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Taking a Break

This website is taking a break. I'll be back if bird flu suddenly erupts in the news again.


Not If, But When
Americans, get ready:

A bird-flu pandemic likely will reach U.S. shores in the next decade, Dr. Kristy Bradley, deputy state epidemiologist for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said Tuesday.

"Prior to the last decade or so, the thought was the influenza from birds would be mild or just cause conjunctivitis in humans," she said...

But "bells went off" in 1997 when 18 people in Hong Kong contracted bird flu and six died from it.

September 27th, 2007


Malaysia - now free of bird flu
Kansas - testing (Kansas??)
Cuba - preparing
Azerbaijan - monitoring
Northern Ireland - a major threat
Germany - bird flu found in frozen ducks
September 11th, 2007


Indonesia: We Won't Share...Yet
The ABC reports:

Indonesia has confirmed that it will not share live samples of bird flu virus with the World Health Organisation (WHO) until it is guaranteed access to affordable drugs to fight the disease.

The WHO has accused Indonesia, which has suffered more cases of the disease than any other country, of putting the world at risk by failing to share samples.

Indonesian Health Ministry spokeswoman Lily Sulistyowati says her country was waiting for a new mechanism to be put in place to govern the sharing of samples.

August 12th, 2007


Tamiflu Death - A Japanese Family Sues
A Japanese family whose son died after taking Tamiflu are to sue the country's Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency:

The 17-year-old died in February 2004 when he ran out of his home in his bare feet and was run over by a truck about two hours after taking Tamiflu...

The suit comes months after Japanese health authorities ordered doctors not to prescribe patients aged 10-19 following dozens of deaths and injuries among teenagers over the past six years.

More than 1,300 people have exhibited neuropsychiatric symptoms since Tamiflu went on sale in Japan in 2001, of whom 71 have died. Twenty-seven, most in their teens, fell from buildings.

Last month the health ministry announced new clinical trials to establish whether the antiviral could cause delirium, delusion and other neuropsychiatric symptoms. The ministry had previously ruled out any link.

July 25th, 2007


A Reservoir of Bird Flu
A warning:

The director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health, Dr Bernard Vallat, said Indonesia was struggling to control bird flu and had become a reservoir from which the disease could spread to neighbouring countries.

``It is dangerous for Australia,'' Dr Vallat said last night...

``The situation in Indonesia is not good because there is no national chain of command,'' Dr Vallat said.

``Small regions are independent, they say what they want, which is not good for managing disasters.

``Disasters need strong political decisions to save the whole country, not only part of the country.''

July 12th, 2007


Bird (Flu) Dog
Dutch customs are using two special bird flu dogs at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to check flights from high-risk countries.

The dogs, German shepherd Bo and Belgian shepherd Judy, are checking flights from countries where the bird flu virus has been found such as China, Thailand, Egypt, Russia and Turkey, the Dutch ministry of finance, which controls the customs service, said in a statement.

They are trained to sniff out all kinds of poultry -- alive or dead -- feathers and eggs. The dogs have been working on Schiphol airport since May this year.

July 9th, 2007


Uh Oh
More headlines:

* Deadly bird flu strain found in Germany

* Egypt, Indonesia Report New Bird Flu Infections Among Children

* Bird flu spreads in Bangladesh, more chickens culled

* Banknotes may trigger next flu pandemic

June 25th, 2007


I Haven't Gone Away

* Bird flu resurfaces in Vietnam

* Togo Confirms Country's First Bird Flu Outbreak

* All turkeys at Czech farm culled over bird flu
June 23rd, 2007


Bird Flu - Bad News
Chickens infected by bird flu in Indonesia are now mostly symptom-free, confounding efforts to fight the virus in the world's hardest hit country, an Agriculture Ministry official said Monday.

"It's really giving us a headache," said Musni Suatmodjo, the director of animal health. "Chickens are testing positive for the H5N1 virus, but they are staying healthy" making it difficult to identify which are infected."

2. Bird flu has spread to another district in Bangladesh forcing authorities to cull 3,000 more chickens over the last two days, officials said yesterday.

3. It is still unclear how the Chinese soldier who died from bird flu earlier this month contracted the highly infectious H5N1 bird flu strain, Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qun'an said in Beijing on Monday.

"Experts are analyzing the soldier's whole treatment history," Mao said at a press conference. "But they are still in the dark about how the soldier contracted bird flu."

4. The growing bird flu outbreak in Egypt reached new heights this weekend when the death of a 10-year-old girl increased the nation's death toll to 15.

Alalam Satellite TV reported Sunday that health officials have confirmed the recent death from the H5N1 virus, which represented the end of a two-month lull in such fatalities.

June 12th, 2007


Mutation Fears in Indonesia
The H5N1 virus may have undergone a mutation in Indonesia allowing it to jump more easily to humans.

Meanwhile, bird flu has been detected near the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. But the Welsh H7N2 outbreak has been declared over.
June 7th, 2007


Who Will Die?
Who will die in a flu pandemic? And who will handle all the dead bodies? TPM Cafe tells us.

Meanwhile, according to a WHO official
, a bird flu pandemic is "almost certain" - in the long term. The short term outlook is "less clear".
June 1st, 2007


Bird Flu Outbreak Latest...
Four more provinces in Vietnam.

Getting worse in Bangladesh.

A second outbreak in Ghana.

Mass culling in Pakistan.
May 23rd, 2007

Indonesia - More Bird Flu Cases
The World Health Organization reports:

WHO can now confirm 15 additional cases, including 13 deaths of human infection with H5N1 avian influenza that occurred in Indonesia from the end of January 2007 up to the present and has updated its table of confirmed human cases accordingly.

Testing for H5N1 influenza virus infections is not done routinely by many laboratories and among the laboratories that do test for H5N1, experience and levels of diagnostic capacities can vary....WHO had previously required external confirmation of laboratory results from Indonesia, but following a formal on-site assessment of the capacity of national laboratory in Jakarta to diagnose H5 avian influenza viruses, WHO will now accept the results from the national laboratory, in collaboration with the Eijkman Institute without further external confirmation.

The assessment was carried out by a WHO team of virologists and laboratory scientists from the WHO Collaborating Centre in Tokyo, Japan, the national influenza centres of India and Thailand, the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia and the WHO Country Office of Indonesia.

May 17th, 2007


Drug Companies - Ripping Off Poor Countries?
The World Health Organisation is under growing pressure from countries hit by bird flu to devise a new formula for the sharing of virus samples and the resulting benefits.

Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said the WHO's 50-year-old sharing system was unfair to poor countries.

"There is an unfair mechanism in which avian flu virus samples are provided free by developing countries but drug companies patented this vaccine and are selling them at unaffordable cost for the developing countries," Supari told the assembly.

Genetic sequencing had been used in published research, commercialisation and patent requests without consent, she said. "Such practice violates the spirit in which virus is given."

May 16th, 2007

Face Masks? Yes, But...
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that face masks and respirators may help prevent some flu exposures, but they should be used along with other measures, such as "social distancing" and hand washing.

The agency qualified its guidance by noting information is limited on use of face masks and respirators to control pandemic influenza in community settings, and “it is difficult to assess their potential effectiveness in controlling influenza in these settings.”
May 8th, 2007


Relenza a Hit
Aussie company Biota Holdings is seeing windfall profits from its anti-flu drug Relenza, with third-quarter royalties of A$16 million, up from A$7.3 million for the previous quarter:

The figures are based on worldwide sales of $92 million for the third quarter that have promoted Relenza to 14th largest seller in the GlaxoSmithKline product range.

Biota sold manufacturing and marketing rights for Relenza to GSK and is involved in a law suit against the giant over its alleged failure to manufacture the drug in sufficient quantities.

Ben McCaw, an analyst with eG Capital, said increased sales of Relenza were partly because of a World Health Organisation recommendation that nations stockpile enough anti-flu drugs to treat a quarter of their populations.

Australia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Czechoslovakia are among countries to have accepted the challenge.

Biota wants Relenza to achieve a 20 per cent stake of these stockpiles. The remaining 80 per cent is held by Tamiflu, manufactured by European chemical giant Roche.

May 7th, 2007


US financial markets are not prepared for a flu pandemic, "which could begin at any time", according to the Government Accountability Office.

As part of the report, the GAO looked at the pandemic plans of seven securities exchanges, markets, clearinghouses and payment processors that are deemed to be critical to the financial services industry. The report didn't identify the organizations but said only one had completed its planning for a possible pandemic.

In a joint letter that was attached to the report, federal regulators disagreed with the GAO's call for pandemic planning deadlines. The regulators said that planning efforts are in progress at all of the key financial market organizations and are being reviewed by the government on an ongoing basis.

May 3rd, 2007


Very High Morbidity and Mortality in a Few Weeks
A global bird flu pandemic could infect one billion people and kill between two and seven million of them, according to a World Health Organisation official.

"The next pandemic may cause very high morbidity and mortality in a few weeks. It could cause one billion cases and two to seven million deaths," said Jean-Marc Olive, the organisation's country representative for the Philippines.
April 25th, 2007


Tamiflu and Relenza - Do They Still Work?
Tamiflu and Relenza appear to be losing their effectiveness, as the bird flu virus adapts, according to a Japanese study.

The research suggests that scientists may have to find new ways to combat growing resistance to current flu treatments — and possibly rethink the strategy for preventing a global flu pandemic.
April 19th, 2007


A teenage girl has died in Egypt, the country's 14th bird flu death.

Bird flu is spreading in Bangladesh.
April 12th, 2007


Tamiflu Troubles
The Japan Times reports that 128 people, mainly teenagers, have been found acting strangely after taking Tamiflu.

Eight people -- five in their teens and three adults aged up to their 90s -- died in connection with such abnormal behavior, including apparent hallucination-induced suicidal leaps from buildings....

Of the 128 cases, 100 were under age 20, including 43 who were under 10....

One boy under 10 who took the flu medicine subsequently took out a kitchen knife and then tried to jump from a balcony, and a teenage boy suddenly began hopping.

Meanwhile, South Korea will ban most Tamiflu prescriptions to teenagers.
April 5th, 2007

Bird Flu Update

Bird Flu Articles

Have 300 Chinese Really Died of Bird Flu?

Possibly the scariest bird flu news so far.

Is Your Thanksgiving Turkey Safe from Bird Flu?

Short answer - yes. But next year could be different.

The Best Bird Flu Humor on the Internet – A Top Ten List

Bird flu jokes are all over the internet. Here are my favorites, compiled in the form of a Top Ten list.

Where Are All the Bird Flu Books?
Publishers are not rushing to press with books about this important topic.

Tamiflu – Difficult or Easy to Make?

Some companies believe they can quickly produce the drug. Roche says they can't.

Chicken Consumption - How Much Will It Fall?

Sales are down 40% in some countries.

Tamiflu Update - Who's Going to Produce It?
Suddenly everyone plans to produce Tamiflu.

The Bird Flu Bloggers
Which ones are best?

Biota – The Little Aussie Bird Flu Battler
The Australian company that developed Relenza.

Star Anise – Tamiflu’s Vital Ingredient
Why Tamiflu is so hard to produce.

Will Kimchi Cure Bird Flu?

Many Koreans believe it will.

The Bird Flu Conspiracy
Conspiracy theorists are out in force.

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