Pigs in China's Hunan Province Test Positive for Bird Flu
Chinese officials revealed that pigs have tested positive for bird flu in Xiangtan County, Hunan Province, where a bird epidemic is raging and one human death, possibly from bird flu, has already occurred, reported Phoenix TV on November 10. Hunan Province Bureau of Agriculture officials tested samples of pig oral secretions to assess the possibility that bird flu was responsible for the death of a 12-year old girl on October 17th. The girl was cremated the same day that she died, and her ill brother is still in quarantine.
The deputy head of the Bureau of Agriculture in Hunan Province, Ou Daiming, said that this was the first time pigs have been tested for the virus in Hunan Province. The results have already been reported to the Ministry of Health, and random pig testing is taking place in nearby villages. So far, officials say they have found no other inflected pigs.
Zoology experts at Hunan Agriculture University say that since pig genes are similar to human genes, and that viruses of many animals can live and mutate in pigs, it becomes dangerous for humans once the virus has been found its way to pigs. Therefore, not only poultry, but pigs too, should be closely monitored in epidemic areas.
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