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H1N1 Flu in Turkeys May Spread
Date:8/27/2009

Poultry connection strengthens global H1N1 pandemic

ROME and WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The detection of an H1N1 virus in turkeys in Chile raises concern that poultry farms elsewhere in the world could also become infected with the pandemic flu virus currently circulating in humans, FAO said today.

Chilean authorities reported on 20 August that the pandemic H1N1/2009 virus was present in turkeys in two farms near the seaport of Valparaiso, Chile. The flu strain found in the poultry flocks is identical to the H1N1/2009 pandemic strain currently circulating among human populations around the world.

No threat to humans

However, the discovery of the virus in turkeys does not pose any immediate threat to human health and turkey meat can still be sold commercially following veterinary inspection and hygienic processing.

"The reaction of the Chilean authorities to the discovery of H1N1 in turkeys -- namely prompt reporting to international organizations, establishing a temporary quarantine, and the decision to allow infected birds to recover rather than culling them -- is scientifically sound," said FAO's interim Chief Veterinary Officer, Juan Lubroth.

"Once the sick birds have recovered, safe production and processing can continue. They do not pose a threat to the food chain," said Lubroth.

Disease monitoring

The current H1N1 virus strain is a mixture of human, pig and bird genes and has proved to be very contagious but no more deadly than common seasonal flu viruses. However, it could theoretically become more dangerous if it adds virulence by combining with H5N1, commonly known as avian flu, which is far more deadly but harder to pass along among humans.

"Chile does not have H5N1 flu. In Sou
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SOURCE Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
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