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Bird flu discovered in Greece

作者:田襁    发布时间:2019-03-02 12:10:03    

By NewScientist.com staff and AFP Bird flu virus has been found in Greece, officials revealed on Monday night. However, it is not yet known whether it is the deadly H5N1 strain. Scientists confirmed on Saturday that the H5N1 virus – killer of more than 60 people in Asia, and which appears to have been carried west by migratory birds – had been detected in southeast Romania’s Danube delta region. On Friday, it had been confirmed to be in northwest Turkey. On Monday afternoon, the WHO warned that the deadly virus might spread to more and more countries. The Greek agriculture ministry says that the H5 bird flu – to which the deadly H5N1 strain belongs – has been found in a turkey on the Aegean island of Chios near the Turkish coast. If further tests determine it is H5N1, Greece will be the first European Union country to be affected. Greek agriculture minister Evangelos Bassiakos says experts will need “seven or eight days” to determine whether the virus is the H5N1 strain. The European Commission says that it is planning to ban the export of live birds and bird-related products from the Chios area, if test results due on Tuesday confirm the presence of the H5 strain there. The commission also called for tests to be carried out quickly after four dead starlings were found in Croatia. Bernard Dus Ganter, regional World Health Organization adviser on infectious diseases, says the virus’s possible spread to Greece, after Russia and Kazakhstan, Turkey and Romania, was predictable. “I expect that other countries will be affected – such as Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Cyprus – because they are on the flight path of migratory birds,” he says. Scientists fear that deadly H5N1 may mutate, possibly acquiring genes from the human flu virus which could make it spread easily amongst humans. If this happens, the new strain could kill millions worldwide, as in the influenza pandemic of 1918. But Dus Ganter stresses there is no reason to panic, and that “worst-case scenarios can be avoided” through coordinated planning. This includes governments stockpiling the anti-viral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu),

 

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