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Ciptapangan Visitor
‘Low strain’ Bird Flu found in TT
posted by admin on 22/08/06

Saturday, August 19 2006

THE AGRICULTURE Ministry yesterday announced that a “low pathogenic strain” of Avian Influenza (AI) has been detected at a farm in Central Trinidad. The Ministry said it should not be confused with the H5N1 strain of AI which is responsible for deaths in Asia and Western Europe.

The Ministry said the low pathogenic strain of AI (LPAI) “does not pose a significant threat to human beings.”

In a release issued after 5 pm yesterday, the Ministry said the strain was discovered during routine surveillance for the presence of the H5N1 strain of AI.

It said LPAI is found in birds populations throughout the world and its occurrence in TT “is not surprising.” The disease does not have severe symptoms which is why it is deemed a low pathogen.

“It does have some agricultural significance as it may cause deaths in poultry, although the impact on the country’s poultry industry is expected to be negligible,” the release stated.

Samples have been sent to the United Kingdom for verification and the Ministry said measures are being implemented to contain the spread of the disease.

The Ministry is taking a “positive” view of the identification of LPAI saying it provided proof that measures implemented to detect Bird Flu were effective. No information was available regarding culling of birds at the farm, which was not identified.

Bird deaths at a farm in Cumuto earlier this year caused chicken sales to plummet across the country as people feared contracting H5N1. The deaths were linked to aspergillosis — a fungal infection, and thousands of birds had to be culled at Cumuto.

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