Monday, March 06, 2006

Bird Flu detected in cats in Austria

Austria says it has detected the potentially lethal strain of bird flu in several live cats.
The discovery, in the southern state of Styria, follows the detection of H5N1 in a dead cat in Germany last week.

That case was thought to be the first example outside Asia of the virus crossing species to infect a mammal.

However, it is unlikely the virus is spreading between cats and chances are negligible they may pass it to humans, says the BBC's Ania Lichtarowicz.

The virus has also spread for the first time to Poland, while Serbia says it has detected the strain in dead swans and has sent samples for further tests.

The H5N1 virus can be caught by humans who handle infected birds, but it is not yet known to have passed from one person to another.

However, experts fear the virus could mutate to gain this ability, and in its new form trigger a flu pandemic that could kill millions.
Read full article via bbc news


Bird Flu -Around the world alerts

Much of the world is now on alert for outbreaks of the lethal strain of bird flu that is fast becoming a major avian killer around the world.

Millions of birds have died or been destroyed as a result of outbreaks in dozens of countries since the H5N1 strain emerged in South-East Asia in 2003, before spreading to Europe and Africa.

The number of cases among humans is also rising, and by mid-February 2006, more than 90 people had died from bird flu - a mortality rate of just over 50%.

The first human deaths from H5N1 outside Asia, in January 2006, heightened concern, but the World Health Organization pointed out that the deaths, in Turkey, were among people who had been in close contact with infected birds, and were not passed from human to human.
Read full article via bbc news