Cameroon 4th African
Country With Bird Flu

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
(Reuters) -- Cameroon became the 4th country in Africa to report an outbreak of bird flu, after the disease was detected in young chicks in the West African country's northernmost province.
"The 1st case of bird flu has been detected in the Far North province," the government said in a statement read on state radio.
"The case was detected after laboratory tests conducted on dead chicks in Maroua (in Far North province) were positive," it added.
The statement did not specify whether the outbreak was of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza strain, which has already been confirmed in domestic poultry flocks in Nigeria, Niger and Egypt.
Cameroon's Far North province borders to the west with Nigeria, where Africa's 1st outbreak of H5N1 bird flu was confirmed on 8 Feb 2006.
As the disease spreads in Africa, international experts are concerned that the world's poorest continent, already saddled with HIV/AIDS and malaria, is ill-equipped to combat this new health threat.
Suspected poultry outbreaks in Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia and Sierra Leone are already under investigation.
Health officials are concerned that infection across Africa, where millions live in close contact with poultry in their homes and backyards, will increase the probability that the virus will mutate to become transmissible between humans.
(On the east, the affected province borders Chad, see map at action=showmap&country=129_0_4&language=1
In another newswire, kindly forwarded by Joe Dudley, the infected species in northern Cameroon was, reportedly, a duck; see
Official firsthand data and final laboratory results are anticipated. - Mod.AS)



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