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Migratory birds might take birdflu to US soon

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Mar 21 (UNI) The Bush administration warned today that the US is likely to get its first case of bird flu this year as avian flu infected birds could arrive here soon.

Accordingly, massive testing of migratory birds to detect any that might be carrying the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus has been stepped up by the government wildlife and public health officials.

According to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, US authorities have tested about 16,000 migratory birds for H5N1 since the disease first appeared in Hong Kong nine years ago, but they are vastly increasing their effort on the assumption that wild birds are the most likely way bird flu would enter the United States for the first time and it could only be a matter of time before this happens.

''It is increasingly likely that we will detect the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian flu in birds within the U S borders, possibly as early as this year,'' said Gale Norton.

The United States has enhanced its strategy for detecting if a highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) enters the US.

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