Bird flu in jungle cats – Vietnam – 08/28/2005

  • November 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm #964

    I think we can no longer be surprised.
    Anyone interested in an informal get-together in a central location?
    The interesting thing is that it’s a new species,” he
    said. “It continues to surprise.”
    Aug 26, 11:23 PM EDT
    Bird flu kills 3 rare civets in Vietnam
    AP Medical Writer

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Bird flu has killed three rare cat-like
    civets born in captivity at a national park in Vietnam, marking the
    first time the virus has been reported in the species, officials
    said Friday.

    “It’s another good example of how dangerous this thing is,” said
    Scott Roberton, technical adviser for the civet conservation program
    at the Cuc Phuong National Park, about 75 miles south of Hanoi, the

    The Owston civet cats died in late June and samples sent to a lab in
    Hong Kong came back positive for the H5N1 virus, said Roberton. The
    U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization
    for Animal Health in Hanoi confirmed the results.

    He said most other animals at the park have been tested – including
    chickens, rats and other birds – but none has tested positive for
    the virus.

    Scientists suspect that SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome,
    which killed nearly 800 people worldwide in 2003, was passed to
    humans from civets and other mongoose-like animals sold in live food
    markets in southern China.

    Civets are found throughout Africa and Asia and only distantly
    related to the common house cat. Members of the Viverridae family,
    civets have a pointy, striped nose like a weasel, with a long, cat-
    like body and tail. Most are between five and 11 pounds, but can
    weigh up to about 25 pounds.

    An epidemiologist for the WHO in Hanoi, Peter Horby said the
    development would not make people more susceptible to bird flu
    because humans have less contact with civets than poultry.
    “The interesting thing is that it’s a new species,” he said. “It
    continues to surprise.”
    Bird flu had previously been found in other mammals, such as cats
    and tigers.

    The virus has killed 61 people regionwide, with the bulk of those
    deaths in Vietnam. Health experts have repeatedly warned that the
    world is due for an influenza pandemic that could kill millions and
    cripple economies. They fear the bird flu virus will mutate and
    become easily transmitted from person to person. So far, most human
    cases have been traced back to contact with poultry.
    Owston civets are globally threatened and found in southern China,
    Vietnam and Laos. The civet program was started at the park in the
    mid-1990s after four animals were seized from a smuggling operation,
    park manager Do Van Lap.

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