Bird Flu - Archives
Bird flu is not now suspected in the deaths of
4,000 chickens in France. But
has reported its first outbreak since August.
December 20th, 2006
Reports from Vietnam
accounts for two-thirds of the 66-odd bird flu deaths reported since
December 2003. The disease is said to be spreading rapidly through the
country’s domestic bird population. Yet a BBC reporter found Vietnamese
surprisingly optimistic about the prospects for beating the problem.
Mr Quang, our Foreign
Ministry minder, radiated confidence - as no doubt he was required to - in
front of journalists. But he was also articulating the self-belief of a
country which once defeated the Japanese, the French and the Americans.
Where other countries are floundering in panic over the arrival of bird flu,
Vietnam says it will prevail.
…The government has
announced that all 260 million birds in the poultry industry will be
inoculated over the next few months with new vaccines developed in China. A
near impossible task, you might think, given the number of households which
own just a handful of ducks and chickens. "You see, that's the advantage of
living in a communist system," said Nguyen Xuan Vui, the animal health
director in Ha Tay, the province we were permitted to visit. "Once the
central government gives the order, the entire country can be mobilised to
fight bird flu."
excellent report, and well worth reading in full.
Vaccinations in China, Mutations in Vietnam
to vaccinate all five billion of the country’s poultry against H5N1 bird
flu. The announcement comes after a series of flu outbreaks in birds.
to the New
will slow the spread of the virus and reduce human exposure to it, but will
also make any remaining virus hard to detect….Officials
have blamed outbreaks in Liaoning, where a woman is suspected of contracting
the disease, on the use of faulty or fake vaccines on poultry. But it is
known that the virus can persist and spread even in properly vaccinated
birds unless stringent precautions are taken.
The journal also
confirms alarming news from Vietnam:
H5N1 has already been
mutating rapidly in Vietnam, where few chickens are vaccinated. Cao Bao Van,
head of the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, told the
Vietnamese press this week that 24 isolates of H5N1 from poultry and humans,
taken between December 2003 and March 2005, show “significant variation”.
Cao was also quoted
as saying a mutation had been observed in the PB2 gene of a virus isolated
from a human case in March, which “allows more effective breeding of the
virus in mammals”. PB2 codes for part of the polymerase enzyme which
replicates the virus.
That mutation, at
amino acid number 627 of the protein, changes the glutamic acid of bird flu
to the lysine typical of human flu. The change allows the virus to replicate
in the human respiratory tract, which is cooler than the bird guts where
bird flu normally replicates.
The same mutation has
been turning up since 2004 in several isolates of H5N1 from humans and other
mammals in East Asia and shows the virus is adapting to mammals while
infecting them. It was also a feature of the 1918 pandemic virus, which was
a bird flu virus that adapted to humans.
News Is Not Good
Japanese health ministry has revealed that two teenage boys who took
Tamiflu subsequently exhibited abnormal behavior that led to their deaths. A
17-year-old boy took Tamiflu, then left home in his pajamas and jumped in
front of a truck. A 14-year-old boy fell from the ninth floor of his
apartment building after taking the drug.
In Japan the drug
carries a warning of possible impaired consciousness, abnormal behavior,
hallucinations, and other psychological and neurological symptoms. The
ministry is considering issuing a fresh warning….The Pharmaceuticals and
Medical Devices Agency said there were 64 cases of psychological disorders
linked to the drug between fiscal 2000 and 2004.
Chinese government says an eighth outbreak of bird flu within a month is
creating a "very serious situation" because the virus seems to be spreading.
Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute has found that the bird flu
virus strain H5N1 in the country has mutated to make it more dangerous.
Worse to Come?
Another bird flu death in Vietnam – the 42nd - has led to
fears that “the virus has hit the Asian nation earlier and on a larger scale
than last year.”
to a Reuters report:
The victim was a
35-year-old Hanoi man who died after eating chicken, said Nguyen Van Binh,
deputy director of the Vietnamese Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine
Department. "This is the first death since the start of this year's epidemic
season," Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan was quoted as saying by the
state-run Tien Phong newspaper.
The first Vietnamese
death last winter, the season when the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain seems to
thrive, was in December. WHO spokeswoman Dida Connor said it was too early
to know if the latest death meant the virus had become more virulent. But
Tien Phong quoted a Vietnamese government report as saying bird flu had
spread on a wider scale and had arrived in the north of the country earlier
than last year.
reporting that two people who died in hospital in Vietnam over the past
week showed symptoms of bird flu. The two victims, a
girl and a 26-year-old man, had eaten duck and a chicken's eggs before they
fell ill. A local newspaper quotes doctors as stating that both had severe
respiratory problems, fever and lung infection. A third person is being
treated for milder symptoms. According to WHO figures, Vietnam has suffered
91 cases of H5N1 human infection, with 41 deaths. This is around two-thirds
of the total human cases reported in all countries since the end of 2003.
both confirmed new H5N1 outbreaks, while India investigates. The
“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.
Says It All
Flu Virus That Is Drug-Resistant Is Found in Vietnamese Girl”
In other drug
Philippine Department of Health has urged local drug manufacturers to
try to make their own versions of Tamiflu. “[Health Undersecretary Alex]
Padilla said the
Bureau of Food and Drugs would issue a certificate of product registration
authorizing the sale of a locally produced vaccine in the Philippine market.
‘It’s up to (Roche) to file a complaint.’”
Sanofi-Pasteur is to begin clinical trials in (northern) spring 2006 of
Stephen Gordon and
Andrew Sullivan, call for Roche to be forced to allow generic production
of Tamiflu. Says Sullivan: "We have no time to waste."
October 15th, 2005