, August 07, 2006

Vietnam kills wild storks to prevent bird flu spread

Vietnam kills wild storks to prevent bird flu spread
05 Aug 2006 03:54:14 GMT
Source: Reuters

HANOI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Vietnam's animal health workers have killed 53 wild storks at a theme park in Ho Chi Minh City after random tests showed two of the birds carried an avian influenza virus strain, officials said on Saturday.

An official at the park said the findings of the H5 component, part of the H5N1 poultry virus, led to the slaughter of the birds even though they all appeared healthy.

Wild birds are natural hosts of bird flu viruses and often don't show symptoms but can pass the viruses to poultry. H5N1 can kill chickens within 24 hours of infection.

H5N1 is an influenza type-A virus that has killed 42 people in Vietnam since late 2003, but there have been no human infections detected in the Southeast Asian country this year.

The latest outbreaks in Laos and Thailand, where bird flu killed a teenager in late July, fanned fears that the virus known to have killed 134 people worldwide was flaring up again in Asia.

Vietnamese officials say a failure to control waterfowl, which can be silent carriers of bird flu, made the country vulnerable to new outbreaks and wild birds believed to carry H5N1 would soon migrate from the north, raising the risk of infection.

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