Swine flu seen in Chile turkeys

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Chile, Aug 22: Swine flu, the pandemic has now been detected among the turkeys in Chile although no deaths have been reported so far.

Animal-health and flu experts from United Nations have confirmed that despite the infection turkey meat still remains safe.

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Chile's health ministry has ordered quarantine on Friday, Aug 22 outside Valparaiso and the infected birds are confined to closed buildings.

So far, the virus — a mixture of human, pig and bird genes — has proved to be very contagious but no more deadly than common seasonal flu.

However, virus experts fear a more dangerous and easily transmitted strain could emerge if it combines again with avian flu, which is far more deadly but tougher to pass along.

Sopraval , the farms' owner cautioned the agriculture ministry after egg production dropped at the farms this month. The initial tests on four samples confirmed a match with the subtype A/H1N1 2009.

"What the turkeys have is the human virus — there is no mutation at all," said Deputy Health Minister Jeannette Vega.

Dr. Juan Lubroth, the head of infectious diseases for FAO in Rome said that the situation was not that dismal.

"My understanding is that with the ones that were sick, it was a very mild disease," Lubroth said. "It's significant in that we don't need to recommend any drastic measures, as far as culling the population of turkeys. Let them go through their illness and recover — seven to 10 days — and if they are sound and healthy, they could enter the food chain."

In Chile already the virus has affected 12,000 people and killed 128.

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