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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Specter of H5N1 Rattles Europe
13 October 2005 (All day)
What had been feared for several days now has been confirmed: The deadly H5N1 avian influenza strain has reached Europe. Today, tests at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, United Kingdom, confirmed that an outbreak that killed 1800 turkeys at a farm in Turkey was caused by the feared strain, which, besides decimating the Asian poultry industry, has infected at least 117 people in Asia and killed 60. Meanwhile, samples from dead ducks recently found in Romania have been shown to contain an H5 virus as well; further tests are under way, but chances are "high" that H5N1 is the culprit in that country as well, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris said today.
H5N1 has been spreading throughout Asia since late 2003 and has recently caused outbreaks in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia (ScienceNOW, 12 August). It's not quite clear how the virus moves, but some researchers believe it may use migratory birds for its long-haul trips.
To avoid spread of the virus, the Netherlands decided in August to keep poultry inside during the current bird-migration season, a measure it hoped would be adopted by the European Union. At the time, most member states rejected the proposal, because they believed there was no hard evidence of migratory birds' role. Today, the European Commission announced that it would call together flu scientists and bird-migration experts on Friday to discuss the risk anew. The E.U. banned the import of live birds, poultry, and feathers from Romania today, as it had done for Turkey on Monday.
In further worrying news, Iranian officials notified OIE yesterday of an outbreak of an unknown disease that has killed more than 3000 ducks in the West Azerbaijan province since 2 October. The cause of the outbreak has not been identified.
OIE press release