Two People Infected with Bird Flu Virus in Wales

This latest infection is likely to drive public fear of the virus since this strain, H7N2, is thought to be less virulent that the deadly H5N1 and was presumed less likely to spread between species.

A further nine people are currently experiencing flu-like symptoms or conjunctivitis following contact with birds infected with the H7N2 strain, the Welsh Assembly Government swas quoted as saying.

Marion Lyons, lead consultant in communicable disease control for the National Public Health Service for Wales, said she believes the risk to the general public is low.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the source of the outbreak has confirmed that the 15 chickens believed to have infected the farm were purchased from Chelford Market, Cheshire.

The outbreak is the second of this year, and the first time the infection has passed to humans in the UK. In February, an outbreak H5N1 virus on a Suffolk farm, owned by Bernard Matthews, killed some 2,600 birds with another 159,000 being slaughtered. The strain was linked to an almost identical strain found in an outbreak in Hungary in January.

Since 2003, a total of 307 humans worldwide have been infected with the H5N1 virus, with 186 cases ending fatally, according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics published in May 2007.

U.S. officials have assured the public that there are no occurrences of the bird flu virus in the country but expect that an outbreak will happen. (Read latest ID article.)


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