National Health Advisory
Department of Health issues Advisory on the Avian Influenza or "Bird Flu"
The Federated States of Micronesia Department of Health, Education and Social Affairs (HESA) has issued a Health Advisory on the Avian Influenza, commonly known as the "Bird Flu."
Avian Influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains (H5N1) of the influenza virus which is occurring worldwide. The infected birds exhibit a wide spectrum of symptoms which can range from mild illnesses to a highly contagious form, while others rapidly develop into a fatal disease.
If acquired by humans, the disease can become potentially fatal. The symptoms of the Avian Influenza are similar to normal seasonal flu among which include: high fever, muscle aches, serious cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. To date, the virus has killed at least 57 people and infected 100 more.
All cases in humans were the result of close contact with live infected domestic poultry including chickens and turkeys, which are particularly susceptible to the virus.
While there has not been any suspected cases in FSM, the risk of the disease is however a concern to the FSM Department of HESA. The Department is encouraging the public to report any unusual incidences of dead chickens or birds to the local Agriculture/ Quarantine Services.
The FSM Quarantine services does not allow importation of live birds and poultry products from the infected countries and advises the general public not to participate in any activities that involves exchange of live birds or poultry products with any vessels, such as fishing boats, purse seine boats, cargo ships, yachts, or vessels unknown origins.
The Department of HESA has indicated that at present, all poultry products found in local stores are not from affected countries and, therefore, safe for consumption.
Since December 2003, outbreaks of Avian Influenza or the "Bird Flu" have been confirmed in Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Laos, DPRK, China, Cambodia, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Updates on Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) can be found on the following World Health Organization website: www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/updates/en.
More information can be obtained from the State Agriculture/Quarantine Services:
Kosrae: (691) 370-3017
FSM Department of HESA: (691) 320-2619/2643