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VETERINARIANS WARN OF PANDEMIC AS AVIAN FLU JUMPS TO MORE SPECIES
Agri-Pulse reports:

The dairy industry needs to put aside "cultural and operational differences" and begin broadly testing cows and workers for highly pathogenic avian influenza, three veterinarians say in an opinion piece in Scientific American that warns of devastating consequences without quick action.

"Turkey and egg-laying farms are in peril, as bovine flu, which is caused by a specific strain of H5N1 ..., has infected these birds at alarming rates," they say in the magazine. "We have lost more than 13 million laying hens in the U.S. in the past two months. And if we do not control this virus, it will soon be too difficult or expensive to produce eggs or raise turkeys."

More testing and monitoring is necessary, say vets Carol Cardona, Kay Russo and Michelle Kromm.

"With the virus crossing species barriers, the specter of human exposure and emergence of a human-adapted strain is rapidly intensifying," they write. "This outbreak in dairy cows has the potential to spiral into a human epidemic or even a catastrophic pandemic--the signals of which we may already be seeing."

To read the veterinarians' article click here.


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