Sunday, February 19, 2006

Deadly bird flu widens its reach

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has continued to spread, with India, France and Iran becoming the latest countries to confirm the presence of the virus.

In western India the strain was found among thousands of dead chickens at a farm, and health officials are testing eight people for possible infection.

France and Iran also reported their first H5N1 cases, following tests carried out on dead birds.

The strain has killed at least 90 people since it emerged in 2003.

It can be caught by humans who handle infected birds, but it is not yet known to have been passed between people.

Scientists have warned that if the virus mutates it could create a pandemic that would kill millions of people.

In India, H5N1 was found among the carcasses of about 50,000 chickens from a farm in western Maharashtra state.
Read full story via bbc news