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July 26, 2007

Vietnam: B2B H5N1 keeps spreading

Via Viet Nam News: Bird flu confirmed in Quang Binh after ducks found dead.

The Department of Animal Health on Monday reported a fresh bird flu outbreak in the central region of Viet Nam.

More than 200 ducks were found dead on a farm in Cam Thuy Commune, Le Thuy District, Quang Binh Province and tests confirmed they were infected with the deadly H5N1 virus.

Local veterinarians and authorities culled the remaining ducks, nearly 3,000, and disinfected the site.

In Dong Thap Province, a poultry breeding company had taken responsibility for last week’s scandal where fully-vaccinated chickens were found to have died of bird flu, a
high-ranking provincial official said on Monday.

Deputy director of Dong Thap’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Duong Nghia Quoc said the birds had been given to farmers under an urgent government project to support local inhabitants suffering from losses caused by the disease.

According to Quoc, the Ha Tay-based Luong My Breeding Joint-Stock Company would compensate farmers whose birds had been killed.

The company’s general director Cao Xuan Dam said they had vaccinated the flocks but the problem could have stemmed from faults in the vaccine preserving process or injection techniques.

Quoc said local authorities were continuing their investigations.

Viet Nam currently has four H5N1 infected provinces including the northern Ninh Binh and Dien Bien, and southern Dong Thap and Quang Binh.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Burma: The weakest link

Via The Independent, a report by a British MP on the disastrous political situation in Burma, with ominous implications for a potential pandemic: Burma: A plight we can ignore no longer. Excerpt:

Burma suffers a political, human rights and humanitarian situation as grim as any in the world today. The country is run by an utterly illegitimate government that spends 50 per cent of its budget on the military and less than a $1 (50p) per head on the health and education of its own citizens.

The thugs and impostors who rule the roost practise some of the most egregious human rights abuses known to mankind. Rape as a weapon of war, extra-judicial killings, water torture, mass displacement, compulsory relocation, forced labour, incarceration of political prisoners, religious and ethnic persecution, and the daily destruction of rural villages are all part of the story of savagery that has disfigured Burma.

People lack access to food, water, sanitation and the most basic health and education provision. Twice over the past three years, I have met just a handful of the 500,000 internally displaced people in eastern Burma and the 100,000 living in refugee camps in Thailand, victims of the wanton savagery of the Burmese Army.

Harrowing accounts of children dying from malnutrition, women perishing in childbirth and people succumbing to HIV, malaria and tuberculosis will remain indelibly imprinted upon my mind if I live to be 100. Most shocking of all was the experience of meeting children who told me they had seen their parents shot dead and parents who were forced to watch their children's summary execution.

Infectious diseases are approaching epidemic levels and 71 per cent of the population are at risk of malaria. A 2006 estimate of the child mortality rate in eastern Burma was 221 per 1000, compared to 205 in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo]. Health spending is the lowest in the world (0.5 per cent of GDP) and 60 per cent of households have no education at all.

And the latest outbreak of H5N1 in India has been close to the Burmese border. Burma has reported some outbreaks of B2B H5N1, but if people were also dying of avian flu, who would notice? And if they noticed, how would they get the word out if the generals wanted it kept secret?

Posted by dymaxion at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Egyptian woman is latest H5N1 infection - CIDRAP


Egyptian woman is latest H5N1 infection
CIDRAP, MN - Jul 23, 2007
Egyptian officials had projected that H5N1 activity would wane during the hot summer months, as it did during 2006 when there were no human cases between ...

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

Researchers warn H5N1 reassortment can occur beyond winter months - CIDRAP


Researchers warn H5N1 reassortment can occur beyond winter months
CIDRAP, MN - Jul 25, 2007
Reviewing the timing of influenza A infections, as well as of H5N1 poultry outbreaks and human infections, could reveal useful information for ...
People likely to alter lifestyles to cut risk in a pandemic, study ... CIDRAP
all 2 news articles

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

How Would The Avian Influenza Virus Be Transmitted In Human ... - Science Daily (press release)


How Would The Avian Influenza Virus Be Transmitted In Human ...
Science Daily (press release) - 6 hours ago
Science Daily — Recent outbreaks of emerging diseases such as SARS and H5N1 avian influenza have underlined the fact that animal pathogens may acquire the ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Epidemiology of Cases of H5N1 Virus Infection in Indonesia, July 2005-June 2006.

J Infect Dis. 2007 Aug 15; 196(4): 522-7
Sedyaningsih ER, Isfandari S, Setiawaty V, Rifati L, Harun S, Purba W, Imari S, Giriputra S, Blair PJ, Putnam SD, Uyeki TM, Soendoro T

Background. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus was detected in domestic poultry in Indonesia beginning in 2003 and is now widespread among backyard poultry flocks in many provinces. The first human case of H5N1 virus infection in Indonesia was identified in July 2005.Methods. Respiratory specimens were collected from persons with suspected H5N1 virus infection and were tested by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and viral culture. Serum samples were tested by a modified hemagglutinin inhibition antibody and/or microneutralization assay. Epidemiological, laboratory, and clinical data were collected through interviews and medical records review. Close contacts of persons with confirmed H5N1 virus infection were investigated.Results. From July 2005 through June 2006, 54 cases of H5N1 virus infection were identified, with a case-fatality proportion of 76%. The median age was 18.5 years, and 57.4% of patients were male. More than one-third of cases occurred in 7 clusters of blood-related family members. Seventy-six percent of cases were associated with poultry contact, and the source of H5N1 virus infection was not identified in 24% of cases.Conclusions. Sporadic and family clusters of cases of H5N1 virus infection, with a high case-fatality proportion, occurred throughout Indonesia during 2005-2006. Extensive efforts are needed to reduce human contact with sick and dead poultry to prevent additional cases of H5N1 virus infection.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Inhibition of the cytokine response does not protect against lethal H5N1 influenza infection.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 24; 104(30): 12479-81
Salomon R, Hoffmann E, Webster RG

Because proinflammatory cytokines are markedly elevated during H5N1 influenza virus infection, the "cytokine storm" is hypothesized to be the main cause of mortality. Here, we demonstrate that mice deficient in the hallmark inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-6, or CC chemokine ligand 2 succumb to infection with A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1) virus, as do wild-type mice treated with glucocorticoids for suppression of cytokines. Because cytokine inhibition does not protect against death, therapies that target the virus rather than cytokines may be preferable.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dynamic patterns of avian and human influenza in east and southeast Asia.

Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Aug; 7(8): 543-8
Park AW, Glass K

The seasonal patterns of human influenza in temperate regions have been well documented; however, much less attention has been paid to patterns of infection in the tropical and subtropical areas of east and southeast Asia. During the period 1997-2006, this region experienced several outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) in hosts including wild and domestic poultry, human beings, and other mammals. H5N1 is thought to be a likely source of a pandemic strain of human influenza. Incidence of both human influenza and avian influenza in human beings shows evidence of seasonality throughout east and southeast Asia, although the seasonal patterns in tropical and subtropical areas are not as simple or as pronounced as those in temperate regions around the world. The possibility of a human being becoming co-infected with both human and avian strains of influenza is not restricted to a short season, although the risks do appear to be greatest during the winter months.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

India confirms bird flu outbreak is H5N1 strain

India confirmed on Thursday that the latest outbreak of bird flu in poultry in the remote northeast was the H5N1 strain, the first case reported in the populous Asian nation in a year. Government workers plan to slaughter about 150000 … Detail story unknown and posted with Elliott Back

Posted by dymaxion at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007

Head-in-the-sand posture and bird flu

France, Germany, the Czech Republic and possibly Austria are the latest EU countries to have a recurrence of H5N1 (bird flu) in wild birds or domestic poultry. Last year also saw many EU countries afflicted, but until the UK turkey outbreak in February (see here, here, here and here) some hoped it wouldn't come back. Now it is spreading again. No surprise, really. Wherever and however it finds a place in birds it seems very hard, if not impossible, to eradicate permanently.

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Posted by dymaxion at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Virginia reacts to low-path H5N1

Via MSNBC, a report with an eyebrow-raiser: 54,000 Va. turkeys may have bird flu. Excerpt:

Virginia banned all live poultry sales and shows for the rest of July following the discovery of suspected avian flu antibodies in a flock of 54,000 turkeys on a Shenandoah County farm.

State veterinarian Richard Wilkes issued an order canceling all sales Monday, Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said Tuesday. The ban remains in effect until July 30.

Both low and the more severe high pathogenicity avian influenza pose no danger to humans, Lidholm said.

“The danger is really to the industry,” she said.

No danger to humans? Granted, the present danger is to poultry industries worldwide. But to say that high-path H5N1 poses no danger to humans goes beyond the spin boundary into untruth.

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

Germany, France Raise Bird Flu Risk Level After New H5N1 Cases - Deutsche Welle


Germany, France Raise Bird Flu Risk Level After New H5N1 Cases
Deutsche Welle, Germany - Jul 5, 2007
Germany has raised its bird flu risk assessment level after it was reported that 38 new cases of the deadly H5N1 strain were discovered in the country's ...

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

Germans cull 1,000 domestic fowl after H5N1 detected in goose

BERLIN: German authorities ordered about 1,000 domestic fowl
slaughtered after the bird flu virus was detected in a goose in the
eastern state of Thuringia, officials there said Saturday.
Culling of all domestic birds within a 3-kilometer (2-mile) radius of
the remote town of Wickersdorf, where the H5N1-infected goose died,

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

Indonesia confirms 81st bird flu death

JAKARTA (AFP) - A six-year-old Indonesian boy died of bird flu at the
weekend, taking the death toll in the country worst hit by the virus
to 81, a health ministry official said Monday.
Indonesia has seen its toll from the deadly H5N1 virus grow steadily
since 2005 when the first confirmed human deaths occurred here.

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

Avian flu at Va. farm prompts more testing

HARRISONBURG -- More than 50,000 turkeys on a farm west of Mount
Jackson tested positive for avian flu antibodies, prompting additional
testing and surveillance at area poultry farms, officials said.
The infected birds will be killed and composted on site, said Hobey
Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation.

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

July 05, 2007

Denialist editorial at British Medical Journal

The British Medical Journal is an odd thing. I was very impressed when they went Open Access a few years ago, only to be disappointed when they stopped, even though their new editor, Fiona Godlee, came over from the world's leading Open Access publisher of medical journals, BioMed Central. Recently they have been publishing pieces that seem to challenge conventional wisdom. This has the odor of "catch up to The Lancet" about it, but maybe not. In any event, conventional wisdom isn't always wrong. In fact it is mainly conventional because it is wise thinking. Not always, but usually. So it's disheartening to see an editorial this week questioning the wisdom of preparing for pandemic flu. Not that the editorial says you shouldn't prepare. It says you shouldn't be giving anyone a reason to prepare:

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

Hong Kong: Bird Garden to reopen July 5

Via the Hong Kong government's health-news site: Bird Garden to reopen July 5. Excerpt:

The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden will reopen July 5 after an 18-day testing and observation period. The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department will also enforce a new set of licensing conditions for pet bird traders.

The department's Assistant Director Dr Thomas Sit said the new conditions, effective from today, regulate pet bird trading both in and outside the Mong Kok landmark, ensuring that all birds kept in the licensed premises are from approved sources.

None of the 330 swab samples taken from the garden since June 17 were H5N1 positive. During the closure all birds in the shops were closely observed. The department is satisfied with their health and the garden's sanitation.

All shops and the Leisure & Cultural Services and Food & Environmental Hygiene Departments jointly held the garden's first monthly cleaning day today. A Hong Kong-wide survey of pet bird shops has been conducted, recording all stocks and checking sources.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Netherlands: Livestock ordered indoors

Via Expatica.com, a report from Holland: Livestock ordered indoors. Excerpt:

Commercial poultry farmers must keep their animals indoors from Thursday 2 pm.

Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg announced in Parliament on Thursday that she is ordering farmers to keep animals indoors now that the H5N1 variant of bird flu has been found closer to the Netherlands.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OIE provides Togo with 1, 000, 000 doses of H5N1 AI vaccines for ... - OIE (press release)


OIE provides Togo with 1, 000, 000 doses of H5N1 AI vaccines for ...
OIE (press release), France - Jul 4, 2007
Paris, July 4th 2007 - The OIE provided Togo with 1, 000, 000 doses of AI vaccines off its vaccine bank for protecting adult poultry against the H5N1 Avian ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird flu recurs in Quang Ninh

Bird flu made a deadly return to northern Vietnam's Quang Ninh
province as 70 dead ducks tested positive for the H5N1 virus on
Wednesday.
The province was hit by the disease last month but had announced
"successful eradication" early this month.
The provincial animal health agency said the recurrence of bird flu

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

Epidemic Hazard - Indonesia - 7-4-2007

Epidemic Hazard - Indonesia - 7-4-2007
A three-year-old girl in Indonesia's Riau province has been tested
positive of bird flu, bringing total cases to 101 in the country. The
young sufferer resides in remote Pesisi district, the TV reported
without revealing her identity. Indonesia is the hardest hit country

Posted by dymaxion at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dozens more H5N1 bird flu cases in Germany

SANGERHAUSEN (Thomson Financial) - German authorities on Thursday
reported 38 new cases of the feared H5N1 strain of bird flu which can
kill humans in the country's east.
The regional authorities in Sangerhausen in the state of Saxony-Anhalt
said 38 dead birds found on the shores of an artificial lake near the

Posted by dymaxion at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

French swans test positive for bird flu (AP)

French swans test positive for bird flu (AP) July 6, 2007 , 1:18 am AP - Three swans found dead in a pond in eastern France have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry said Thursday. Share This

Posted by dymaxion at 10:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack