Avian flu viruses detected

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The bird flu virus H5N1 was detected in a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. As a precaution, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, all 17,000 ducks and geese are killed.

(13.11.2010) The avian influenza virus H5 was detected in a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. As a result, all 17,000 ducks and geese were killed to prevent them from spreading to other animals. A hastily convened working group from the Ministry of Agriculture in Schwerin is currently advising on how to proceed. The flu viruses are suspected of mutating.

Bird flu virus detected in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
In the Parchim district, the avian influenza virus H5 was found in some animals in a fattening and poultry farm. For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture in the affected company ordered the mass killing of a total of 17,000 ducks and geese to prevent further spread to other animal populations, as the Ministry announced on Friday.

Influenza could become highly contagious
The flu has the dangerous property of developing from a non or minor illness to a highly contagious illness. "This is exactly where the danger lies," explained state veterinarian Maria Dayen. Now a special company is supposed to kill all animals of the company in compliance with the disease protection guidelines. The carcasses are then burned or otherwise rendered harmless. However, the company is reimbursed from the so-called animal disease fund the financial value of the animals killed.

Restricted area established around the poultry farm
As the Parchim district administration informed, a restricted area of ​​one kilometer has been set up around the fattening farm. As it was said, the manufacturer voluntarily takes part in the national monitoring program for avian influenza (bird flu). This program was set up specifically to detect virus infections in good time. In the same routine test, influenza A antibodies of the H5 subtype were found in some animal blood samples. These findings suggest a corresponding infection. Although this form of the pathogen is harmless at first, mutations can further develop the pathogen and develop a high level of explosiveness for the health of animals and humans. The findings have already been confirmed by the State Office for Agriculture, Food Safety and Fisheries and by the Friedrich Loeffler Institute on the island of Riems as a national reference laboratory. So far, the presence of a highly pathogenic virus has been excluded. However, it is not the H5N1 virus, but the harmless H5N2 pathogen, which in itself is completely harmless to humans and even asymptomatic for animals.
Health risk for humans currently harmless
Most recently the public was startled by the spread of bird flu in 2006. Numerous wild birds and farm animals in Germany were infected with the H5N1 bird virus. After the initial panic, however, it could be stated that the avian influenza virus has only been sporadically transmitted to mammals and humans in recent years. However, if transmission occurred, the infection was often fatal.

Health experts and scientists around the world estimate the risk to humans of H5N1 infection to be extremely low. The infections primarily affected people who lived in intensive contact with the sick birds. This connection was found primarily in Asian countries. (sb)

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