SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile detected the H1N1 swine flu virus in turkeys, authorities said on Thursday, the first time the virus has been found outside humans or pigs.
Chile’s farming and livestock agency SAG said the flu outbreak had been controlled at the two farms 75 miles west of the capital Santiago.
“We call on the public to consume turkey products with confidence,” a SAG statement said. It added that laboratory results ruled out the presence of H5N1 or bird flu virus.
The Geneva-based World Health Organization declared H1N1 a full pandemic in June and the virus has now spread to some 180 countries, causing at least 1,462 laboratory-confirmed deaths. The WHO says the pandemic is unstoppable.
The H1N1 swine flu virus was first seen in March in Mexico and California. Experts say at least 1 million people have been infected in the United States alone.
Genetic tests show the virus appears to have originated in pigs but it is now spreading from human to human.
The head of the WHO, Margaret Chan, said this week that the world must remain on guard against the H1N1 flu, which has been mild so far but could become more serious as the northern hemisphere heads into winter.
Reporting by Antonio de la Jara; writing by Alonso Soto; editing by Anthony Boadle