Bird Flu - Archives
When Chickens and Ducks Start to Wobble
has problems. Reuters reports:
When Attia Abdel-Hamid Hassan notices the chickens or ducks that he keeps
at home in Egypt's Nile Delta starting to wobble on their feet, he puts them
in a sack and drowns them in an irrigation canal.
His neighbours, afraid of catching the deadly bird flu virus that has so far
killed 13 Egyptians, do the same.
That is how residents in the red-brick farming hamlet of Ezbet Sidi Omar, 40
km (25 miles) north of Cairo, are trying to protect themselves from avian
influenza in Egypt, which has the largest number of confirmed human cases
outside of Asia.
Health officials say the cultural practice of keeping birds at home, often
in secret, is aiding the spread of bird flu in the most populous Arab
country, where 24 people have contracted the disease since it emerged in
Egyptian poultry a year ago.
Things aren't getting better. Read the whole story.
March 14th, 2007
While the bird flu experts were focussed on South Korea and Vietnam, the
struck in Egypt. Two people have died this month - bringing the death
toll in the country to nine this year - and others are infected.
December 26th, 2006
Israel and Palestine - Fighting the Common Enemy
It's always good to read stories like
Israelis and Palestinians have found a 'common enemy' to fight - avian
flu. Last week, four veterinarians from Gaza spent five days at The Israeli
Agriculture Ministry's Division of Avian Diseases laboratories near Tel
Aviv, studying techniques for diagnosing and dealing with avian flu.
..."Geographical borders mean nothing to diseases, and birds," said Israeli
lab head Dr. Shimon Perk who led the Palestinian delegation in their
training. "I'm not a politician, but neither is this disease. It doesn't
differentiate between Palestinians and Israelis."
...According to Perk, relations between the two sides have, in some cases,
gone beyond just the professional sphere. "We also meet at the Erez border
crossing (between Israel and the Gaza Strip) for discussions about our work,
and we also meet up at conferences around the world."
The latter, naturally, also involve other regional players. "The conferences
also provide an opportunity to meet our colleagues from Jordan and Egypt and
other countries, and we have regional committee meetings on veterinarian
issues too," Perk continues. "Some of us are now close friends. It is
certainly a healthy relationship."
December 4th, 2006
Egypt's Health Minister, Hatem Al Gabali, fears
more human bird flu cases in the coming weeks:
“Bird flu is still present and we will witness new cases this winter. We
just hope they won’t be fatal,” he told parliament.
“The population still refrains from informing the authorities when poultry
is infected, especially in domestic rearings,” he added.
October 18th, 2006
Uh Oh (Part II)
Another ominous headline:
Egypt detects new human H5N1 bird flu case
October 11th, 2006
More Retrospective Cases
First China, then South Korea report new cases of bird flu that occurred
months (or years) ago, but have only just been confirmed.
September 20th, 2006
Middle East - Getting Better
Reuters carries a very interesting bird flu "situation report" from the
looking at developments in the leading countries.
Essentially, the news is good. Chicken sales - which plummeted throughout
the region earlier in the year, when bird flu was reported in several
countries - have recovered in many areas. And preventative measures,
including a mass poultry culling in Egypt and quarantining in Iran, seem to
have had an effect.
Now, if only something can be done about Asia...
June 17th, 2006
Paranoia in Egypt
Yesterday I reported on the sad case of the Cambodian
mother abused by fellow villagers after her daughter died of bird flu. The
New York Times has a similar report from
Given the choice
between the possibility her children would fall ill from bird flu or the
certainty they would go hungry if she got rid of the ducks she raised in her
home, Hamida Abdullah said there was really no choice at all.
…Telling poor Egyptians in the countryside they cannot raise poultry at home
for food and extra income would be like prohibiting Russians from growing
vegetables at their dachas. It would cut off not only a crucial source of
nutrition, but also a lifestyle that has deep cultural roots.
The World Health Organization has confirmed
four cases of human
infection (not five as I reported yesterday) from bird flu in Egypt,
including two deaths. A fifth case is pending.
The WHO announcement notes that nine countries have now experienced
confirmed cases of human infection from bird flu since December 2003. Four
countries - Turkey, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Egypt - reported their first cases
April 4th, 2006
Egypt – Getting Worse
The Egyptian Health
Minister has reported
cases of people infected with bird flu, bringing the total in the
country to eight. (So far the World Health Organization has confirmed only
five of the
cases, including two deaths.)
And the Egyptian
government has blamed a
refusal by poultry farmers to follow sanitation instructions for the
continuing spread of the disease.
Bird Flu Probably in
bird flu has spread to the Gaza Strip. In what Reuters describes as “a
rare show of cooperation,” Israel is conducting the tests for bird flu on
behalf of the Palestinian Authority. An Israeli business website reports
gefilte fish sales are rising, in advance of Passover, with poultry
Punishment from God,
Israeli rabbi has
blamed the country’s flu outbreak on election campaign ads by left-wing
Israeli parties calling for the legalization of gay marriage
“The Bible says that
God punishes depravity first through blights on animals, and then on
humans,” David Basri, a top kabbalist, was quoted as writing this week in an
Punishment from God
Yesterday the chairman
of the National Jewish Front was quoted as labelling the Israeli bird flu
punishment from God for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the
A Gaza imam apparently
The bird-flu virus found in Israel last week was sent by Allah to punish
the Jews for being "the worst of humanity" and is the beginning of the
outbreak of other diseases meant to destroy the Jewish state within the next
20 years, a Gaza preacher said at mosque services this weekend.
Sheikh Abu Muhammed,
an imam at the popular Al-Tadwa mosque in Beit Lahia north of Gaza City,
went on to ask Muslims at his Friday night sermon to pray for the sexual
organs of Jews to "dry out" so they cannot reproduce, a Palestinian in
attendance at the mosque services told WorldNetDaily.
A woman has died of
suspected bird flu in
and a man is being tested for the disease.
Israel believe it certain that H5N1 has arrived, and a mass cull of
hundreds of thousands of turkeys and chickens has begun. Also in
the chairman of the National Jewish Front has said the bird flu outbreak in
the country is punishment from God, after Israel withdrew from the Gaza and
parts of the West Bank.
Jordan is on maximum alert.
Israel Braces for the
About 11,000 turkeys
have died in
Israel and more are being culled. Authorities are waiting for test
results, but assume bird flu. Several reports are already labelling it H5N1,
and at least
one report says three workers are in hospital.
A team of WHO experts is
travelling to Northern Iraq to
investigate the bird flu
death there of a 15-year-old girl. WHO says that two other cases –
including the girl’s uncle, who has also died – are also being investigated.
But Reuters reports that
are being investigated as possible sufferers.
NBC reports that “Iraq
is on high alert,” but then – confusingly – adds:
The announcement that
bird flu has arrived apparently has caused little concern to a populace
hardened by years of war and death. Many simply don't believe it. Others,
however, are culling their own flocks.
The Pentagon said
U.S. troops in Iraq won't be taking additional health precautions, but they
will be on the lookout for flulike symptoms. "It's a situation that is being
monitored closely," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Whitman said no
symptoms of bird flu have been detected among the approximately 138,000 U.S.
troops in Iraq.
Iraqi Death – Health
A laboratory in Egypt
has reportedly confirmed that an
Iraqi girl has died of bird flu. If verified by WHO, it will be the
first case outside East Asia and Turkey. It is not good news. As the
New York Times reports:
The confirmation of
the cause of the girl's death also suggests, officials said, that the
disease may be spreading widely — and undetected — among birds in the
countries of central Asia, which are poorly equipped to identify and report
infections. Avian flu has never been reported in birds in Iraq.
As happened in Turkey
earlier this month, the spread of the H5N1 strain of bird flu to a new part
of the world became evident only through a human death. That is notable, and
alarming to health officials, because bird flu rarely infects humans, and
usually does so late in the course of an animal outbreak, after close
contact with sick birds.
Infection in Israel?
flu hit the Middle East? The Israeli Health Ministry is arranging tests of
the blood of a local man who was in hospital last week with flu-like
symptoms. He has since recovered.
Ministry reported Tuesday that it was examining suspicions that the Galilee
resident, who feeds birds at the nature reserve, had contracted avian flu. A
test on saliva taken from his pharynx showed that he did not carry the
virus, but on Thursday it was revealed that his blood tests raised
suspicions that he had the disease, and had probably contracted a virulent
strain of the virus.
To date, the
only reported human cases since late-2003 have been in China, Vietnam,
Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.