March 17, 2010

Bird Flu Discovered In Romanian Chickens

The first European case of bird flu in over a year was discovered Monday at a Romanian poultry farm, the European Commission reported.

The outbreak was discovered at a facility in Tulcea County near the Ukrainian border, a statement released by the organization on Tuesday reveals. As a result, all poultry on the infected farm were destroyed and a two-mile zone of protection was established by security personnel.

"The presence of the virus was confirmed on two hens that were found dead on a small private farm," Romanian Sanitary and Veterinary Authority spokesperson Raul Balogh told AFP on Tuesday, adding that "no other case has been discovered since" then.

The bird flu, otherwise known as avian influenza, is a highly contagious disease that can be passed from birds to other mammals, including humans. The H5N1 strain was discovered in Romania, where more than a million poultry had to be slaughtered during 2005 and 2006 outbreaks.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 300 people worldwide have died of avian flu since 2003, though it is believed that the H5N1 strain is difficult for a person to become infected with.

In March 2009, the bird flu was discovered in a wild duck that had been shot in southern Germany, near Starnberg. That was the last confirmed case of avian influenza in Europe prior to Monday's occurrence, though more than 100,000 chickens and 200,000 eggs had to be destroyed at the Kazi Farms complex in Bangladesh after a outbreak of H5N1 was discovered at the facility over the weekend.

In cases where humans are infected with the H5N1 virus, symptoms include coughing, Diarrhea, Difficulty breathing, fever, headache, muscle aches, runny nose, and sore throat. Treatment often times involved the use of antiviral medication. A vaccine to combat H5N1 has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for use in the event of a large-scale outbreak.


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