Flu strain not a threat to humans
by Alan Reed
Jul 09, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kentucky Commissioner for Public Health Dr. William Hacker said recently that the discovery of avian influenza at a Tyson Chicken production facility posed no threat to humans from exposure or consumption.

“This particular strain is no threat to humans. The public health world is not directly engaged with this disease,” said Hacker. “In the agricultural world, they are following this closely. They use the same sophisticated epidemiological research and tracking methods as we would for humans to ensure it does not spread.”

Hacker said that this particular strain of virus has been unknown to infect humans, though other types of viruses, differing in protein sequencing have been known to cross into other species. Though tracked in other parts of the world, the most recent species-crossing type of avian influenza has not been observed in the Western Hemisphere.

“We haven’t seen that strain in North America. For two years, we have expected it and developed procedures to deal with that potential threat,” Hacker said.

According to Hacker, avian influenza travels with migratory birds, jumping from wild fowl to domestic. “With a company like Tyson Foods, the concern is that this could infect thousands of chickens. They do not want to get the disease in their system. It may kill some birds, while others get sick. Companies do not want to see it in their investments in chickens and other fowl, like turkeys.”

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