Recent studies suggest that commercial poultry is resistant to the newly emerged 2009 H1N1 flu strain which has now assumed pandemic status among humans. A research paper to be published in the Journal of General Virology from the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute in Riems, Germany showed that chickens in contact with infected pigs failed to develop the disease.
The 2009 H1N1 virus will spread from infected pigs to their pen mates under controlled experimental conditions carried out in a Bio-Safety Level 3+ facility. In addition, a recent study conducted at the Southeast Poultry Laboratory in Athens, Ga., demonstrated that chickens, turkeys and ducks were refractory to 2009 H1N1 virus isolated from human patients.
The focus of research is now directed at developing a suitable vaccine to protect humans since it is anticipated that there will be an upsurge in cases in the U.S. in fall and winter. Readers are referred to the July 10 edition of Science, which incorporates two articles on the origin of the 2009 H1N1 virus and its genetic characteristics.
In the context of commercial production, no individual suspected of being infected with 2009 H1N1 or any influenza virus should have any contact with live poultry during the clinical phase and for at least seven days thereafter.