Source Pravda.Ru

UK confirms deadly bird flu case in quarantine

Britain has confirmed that the parrot died in quarantine was killed by bird flu virus that was the same deadly strain that has devastated poultry stocks and killed more than 60 people in Asia.

It is the first confirmed case of bird flu in Britain since 1992, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

The parrot, from Suriname in South America, was almost certainly infected with the deadly H5N1 avian flu by a bird from Taiwan, Britain's chief veterinary officer, Dr. Debby Reynolds, said.

The two separate bird consignments were kept in the same quarantine compound in Essex, sharing the same "airspace."

Reynolds said it was likely that the parrot, from Suriname, in South America, had contracted the disease in the UK.

Asked if she considered placing the birds together to be a mistake, she told the UK's Press Association: "The process of putting consignments together is something that we obviously need to review," reports CNN.

According to CBS, the virus is being spread by migrating wild birds and has recently been found in birds in Russia, Turkey and Romania, spurring efforts around the globe to contain it.

While H5N1 is easily transmitted between birds, it is hard for humans to contract. But experts fear it could mutate into a form of flu that is easily transmitted between humans and cause a pandemic that could kill millions.

Debby Reynolds, DEFRA's chief veterinarian, said the parrot was likely infected with the virus while it was in quarantine with birds from Taiwan. Tests conducted on the Taiwanese birds that had died were inconclusive, the department said.

DEFRA said the virus most closely matched a strain found in ducks in China earlier this year but was not very similar to strains discovered in Romania and Turkey. The genetic makeup of the virus changes slightly as it spreads, and scientists use such tests to track its migration across the world.

P.T.

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