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August 09, 2005

Bird Flu Cases Increase, Adding Credence to WarningsFlu Information and News

Computer models aid in containment strategies if human pandemic erupts

Story here:


By Charlene PorterWashington File Staff Writer

Washington – The steady creep of a deadly form of avian influenza, or bird flu, lends further credence to warnings issued by international health officials for months that the H5N1 virus could trigger a worldwide flu pandemic.
Vietnam remains the nation most seriously affected with the appearance of bird flu in humans; officials there report, and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms, three additional cases of human infection with the virus that has caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of poultry across Asia.
Vietnam has detected a total of 90 human cases of H5N1 since the disease first began to appear in the region in late 2003. Of those, 40 have died.
WHO’s official accounting of human cases issued August 5 tallies 112 in four nations – Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. After Vietnam, Thailand has confirmed the most avian influenza cases – 17 – while Indonesia is the most recent government to report a human death. A man who died July 12 had two young daughters who also became ill and subsequently died. Tests are still ongoing to determine whether H5N1 was the cause of the girls’ deaths.
As the human toll of the disease increases, so does the spread of the virus among bird populations. Russian animal health officials have reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health the appearance of H5N1 in three villages in Novosibirsk province.
This Russian region borders on Kazakhstan, where a strain of bird flu is also reported, according to news reports, but not yet confirmed as the highly dangerous H5N1 strain.
This strain infected humans for the first time in only 1997, health officials say, so immunity to it is virtually nonexistent in people. The pattern of human infection so far proves that the virus is not easily transmitted between humans. Most cases have been traced to close contact with infected birds.
Health authorities fear though that H5N1 will mutate to become more transmissible between humans. If that happens, in a world of rapid transit and globalized travel, experts say a flu pandemic could sweep from nation to nation with the potential death toll in the tens of millions, and economic and trade disruption of immense proportions.
Pandemic Research
A timely response with a targeted distribution of antiviral drugs could contain an epidemic and prevent a global spread, according to research published by international research teams. Using computer models, the research shows that pandemic could be prevented with a combination of carefully implemented public health measures introduced soon after the first cases appear.
Scientists in the United States, Hong Kong, Thailand and France produced the work as participants in a research network funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Flu Information and News

Posted by dymaxion at August 9, 2005 02:13 PM

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