No significant change in bird flu virus
Tests on avian influenza virus sequences in Indonesia
indicate that the virus is not mutating towards a more virulent strain that
could attack humans and set off a pandemic.
Indonesia has been facing a major epidemic of avian influenza in poultry
since late 2003, and the disease has become endemic in many areas of the
country. Currently, a number of campaigns are underway in Indonesia in order to
increase public awareness and encourage early disease reporting and
investigation with prompt diagnosis and response.
Indonesia recently dispatched 91 virus isolates to the OIE/FAO reference
laboratory in Australia. A number of virus isolates collected from April to
September 2006 will be shipped at the end of this month for further
characterisation, a process which enables close tracking of any mutation in a
virus. Such mutations could provide early warning of a possible human pandemic
and allow for the development of human vaccines.
, a joint FAO and OIE network of reference, and animal
and human health laboratories, issued a statement in August, calling on
scientists, international organisations and countries to share
virus strains and sequences
in an effort to speed up control of the spread of H5N1 avian influenza.
Image courtesy of 3dscience.com
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