Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Bureau seeks to map avian flu strains

Staff writer, with CNA

Following the nation’s first reported case of H6N1 avian influenza infection in humans, any confirmed cases of subtypes of H6 viruses are to be analyzed to help researchers understand possible mutations, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said yesterday.

The bureau already has a monitoring system that systematically tests animals that are more likely to be infected by avian influenza viruses, which include migrant birds and domestic poultry.

At least 25,000 tests are conducted every year, according to the bureau. In addition, the monitoring system has screening in place for the H6 subtype of the avian influenza virus, the bureau said.

The bureau is to collaborate on the analysis with the Animal Health Research Institute and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If any H6 subtype cases are detected at poultry farms it will use the results to create a database to help with future disease prevention measures.

A 20-year-old woman from central Taiwan was hospitalized on May 8 after contracting the H6N1 avian influenza virus and developing symptoms of mild pneumonia, a Department of Health official said on Friday.

She was the nation’s first reported human infection by the flu strain.

The hospital could not classify the subtype of avian influenza found in the woman’s respiratory specimen, so it reported the case to the CDC on May 20, according to a statement on the centers’ Web site.

Genome sequencing by the Centers for Disease Control later confirmed that the virus was a novel avian-origin H6N1 virus.

The woman was discharged from hospital on May 11 after recovering from her illness, the CDC said.

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