World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Healthy Ducks May Be Spreading Bird Flu

Apparently Healthy Ducks May Pose New Risk In Spread Of Deadly Bird Flu - UN

Domestic ducks without symptoms may be acting as a silent reservoir for a potentially deadly strain of bird flu that could be transmitted to humans, United Nations agencies warned today.

The joint statement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO) and World Health Organization WHO) and the inter-governmental World Organization for Animal Health OIE) is the latest in a series of warnings on highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1), which has already killed some two dozen people in Asia this year.

In August, the Geneva-based WHO warned that infected poultry could transmit the virus to humans, potentially triggering a human pandemic.

The three agencies today said ducks may have “acquired an important new role in the transmission of the virus to other poultry and, possibly, to humans as well.” They called for urgent measures to address this role and to prevent further human cases.

A new laboratory study found that quantities of virus excreted by healthy-looking ducks could approach those released by visibly diseased chickens without giving any warning signal that might alert health officials and the public to take precautions, according to the statement.

The study shows that domestic ducks infected with several H5N1 viruses isolated in 2004 are shedding more virus for longer periods when compared with infections caused by viruses from 2003 and, as before, are doing so without showing any sign of illness.

The agencies called on affected countries to include possible exposure to apparently healthy ducks when assessing the risk of infection in humans and to advise people living in affected areas on handling. Protective measures include scalding poultry before plucking, and treating water that has been in contact with ducks if it is intended for human consumption.

Bird flu outbreaks this year have been reported in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam. More than 100 million birds have been culled in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Euro-Med Monitor: Sudan Military Coup Shatters Democratic Path, Threatens With Authoritarian Rule Return
The Sudanese army's seizure of power in the country diminishes the hard-won human rights and civil gains achieved after the December 2018 protests, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said today in a statement...More>>

Weather: Pacific Likely To Experience Double Dip La Niña Episode

The Pacific is likely to experience a rare occurrence of what is called a double dip La Niña in the coming months, Climate models and predictions tools used by Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMHSs) show...

CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>

Pacific: Young Climate Leaders Call For Urgent Climate Action Ahead Of COP26

Eight Pacific Young Climate Leaders shared their experiences of climate resilience and activism in an inaugural dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna on 21 October 2021... More>>

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>