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Bird flu kills ferrets used in disease study in Texas

The same strain of bird flu that infected a dairy worker in Texas in March caused the deaths of ferrets used in experiments, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Friday. U.S.

According to the health agency, the animals were part of tests that simulated the effects of the disease in humans.

According to the CDC note, in other experiments with seasonal flu, ferrets became ill, but did not die.

Ferrets are considered the best mammals for studying influenza virus infection and transmission. That’s because animals have a respiratory system very similar to ours and are often used as a tool for public health risk assessments of new influenza viruses, according to the CDC.

The A(H5N1) strain of the influenza virus found in Texas spread easily among healthy ferrets when they were placed in direct contact with others of the same species that were infected, scientists have shown.

The virus was, however, less efficient than other strains of influenza at spreading through respiratory droplets. This suggests that viruses like this “would have to undergo changes to spread efficiently through airborne droplets, such as in coughs and sneezes,” the CDC said.

Bird flu has been found in more than 80 flocks in 11 US states since the end of March.

Reuters reported on Friday that US federal and state agencies plan to research the potential respiratory spread of bird flu among dairy cattle, a move to try to contain the virus and reduce exposure to humans.

Source: CNN Brasil

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