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12 Jun 2013

Bird flu alert to the Vienna airport (, June 12 2013, edited)

[Source: Die Presse, full text in German (LINK). Automatic translation.]

Bird flu alert to the Vienna airport

11.06.2013 18:24 | | EVA WINROITHER (The Press)

A couple tried to smuggle into the country 60 exotic birds. At least one of the animals was infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. However, the authorities calm: There was no risk of infection.

Vienna. they have smelled the dogs. As a Czech couple last Thursday at 13.45 clock at Vienna's Schwechat airport was going through customs, the two sleuths have posted immediately.

The officers then made an unusual discovery. About 60 exotic birds were crammed into two suitcases. Only 23 of the animals alive, 37 were already dead The dead animals were used for post-mortem examination to age-Institute for Veterinary Disease brought to Mödling. The live animals were quarantined in the Vienna Zoo. Everything is routine so that is always handled when smuggling animals show up in Austria.

Monday night came in the matter, however, a turning point. At least one of the dead birds - it was paradise birds, mynahs, parrots Amadinen and bristle head - the H5N1 bird flu virus was detected.

The virus is deadly for the birds, as well as for people. However, it is not easily transmitted from animals to humans. From person to person H5N1, could not be transferred (see below).

In the detected virus is now but a particularly aggressive H5N1 strain. "This H5N1 strain first appeared in Europe," says Pamela Rendi-Wagner, head of section of the Department of Public Health in Gesundheitsministeirum. You can not exclude to 100 percent, therefore, that a transmission from human to human is possible. The danger they hold but "very low".

Those eight people who had direct contact with the birds, are currently being treated as a precaution anyway with the flu drug Tamiflu. Furthermore, they should in the next ten days at least twice a day and pay attention to measure fever flu symptoms.

This affects the border veterinary, customs officers and keepers at Schönbrunn. So far no one was ill. "What is a good sign, namely the average incubation period lasts five days," said Rendi-Wagner. And had now elapsed. Lucky for those affected, because the age was able to prove the bird flu until five days after picking up the animals. Rendi-Wagner explained that with the extensive tests that had to be made for the provision of bird flu. Also the border veterinarian could not find the disease of animals. "There was no suspicion." Most of the animals were found dead on the transport conditions and not the bird flu.

The surviving birds at Schönbrunn have now killed for safety. Also, they are still being tested to the H5N1 virus. The animals have all the time been in quarantine, so the virus would not have spread well in Schonbrunn.

The Czech couple had smuggled the animals from Bali via Doha / Qatar to Vienna. When customs inspection they said they want to take the animals to a friend in the Czech Republic.

The couple - who lives in the Czech Republic - was still displayed on Thursday for violations of the protection of species, the Animal Transportation Act and the Animal Disease Act. At that time it was not clear that an animal was infected with bird flu. Meanwhile, sources in the Ministry of Health, the Czech authorities have been informed. Whether the Czechs are suffering from bird flu, the Health Ministry did not know. It is for the Czech authorities to find them.