The mysterious death of several seabirds on the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia has triggered concerns that these dead birds could be harboring the bird flu virus.
However, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service said that there was no cause for panic and that they were sending out a team as a precautionary measure, but the Courier Mail reports that a second team with a military operative has also started towards the island. "There's a report of dead birds being sighted on Bountiful Island. We have no idea of how many there are - that's one of the things being investigated. When we get an idea of the cause we will be in a position to take whatever steps are necessary," said Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service spokesman Carson Creagh. He added that the birds would however be tested out for the H5N1 virus.
As of now no bird flu cases have been reported in Australia, but the migratory birds that arrive in this season from South Asia are causing concern. China, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia have already reported fresh cases and till now almost 80 human deaths have been reported. Bird or avian flu is caused by the H5N1 virus and health experts fear that it could mutate into a form that is easily transmissible from human to human. If this happens, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a potential pandemic with millions of casualties worldwide. Last week, bird flu was reported in Ukraine.