« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

September 26, 2006

Health officials probe bird flu cluster cases - Independent Online

Health officials probe bird flu cluster cases
Independent Online, South Africa - 18 hours ago
So-called cluster cases, where the H5N1 virus is spread from human to human rather than from poultry, increase the chance of the virus mutating to become ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Death #51: Another boy dies in Indonesia

Via Reuters: Indonesian boy dies of bird flu, official says. Excerpt:

A nine-year-old Indonesian boy has died of bird flu, an official of the health ministry's bird flu information centre said on Sunday, taking the country's death toll from the disease to 51.

The boy died on Friday at a hospital in Jakarta, Runizar Ruesin, the head of the centre, told Reuters by phone.

"The result came out this morning. It has been confirmed positive," he said. The boy, a resident of Ciputat Raya in South Jakarta, had suffered from fever, cough, runny nose and pneumonia after he began to get sick on Sept. 13, Ruesin said.

The boy was said to have had contact with a sick bird. Most human cases are known to have followed such contacts.

His death comes after the health ministry said on Friday that bird flu killed an 11-year-old boy from East Java province. The boy died last week after chickens died around his house. The ministry said it was sending a team to investigate the case.

Indonesia has the highest bird flu death toll of any nation. Not including the deaths of the two boys, the H5N1 avian flu virus has killed 144 people worldwide, the World Health Organisation says.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Details on the latest H5N1 death in Jakarta

Via Indonesia Relief, an NGO: Bird Flu Kill a Boy in Jakarta. Despite the English errors, this report gives us some additional details about the 51st Indonesian H5N1 death:

A 9 years old boy from Pondok Pinang, South Jakarta, died in Sulianti Suroso hospital on September 22. Today Ministry of Health confirmed that the boy died after infected by bird flu, HN51 virus.

''The 9 years old boy got sick since September 13. He received treatment for high fever, coughing and respiratory problems,'' said Komnas FBPI, the Indonesian National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, a committe under Ministry of Health, in a statement today.

On September 20, the boy transferred to Indonesian Police hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta. On September 20 he transferred again to RSPI Sulianti Suroso and died after two hour.

''Based on test by Ministry of Health's Research Center and NAMRU-2, we confirmed that the boy infected by H5N1 virus. And after checking their house, the boy known as had been playing with infected chicken,'' Komnas FPBI said.

This new case is the 67th cases of people affected by H5N1 virus. And the boy became the 51st people died because of the virus.

The boy's last transfer must have been on the 22nd, not the 20th. Still, it's interesting that he seems to have been treated for week out of hospital (or in an unnamed hospital) before being moved to the "police hospital." I wonder why he wasn't sent straight to Sulianti Saroso, which has the most experience in treating avian flu cases.

I wish that stories like these would also describe what happens in the victim's neighbourhood after the diagnosis of H5N1. Presumably the authorities cull every chicken and duck within a kilometer or two, while testing family members and neighbours. Yet we rarely hear about such follow-ups.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

H2H in the latest suspected H5N1 cluster?

Via Reuters, more on the likely new H5N1 cluster in West Java: Indonesia probes possible bird flu cluster in family. Excerpt:

Indonesia is investigating a possible cluster of bird flu cases after a man died and his brother and sister were hospitalised, one of them testing positive for bird flu, a doctor said on Tuesday.

The man, 25, died on Sunday with bird flu symptoms after being treated at a Christian hospital in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, said Hadi Yusuf, head of the bird flu ward at the city's Hasan Sadikin hospital.

The dead man's brother, 20, and sister, 15, were being treated in Hasan Sadikin hospital and tests carried out by a government laboratory showed the surviving brother had bird flu, Yusuf said.

It was not clear if samples from the dead brother had been taken for tests when he was treated, the doctor said.

"The condition of the (other) brother is not good. He's on a ventilator," Yusuf told Reuters by telephone. Results for the girl were expected on Wednesday, he said.

The brothers often bought dead chickens to feed their dog, but the girl had no known history of contact with chickens, the doctor said.

"If it is true that the youngest did not touch chickens at all and she had bird flu, we need to suspect she got it from the brothers," he said.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thailand: Nine tests failed to detect H5N1

The Nation has a detailed and alarming report on the latest avian-flu death in Thailand: Nine tests failed to detect H5N1, doctors reveal. Here is the entire article:

A 59-year-old man from Nong Bua Lamphu was yesterday declared the latest victim of bird flu, bringing Thailand's death toll to 17 since the disease was first detected in 2004.

The man is the third confirmed death from the infection this year. Officials said he was the first to die of complications rather than H5N1 itself.

"This case study has taught us that having the antiviral drug oseltamivir at hand doesn't necessarily mean we can cure it," said Dr Kumnuan Ungchusak, head of the Bureau of Epidemiology.

The case was the first that took almost a month from the day the patient fell ill to his eventual death, compared to past cases in which victims died within a few days of falling sick, Kumnuan said.

The Nong Bua Lumphu man, who lived in Nong Sang district, fell ill on July 14 with high fever and muscular pains. He was treated at the nearby primary care unit, but his condition did not improve, said Dr Prat Boonyawongwiroj, the permanent secretary for Public Health.

Before his death, the man had been transferred to the Nong Sang district hospital and then to the Nong Bua Lumphu provincial hospital, where he died on August 10, the doctor said.

At first, doctors treating the man were not aware he had been in contact with sick chickens before falling ill, Dr Thawat Suntrajarn, the director-general of the Disease Control Department, said.

About two weeks after becoming ill, his wife finally told doctors he had touched some sick chickens earlier, Thawat said, explaining that was why doctors suspected he had leptospirosis instead of bird flu.

The patient had nursed about sick 40 chickens and treated some of them with a herbal drug, but most eventually died, Thawat said.

An autopsy revealed the man had succumbed to a drug-resistant bacteria called Acinetobacter, he said, adding the patient was given the antiviral oseltamivir right after his wife told doctors he had been in contact with sick chickens.

When the man was initially taken in for treatment, he was tested for H5N1 even though it was not known at that stage whether he had been in contact with sick poultry, Department of Medical Sciences chief Dr Paijit Warachit said.

The first advanced Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test detected no signs of the H5N1 virus, nor did several repeat PCRs conducted later after the man's wife finally said that her husband had been in contact with sick chickens, Paijit said.

He was the first person to undergo nine PCR tests, yet the virus was still not detected until an autopsy was conducted on tissue taken from his lungs and faeces, he said.

That PCRs failed to detect the virus could be because of the effects of oseltamivir, which might have prevented the virus from being present in the respiratory-tract areas where swabs were taken for testing, according to Dr Tawee Chotpitayasundond, of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health.

The Department of Livestock Development, meanwhile, insisted Nong Bua Lumphu was not on the list of bird-flu districts and past testing on poultry had found no signs of H5N1 there.

There would be no culling of poultry in the province for now, Veterinarian Nirand Auengtrakul, director of the Bureau of Disease Control and Veterinary Services, said.

Governor Phairat Sakolphan has ordered an "X-ray check" across the province for the bird-flu epidemic.


Posted by dymaxion at 10:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thai man who bred fighting cocks dies of bird flu

A 59-year-old Thai man who bred and raised fighting cocks in northeastern Thailand contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus and has died, bringing the country's human death toll from the disease to 17, health officials said Tuesday.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Filmmaker makes full documentary on Libya HIV case available free online

Mickey Grant, a filmmaker from Dallas, Texas, has, in response to the blog campaign, today made his full, 1h 22 min, 2003 documentary on the Libya HIV case, Infection, available free, on Google Video — link here — it’s a raw upload, so for the moment you have to endure a 30 [...]

Posted by dymaxion at 09:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The spread of avian flu with time; new maps exploiting Google Earth’s time series function

Google Earth last week introduced new functionality that allows one to map events against time. Clearly this is the ideal way to view the spread of avian flu worldwide, so I have adapted my existing flu maps to it, and updated them to this week. You WILL NOT be able to view these maps correctly [...]

Posted by dymaxion at 09:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2006

WHO confirms Iraq's third avian flu case - CIDRAP

WHO confirms Iraq's third avian flu case
CIDRAP, MN - Sep 19, 2006
Sep 19, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has retrospectively recognized Iraq's third human case of H5N1 avian influenza, involving a 3 ...
Thai crisis 'may have increased bird flu' Financial Express.bd
all 4 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 10:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Uganda on high alert as bird flu breaks out in neighboring ... - People's Daily Online

Uganda on high alert as bird flu breaks out in neighboring ...
People's Daily Online, China - 1 hour ago
Health experts in Uganda are on high alert and ready to counter any outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza, popularly known as bird flu, following an outbreak in ...
Wild birds to be flu tested Peterborough Evening Telegraph
New strategy to screen wild birds for deadly H5N1 avian fliu 24dash.com
Bird flu tests to be more targeted Yorkshire Post Today
MedIndia - This is Wiltshire.co.uk
all 22 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 10:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nabarro: Thai political crisis may have helped resurgence of H5N1

Via FT.com: Thai political crisis "may have increased bird flu." Excerpt:

Thailand’s continuing political crisis may have contributed to a resurgence of bird flu in the country, according to the United Nations official co-ordinating the global fight against the disease.

Both Thailand and Vietnam have been praised for their stringent efforts to fight the H5N1 virus in poultry and until July neither had reported a single human case this year, even as the virus has in the past nine months killed 37 people in nearby Indonesia.

Authorities in Thailand, however, have since July reported two human fatalities from the virus, while Vietnam last month reported its first outbreaks in poultry this year.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Dr David Nabarro, the UN’s senior co-ordinator for avian influenza, said that Vietnam’s response remained admirable. But he was concerned that the political crisis in Thailand might have weakened the country’s response.

It remained unclear, he said, how or why the H5N1 virus resurfaced in a Thai province along the Mekong River border with Laos in July and August.

But he said: “You don’t maintain control over this disease unless there is regular top-level direction from a committed senior political figure that wants to be sure that the necessary activities are being undertaken.”

Thailand has been without a fully functioning government since February, when Thaksin Shinawatra, prime minister, dissolved parliament, hoping to end the controversy over his family’s tax-free $1.9bn (€1.5bn, £1bn) sale of their 49 per cent stake in Shin Corp, the telecoms empire, to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Outgoing CDC flu chief:" International community not sharing bird flu battle burden"

Via C-Health, Helen Branswell reports: Int'l community not sharing bird flu battle burden: CDC. Excerpt:

The international community is not bearing enough of the burden of combating H5N1 avian flu, leaving too much of the work to some of the world's poorer countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's outgoing flu czar said Wednesday.

Dr. Jim LeDuc said countries like Vietnam have paid a huge price to try to lower the risk that the virus will spark a human flu pandemic, without adequate compensation from developing countries in the form of guarantees of access to antiviral drugs or vaccines that might be created to protect against the virus.

"We as a global community have asked the least developed nations of the world to bear the brunt of controlling this," LeDuc told participants at a conference on the legal and ethical issues of mitigating pandemic disease hosted by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.

LeDuc admitted the gap between what is being asked and what is being offered troubles him deeply.

"We also have not so far done a good job in recognizing, not only the sacrifices, but the accomplishments countries like Vietnam and Thailand have attained in addressing avian influenza," said LeDuc, who leaves the CDC for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in early November.

"I don't think we've appreciated as much as we should the efforts of countries like Vietnam and Thailand - and China to some extent - that have really aggressively intervened. The ones that have sacrificed these hundreds of thousands, millions of chickens and millions and millions of dollars lost."

As always with a Branswell story, read the whole thing.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

China: Tests Find Bird Flu Vaccine Safe

Gre tests - China: Tests Find Bird Flu Vaccine Safe

China: Tests Find Bird Flu Vaccine Safe
Associated Press - BEIJING (AP) -- A Chinese-developed vaccine against the H5N1 strain of bird flu in humans has been found safe in the first round of tests, a government news agency reported Monday. Researchers began work on the vaccine last year, and the government

Posted by dymaxion at 10:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2006

Bird flu death toll in Indonesia now up to 48

... According to the Ministry of Health in Indonesia a new case of the H5N1 avian influenza virus has been confirmed in a young girl. The 14-year-old from Makassar, in South Sulawesi Province developed symptoms on 18 June, and was hospitalized on 23rd of June and died the following day. The girl had been in contact with poultry near her home ...
Medical and health information from Armenian Medical Network View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 10:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trial of H5N1 vaccine effective in low doses - study - Malaysia Star

Trial of H5N1 vaccine effective in low doses - study
Malaysia Star, Malaysia - Sep 6, 2006
LONDON (Reuters) - Low doses of an experimental Chinese vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu virus produce an immune response in healthy people, according to ...

Posted by dymaxion at 09:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Indonesian case of human infection with the H5N1 virus - News-Medical.net

New Indonesian case of human infection with the H5N1 virus
News-Medical.net, Australia - Sep 11, 2006
The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has confirmed a new case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case is ...
Bird flu death toll in Indonesia now up to 48 News-Medical.net
all 2 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Way cleared for China to share H5N1 samples - CIDRAP

Way cleared for China to share H5N1 samples
CIDRAP, MN - Sep 11, 2006
... have resolved what they're calling a lapse in communication that has contributed to China's delay in sending promised poultry samples of H5N1 avian influenza ...

Posted by dymaxion at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesia culling 4,500 chickens to halt latest bird flu outbreak - Raw Story

BBC News
Indonesia culling 4,500 chickens to halt latest bird flu outbreak
Raw Story, MA - 14 hours ago
No human infections were reported from the quick spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus in two villages of West Java's Kuningan district last week, which killed ...
Indonesia pushes bird flu education BBC News
all 2 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Study Adds Details on Bird Flu, Humans - FOX News

World Fitness
Study Adds Details on Bird Flu, Humans
FOX News - 5 hours ago
... De Jong and his co-authors studied 18 people infected with bird flu, which is known as H5N1, and compared them with eight people who had common human flu ...
Revealed Why H5N1 Is So Deadly For Humans Medical News Today
Scientists reveal how H5N1 kills BBC News
Scientists find out how bird flu kills people Discovery Reports Canada
InTheNews.co.uk - News-Medical.net
all 130 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grounding the airlines to slow down H5N1

Here's a fascinating article in PLoS Medicine: Empirical Evidence for the Effect of Airline Travel on Inter-Regional Influenza Spread in the United States. An excerpt:

We measured rate of inter-regional spread and timing of influenza in the United States for nine seasons, from 1996 to 2005 using weekly influenza and pneumonia mortality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonality was characterized by band-pass filtering. We found that domestic airline travel volume in November (mostly surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday) predicts the rate of influenza spread (r2 = 0.60; p = 0.014). We also found that international airline travel influences the timing of influenza mortality (r2 = 0.59; p = 0.016).

The flight ban in the US after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent depression of the air travel market, provided a natural experiment for the evaluation of flight restrictions; the decrease in air travel was associated with a delayed and prolonged influenza season.

We provide the first empirical evidence for the role of airline travel in long-range dissemination of influenza. Our results suggest an important influence of international air travel on the timing of influenza introduction, as well as an influence of domestic air travel on the rate of inter-regional influenza spread in the US. Pandemic preparedness strategies should account for a possible benefit of airline travel restrictions on influenza spread.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A broadside against Dr. Chan

Simon Lee, a columnist in Hong Kong, writes a blast in the Bangkok Post against Dr. Margaret Chan: Should WHO chief save face or save lives? Excerpt:

One of the favourites to replace the late Dr Lee Jong Wook, who died suddenly in May, is China's candidate Margaret Chan. Currently in charge of the WHO's response to avian flu, she was also director of health in Hong Kong from 1994 to 2003, a period that coincided with the emergence of both avian flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome or Sars.

As avian flu marches up the global political agenda, her experience in these two roles should make her a shoo-in. After all, the World Bank has just announced that Indonesia's economy has already been affected by bird flu and the WHO is the only agency with the skills and mandate to coordinate the response to this kind of pandemic health threat. What could be better than a leader who already has a track record of dealing with them?

The problem is Dr Chan's past actions show her to be more concerned with saving face than saving lives, an unsuitable candidate for a position that requires honesty, accountability and genuine leadership.

And that's just the warm-up.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Earth map of avian flu country situations

Posted by dymaxion at 09:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CIDRAP >> Laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, December 2003 to present

Posted by dymaxion at 09:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

H5N1 replicates more strongly than common flu-study

The H5N1 bird flu virus replicates far more aggressively in people than common human flu viruses, a study of patients in Vietnam has found, offering further insight as to why the virus is so deadly.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Live H5N1 Avian Flu Virus Vaccines Show Protection in Animal Studies

When tested in mice and ferrets, experimental vaccines based on live, weakened versions of different strains of the H5N1 avian influenza virus were well-tolerated and protected the animals from a deadly infection with naturally occurring H5N1 flu viruses....

Posted by dymaxion at 09:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 06, 2006

Cambodia reports new bird flu outbreak - Independent Online

Thanh Nien Daily
Cambodia reports new bird flu outbreak
Independent Online, South Africa - 16 hours ago
Cambodia - A new outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in ducks on two family farms in eastern Cambodia, where the deadly H5N1 virus was also detected last ...
Fresh bird flu outbreak confirmed in Cambodia New Zealand Herald
New bird flu outbreak hits Cambodian ducks ABC News
all 9 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Study: Live H5N1 virus vaccines effective - Monsters and Critics.com

Study: Live H5N1 virus vaccines effective
Monsters and Critics.com, UK - 4 hours ago
Researchers say their findings are encouraging because they demonstrate the ability to create a vaccine based on one particular strain of the H5N1 flu virus ...
Vaccines against bird flu in humans show promise SciDev.net
Bird flu vaccine ‘promising’ ChronicleHerald.ca
Health research briefs The News Journal
MedIndia - National Institutes of Health (press release)
all 27 news articles

Posted by dymaxion at 11:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

4.88 billion fowls vaccinated in China

Via Xinhua: China vaccinates 4.88 bln domestic fowls. Excerpt:

China had vaccinated 4.88 billion domestic fowls by the end of June this year in a bid to prevent and control the spread of bird flu diseases, said a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

Li Jinxiang, deputy director of the veterinary bureau under the ministry, told a press conference that China's efforts on prevention and control of the disease have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health.

The ministry has informed the world of each outbreak of bird flu in China and measures that have been taken to handle the cases based on the principles of "timely reporting and transparency," said Li.

He noted that the ministry has "actively" promoted global and regional cooperation on the prevention and control of bird flu disease and established good cooperative ties with the WHO, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Bank.

China has also offered technical aid to neighboring countries like Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia and Indonesia in fighting the disease.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Indonesia will vaccinate 300 million birds against H5N1.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New bird flu outbreak hits Cambodian ducks

Via Reuters: New bird flu outbreak hits Cambodian ducks.

A fresh outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in ducks in eastern Cambodia where the virus re-emerged last month, officials said on Tuesday.

Tests confirmed the deadly H5N1 virus in live and dead ducks in the Bateay district of the eastern province of Kampong Cham where 700 birds died last week, they said.

"We sent our vets to cull the rest of the live ducks after the result was confirmed on Saturday," senior agriculture official Yim Voeunthan told Reuters.

The virus could have spread from a nearby village where a bird flu outbreak killed nearly 2,000 ducks last month, said Ku Chanthan, a veterinarian in Kampong Cham.

In early August, the virus was also found among 1,300 ducks that died in the province of Prey Veng, 70 km (45 miles) southeast of Phnom Penh.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spread of bird flu virus in N. Sumatra still worrying

Antara News Agency reports Spread of bird flu virus in N. Sumatra still worrying. Excerpt:

The spread of the bird flu (Avian Influenza/AI) virus in North Sumatra is still worrying despite the cull of some 73,096 poultry in the province recently, a provincial government official said.

The poultry cull was intended to break the chain of the HN51 virus's transmission, a spokesman of the North Sumatra Administration said here on Wednesday.

Of the total 73,096 culled poultry, some 37,458 were in Karo District, 20,012 in Simalungun, 14,727 in Dairi and 899 in Deli Serdang District.

For every chicken or bird culled, the government provided compensation worth Rp12,500 each.

Bird flu cases have occurred in 16 districts out of the total 25 districts in North Sumatra up to August 2006.

Among the affected districts are Deli Serdang, Binjai, Dairi, Medan, Tebing Tinggi, Langkat, Samosir, Serdang Bedagai, Simalungun, Tapanuli Selatan, Tapanuli Utara, Toba Samosir, Mandailing Natal, Humbang Hasundutan, and Kabupaten Karo.

The bird flu virus infection has badly affected the poultry business in the province.

Posted by dymaxion at 11:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack