Chile finds swine flu in turkeys
Chile detected the H1N1 swine flu virus in turkeys, authorities said, the first time the virus has been found outside humans and pigs, but said there was no indication the disease had spread to other parts of Chile.
The country's farming and livestock agency SAG said yesterday the flu outbreak had been controlled at the two farms 120 km west of the capital Santiago and notified the World Organization for Animal Health.
"We call on the public to consume turkey products with confidence," a SAG statement said. It added that laboratory results ruled out the presence of H5N1 or bird flu virus.
The Geneva-based World Health Organization declared H1N1 a full pandemic in June and the virus has now spread to some 180 countries, causing at least 1,462 laboratory-confirmed deaths. The WHO says the pandemic is unstoppable.
The H1N1 swine flu virus was first seen in March in Mexico and California. Experts say at least 1 million people have been infected in the United States alone.
Genetic tests show the virus appears to have originated in pigs but it is now spreading from human to human.
In Chile, the H1N1 flu virus has killed 128 people and infected 12,175 during the Southern Hemisphere's winter.
Chilean authorities said the farms near the port city of Valparaiso were placed under quarantine on August 13th as a precaution after turkey producers reported anomalies in the output of eggs. Later laboratory results confirmed the H1N1 virus infections.
Authorities did not say how many animals were infected but claimed there was no evidence the virus had spread to other parts of the country.
The head of the WHO, Margaret Chan, said this week that the world must remain on guard against the H1N1 flu, which has been mild so far but could become more serious as the northern hemisphere heads into winter.
Early reports of the "swine flu" prompted many countries to ban pork meat and products imports from North America. Most countries later lifted the bans after world animal health authorities said there was no evidence that animals played a role in the the spread of the virus.