9 Apr 2014

Palau not seeing outbreak of avian flu

6:50 pm on 9 April 2014

Contaminated water and not avian flu may be behind the death of hundreds of chickens on a Palau poultry farm.

A government team was called up to investigate nine days ago after 200 chickens at the Palau Mission Academy farm died at the same time as workers there fell ill with flu-like symptoms.

An epidemiologist with the Palau government, Dr Haley Cash, says tests on both the birds and workers came back negative for avian flu and the human samples matched the seasonal influenza going around Palau at the moment.

"We did some preliminary tests on the water supplies and some of the chickens are watered using a nearby river and there were high counts of e coli and coliform in the river so we're doing further investigations but our suspicions are that the water contamination may to be blame."

Dr Cash puts the scare down to coincidence but products from the farm have been recalled until investigations are complete.