Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bird Flu At The Bahamas - USA Next?

From AFP -
"Bahamas bird deaths raise fears avian flu has reached Americas"
Mar 02 2:27 AM US/Eastern

Experts probed the unusual deaths of 14 birds in the southern Bahamas amid fears the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus strain had reached the Americas.

In Europe, meanwhile, Swiss officials confirmed the Alpine nation's first case of the disease's highly pathogenic strain that can kill humans, while the world's top health agencies played down the death of a German cat from H5N1.

Ten flamingos, three roseate spoonbills and a cormorant were found dead in a wildlife reserve on the Bahamas island of Great Inagua, which has a population of about 50,000 flamingos and a large lake popular with migrating birds.

"It is definitely an unusually high number, normally you don't find wild birds dropping out and dying," said Eric Carey, director of Parks and Science for the Bahamas National Trust, which runs the Inagua National Park.

He said, however "any number of things," including poisoning or weather, could have caused the deaths.

"We remain optimistic it is related to one of these factors rather than the anticipated speculation of bird flu or some other terrible disease," he told AFP.
In Paris, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which monitors the veterinary side of the bird flu scare, noted that in 2004 more than 40 tigers died at a zoo in Bangkok after being fed H5N1-infected chickens, and there had also been cases of infection among domestic cats in Asia.

But it stressed that so far avian flu "has fundamentally remained a bird disease."

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UPDATE - No flu found ... for now (from - The Bahamas News. Service for global professionals. Constantly updated news and information about The Bahamas).

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