Pig farming to be vulnerable to avian flu
| 01.03.2006 | 16:53:11 | Views: 2496 | ID:
January 3 '06: In addition to the human and poultry threat the asian bird flu poses, pig farming in the US could be greatly affected according to health experts, Reuters has reported.
Veterinary and health experts have said pigs are susceptible to the disease and that it is important for pig farmers to protect their animals because, "Bird flu can readily infect a swine species and for the most part, from swine on into humans," John El-Attrache, a veterinary pathologist with Texas A&M University.There is no evidence that pigs have spread the disease, experts say. But because pigs have "receptors for both avian and mammalian viruses," Reuters reported, "Some fear pigs could act as a 'mixing bowl' - especially on farms where they coexist with humans and poultry - creating a new virus that spreads from person to person." And while farmers in Asia, Europe and US prepare for bird flu outbreaks, Romanian officials have said there are reports of domestic flocks being infected with the H5N1 virus as close as 50 miles to the capital Bucharest. Reuters found that domestic birds on farms near the capital have been confirmed to have the virus as early as October of 2005 but there are still no European cases of human infection. Since the outbreak of the disease, 73 people have died while the virus has spread to domestic and wild flocks of birds in Asia and Europe.
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