Bird Flu :: WHO updates on UK’s H7N2 Avian influenza

Following the confirmation on 25 May 2007 by Health Authorities of the United Kingdom, of influenza A/H7N2 virus infection in four individuals (two in Wales and two in north-west England) exposed to infected poultry at smallholding, Corwen Farm, Conwy, Wales, the National Public Health Service (NPHS) for Wales is continuing with the investigation of the incident and with the implementation of public health measures.

Bird flu is a viral respiratory disease, mainly of birds including poultry and waterbirds but also transmissible to humans. Symptoms in humans include fever, sore throat, cough, headache, and muscle aches. Severe infections can result in life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and acute respiratory illness.

H7N2 is a subtype of the species Influenza A virus (sometimes called bird flu virus). One person in New York in 2003 and one person in Virginia in 2002 were found to have serologic evidence of infection with H7N2. Both fully recovered.

In February 2004, an outbreak of low pathogenic avian influena (LPAI) A (H7N2) was reported on 2 chicken farms in Delaware and in four live bird markets in New Jersey supplied by the farms. In March 2004, surveillance samples from a flock of chickens in Maryland tested positive for LPAI H7N2. It is likely that this was the same strain. [1]

A CDC study following the 2002 outbreaks of H7N2 in commercial poultry farms in western Virginia concluded:

An important factor contributing to rapid early spread of AI virus infection among commercial poultry farms during this outbreak was disposal of dead birds via rendering off-farm. Because of the highly infectious nature of AI virus and the devastating economic impact of outbreaks, poultry farmers should consider carcass disposal techniques that do not require off-farm movement, such as burial, composting, or incineration.

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