- (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