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Anti-Bird flu surveillance stepped-up in Britain

As a new strain of bird flu virus has been detected in Asia, the British government announced the increase in patrolling //in several more sites for any evidence of bird flu.

The death of any water birds in U.K.’s 304 nature reserves, reservoirs and parks will be brought to the notice of the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs. An additional 1,200 sq Kms area will be brought under surveillance.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong have detected a new strain of bird flu virus that is resistant to the current vaccines. This strain is responsible for the flu outbreak in many provinces of China and has spread to Hong Kong, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.

This new strain has been named H5N1 Fujian-like to differentiate it from the previous variants in Hong Kong and Vietnam.

This study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to the study, though human infection from this strain has been reported, there is no evidence of it transmitting from person to person. The World Health Organisation in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Health is developing a new vaccine for this strain.

Just one case of H5N1 bird flu virus, detected in a dead swan in Cellardyke, Scotland, has been reported so far in the U.K. under the present surveillance programme.

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