Taiwan Confirms
Migratory Bird Flu
(Reuters) -- Taiwan has discovered low-pathogenic H7N3 and H5N2 strains of the avian flu in migratory bird droppings on the outskirts of the capital Taipei, the agriculture department said on Wednesday. Like the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed more than 70 people around Asia, the H7N3 strain can infect humans. But the H5N2 strain, which can be lethal for birds, is not dangerous to humans.
In regular monitoring of migratory birds, the viruses were detected in marshlands on the outskirts of the capital, the Council of Agriculture said in a statement. There are no poultry farms within a radius of 3 km (1.8 miles) of the droppings, so the council said there was no risk of broader infection, although it still urged nearby residents to be vigilant.
The council said many migratory birds fly to Taiwan on their southward journey during the cold winter months. This is the 3rd time Taiwan has discovered the H7N3 strain in 2005, after detecting the virus in November and previously in April.
An outbreak of the less virulent H5N2 strain of bird flu in Taiwan in 2004 led to the culling of hundreds of thousands of fowl. Taiwan has not experienced a major outbreak of H5N1. In October, the island found only its 2nd case of the deadly strain since 2003, in birds smuggled in a container ship from China.
The H7N3 strain, which can potentially be transmitted to humans, was first detected in turkeys in Britain in 1963 and made one of its last known appearances in poultry in Canada in April and May 2004, according to the World Health Organisation and World Organisation for Animal Health.



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