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Bird Flu - Archives


Indian Vet Did Not Have Bird Flu
An Indian vet who died after working with infected birds did not have bird flu, authorities have reported.
April 24th, 2006


Has Any Disease in India Gone Away?

The headline to this excellent Reuters report says it all: “Ill-equipped South Asia looks resigned to bird flu.”


It discusses how bird flu looks like becoming entrenched in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar, despite all the efforts of the authorities. A few excerpts:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and some Indian officials say that once the virus takes hold in any country -- developed or not -- it is just about impossible to eradicate.


"Has any disease which has come in the last 50 years into India gone away?" said H.K. Pradhan, head of India's only animal diseases laboratory that carries out tests for bird flu.


…"I hope bird flu does not become part of our lives," said Faiz Qureshi, a young restaurant owner in New Delhi.


"There are car accidents in the streets everyday, but people don't stop driving, do they?" he said, surveying his almost empty restaurant known for chicken and mutton dishes.

April 18th, 2006


Uh Oh
Seven people have been admitted to hospital in India with suspected bird flu.
April 13th, 2006


This Is Sad
India’s Financial Express reports a “suicide spree” by poultry farmers, reeling from the impact of bird flu.

March 28th, 2006


11 Of 12 Indian Bird Flu Suspects Cleared; But EU Trembles

Reuters reports that Indian authorities have cleared 11 of the 12 people who were quarantined following the country’s H5N1 outbreak.


However, the same report talks of great nervousness in France and Germany, where authorities are awaiting the results of tests of suspected H5N1 at poultry farms.


Poultry producers in France have estimated a 30 percent fall in sales due to bird flu has cost them 130 million euros since November and the government announced the sector would receive 52 million euros in aid to deal with the crisis.


No EU farm birds have yet been confirmed to have the virus but health experts, including at the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say it is almost inevitable the virus will spread from wild birds to poultry flocks.


Europe is preparing for more cases of H5N1 as the spring migration season approaches and new species, possibly already infected, arrive from Africa, EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou told Reuters.


"It's a concern, because now we have the virus in Africa. Spring migration of birds coming from the south to Europe poses a risk," Kyprianou said.

February 24th, 2006


Website Says Two Indians Test Positive for Bird Flu

Is this right? I can find it reported only on the DNA India website:


Your worst fears are set to come true. The government says the avian flu infection may have been transferred to humans, and a few cases under observation are showing signs of the virus.


With two of the 12 people kept under observation in isolation wards testing positive for avian influenza, the focus shifts from birds to humans. Both cases are from Navapur block in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district.


All 12 patients, including six children, have infections of the upper respiratory tract and a history of poultry deaths in their backyard farms. Besides, all were in contact with possibly infected poultry.


The patients had been quarantined and put on Tamiflu. But the drug is effective only if taken within 48 hours of infection, and it is feared that the window was already shut in these cases.

February 23rd, 2006


Bollywood to Help Fight Bird Flu

The Hindu Business Line reports:


THE poultry industry plans to add a dash of glamour to the avian flu-hit sector by launching various campaign programmes across the country. For this, Bollywood is also expected to be roped in.


…The campaign programme, which is being chalked out, will carry different flavours in different parts of the country. The campaign's main attraction would be food melas, where chicken and egg would be cooked and "eaten in the same venue, so that people are made aware that they no longer need to fear the flu."

February 23rd, 2006


Anger in India

The BBC reports fear and confusion in Mumbai about the bird flu outbreak 400 kilometres to the north of the city:

Most traders are upset that no one seems to emphasise that chicken and eggs are apparently safe after being cooked well, so there is no danger from eating them.


They also say the government is sending out mixed signals, telling people that eating chicken is safe on one hand while allowing state-run aircraft and railways to stop serving it on board on the other, which does not help their cause.


Poultry business has dropped by anywhere from 70% to 90% and traders say they might not last long if this continues.

February 22nd, 2006


"There Is a Lot About This That We Just Don't Know"

The best summary of what’s happening right now comes in this excellent New York Times report. Here’s how it begins:


The first reports of bird flu that cropped up in recent days in widely separated countries — India, Egypt and France — highlighted the disease's accelerating spread to new territories.


International health experts have been predicting widespread dissemination of the disease for about half a year, since they concluded that it could be spread by migrating birds. But the recent acceleration has perplexed many experts, who had watched the A(H5N1) virus stick to its native ground in Asia for nearly five years.


The most alarming of the current outbreaks, if only for sheer size, were the two widely separated episodes of avian flu in India, one of which has killed 50,000 birds in poultry flocks in the last few days. The Indian government, which has long been on alert for the virus because that country is on many migration paths in Asia, began killing half a million birds in the hopes of quashing the outbreaks, officials announced Sunday.


But the most perplexing report involved the single case in France — a wild duck found dead in the suburbs of Lyon — because migratory birds from Asia that carry the virus do not normally travel there at this time of year.


"After several years in one place, why is it now moving so rapidly?" asked Dr. Samuel Jutzi, director of the Animal Production and Health Division at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. "There is a lot about this that we just don't know."


In other developments:


Malaysia has reported its first bird flu outbreak since November 2004.

Gaza - the Palestinian Health Ministry has declared a state of emergency following the mystery deaths of 600 chickens.


India – “Bird flu has entire country on red alert,” reports ExpressIndia. The Maharashtra government has placed a mother and child, plus three babies, under quarantine for suspected bird flu, and 30 others are being tested. Share prices for companies in the poultry, egg and hospitality businesses have fallen; shares in Cipla (generic Tamiflu maker) and other drug companies are up. Stung by criticism that they declared a bird flu outbreak before all the evidence was in, health officials have released details of how cautious they were.


Germany – Reuters reports that “Tornado reconnaissance warplanes and soldiers in biohazard suits were deployed to prevent the spread of bird flu after H5N1 reached the mainland. Sixty soldiers clad in disease protection suits and gas masks disinfected vehicles on the Baltic island of Ruegen where the virus was found in swans.”

February 21st, 2006


The Latest

China and Croatia have both confirmed new H5N1 outbreaks, while India investigates. The BBC reports: “Authorities on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion say three tourists who returned from a trip to Thailand may have contracted bird flu.” The Vietnam News Agency reports that three Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies are to begin producing Tamiflu.

October 27th, 2005


Indian Company to Make Generic Tamiflu

Cipla, India’s third-largest drugs manufacturer, says it plans to start producing a generic version of bird flu drug Tamiflu. The company says it has finished reverse engineering the drug, and believes it can have small commercial quantities available as early as January. This is despite claims from Roche, holder of the Tamiflu patent, that it could three years for another company to be able to produce the drug.

October 14th, 2005