‘Humans can’t contract new strain of avian influenza’

Avian vet Chris Kingsley says there is only a chance humans can contract the disease if it changes its present biological form.

FILE: Avian veterinarians say humans can’t contract the new strain of avian influenza. Picture: freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Avian veterinarians say humans can’t contract the new strain of avian influenza, which has recently been detected in birds in South Africa.

There are reported cases of bird flu on farms in Free State and Mpumalanga.

Since the start of the outbreak, thousands of birds have been culled.

Avian vet Chris Kingsley says there is only a chance humans can contract the disease if it changes its present biological form.

“In humans, every year there’s an outbreak of flu and we get vaccinated one year and the next year it’s a different strain. The problem is the influenza virus is unstable so they do constantly change. And you may have an immunity to one influenza virus but that doesn’t mean you're going to have an immunity to the changed form of the virus.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)