Aug 7, 2009 | 2
Thousands of turkeys in Minnesota have been quarantined after a strain of avian flu (H7N9) was found at a poultry farm there. Experts say that the strain is markedly less virulent than H5N1, the Asian strain that has caused more than 250 human deaths and millions of poultry deaths.
"It would appear that it's a pretty mild form of the avian influenza virus on this premise," Dave Lauer, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health's assistant director told Minnesota Public Radio. The station reports, however, that it's not unusual for more than a dozen cases of the low-pathogenic virus to be reported on commercial poultry farms in any given year.
Workers at the farm are, however, being monitored, as the strain has been known to cause some symptoms in humans, including minor respiratory problems and eye irritation. All turkeys within three miles of those infected will continued to be tested for the next six weeks, according to an Associated Press report. And if they are well after that, they may still go on to become dinner. An analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last year found that the risk of people coming down with avian influenza from consuming poultry is slim, but cooking the meat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit is a sure way to kill the virus.
Apr 8, 2009 | 1
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has green-lighted a test that can quickly determine whether a person is infected with deadly avian flu.
The FDA yesterday approved the AVantage A/H5N1 Flu Test, made by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Arbor Vita Corp. The nose or throat swab can detect the infection in less than 40 minutes, the agency said; previous diagnostic tests took up to four hours.
"This test is an important tool to help quickly identify emerging influenza A/H5N1 infections and reduce exposure to large populations," Daniel Schultz, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement. "The clearance of this test represents a major step toward protecting the public from the threat of pandemic flu."
Mar 2, 2009 | 2
We've known since January that most of the flu circulating this season is resistant to Tamiflu, an antiviral drug typically used against the infection. What remained a mystery was whether the resistant flu strain made people sicker than forms that respond to the treatment — and why the resistant strain surged this year, a worry for public health officials who stockpiled Tamiflu in the event of a flu pandemic stoked by avian influenza.
A study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that Tamiflu-resistant flu does not make people any more or less sick. But researchers say they're still in dark as to why Tamiflu-resistant infections are on the rise. A whopping 98 percent of this year's circulating H1N1 flu strains are immune to Tamiflu, compared with only 12 percent during the 2007-2008 flu season.
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