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Machine arrives to detect bird influenza

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  • Machine arrives to detect bird influenza


    Machine arrives to detect bird influenza
    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    HEALTH officers will be able to detect influenza and bird flu when a state-of-the-art machine is used in the country from this week.

    The machine which cost $US70,000 was jointly bought by the World Health Organisation and a medical organisation from the United States.

    Acting medical officer at Mataika House, Dr Viema Biaukula, said the machine would to test nose swabs from those infected with bird flu.

    "When we test the samples, we will check whether they have either Type A influenza which could lead to an outbreak," she said.

    "So, before an outbreak occurs, we are able to detect early and make early announcements for people to take precautions."

    WHO representative Dr Ken Chen said it was important for any country to be prepared by having a good surveillance system in place and this was where they were helping Fiji in.

    "The experts tell us that the bird flu virus, which is causing outbreaks in Asia and Europe, could mutate to cause the next worldwide influenza pandemic," he said.

    "In any case, whether it is bird flu or another virus, it is important that the world is ready and prepared.

    "One of the pillars of influenza preparedness is surveillance.

    "If we can detect the next influenza epidemic at an early stage, we may be able to reduce the impact," Mr Ken said.