Friday, February 17, 2006

The Avian Flu Hits France

It didn't take long for France to go from warning its people about the Bird Flu to actually dealing with it on its own soil:

PARIS (Reuters) - Bird flu spread to France for the first time with the discovery on Friday that a dead duck had tested positive for the virus, although it was not yet clear the fowl was carrying the deadly H5N1 strain.

Amid reports the disease was spreading in fowl in Europe and the Middle East, the World Health Organization confirmed that an Iraqi who died in January was the country's second human bird flu victim.

Officials said the disease had infected chickens in Egypt for the first time, while Azerbaijan and Slovenia reported more cases of H5N1, which is transmissible to humans.

The H5N1 strain was probably present in a wild duck found in eastern France, according to test results.

The westward path of the H5N1 virus is something to take note of, especially for local governments and health organizations.