Illinois ducks carrying bird flu
Wild ducks in Illinois have been found to be carrying a
bird flu virus, although initial tests indicate it is a low-pathogenic strain,
not the deadly H5N1, according to federal officials.
The samples were collected on 24 September in Fulton County as part of an
expanded wild bird monitoring programme involving the USDA and the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources.
Eleven samples were collected directly from the ducks. Of those samples, a
pool of five samples tested positive for H5 and were sent to USDA's National Veterinary
(NVSL) in Iowa for confirmatory testing. One of the
five samples screened by NVSL tested positive for both H5 and N1. The agencies
stressed that this discovery does not mean these ducks are infected with an H5N1
strain. It is possible that there could be two separate avian
viruses, one containing H5 and the other containing N1.
Confirmatory testing underway at NVSL will clarify whether one or more strains
of the virus are present, the specific subtype, as well as confirm the
pathogenicity. These results are expected within two to three weeks.
The agencies stressed that the expanded testing programme was likely to
uncover additional cases of bird flu, but that this was not cause for
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