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Bird Flu - Archives

 
World Health Organization
 

Bird Flu - Dying Young
The latest study from WHO is not encouraging. Some key points:

- Bird flu tends to kill younger people, mirroring the pattern of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The median age of confirmed cases is 20 years. The fatality rate is 56%, but among patients aged 10 to 19 years it is 73%.

- The virus is now considered endemic in poultry in some parts of the world, while continuing to spread to birds in new areas.

- Fatalities from H5N1 have almost tripled this year.

- While cases have occurred all year round, the epidemiological curve of H5N1 cases has peaked during the cooler periods in the Northern Hemisphere, suggesting an upsurge in cases in late 2006 or early 2007.

- The risk of the virus evolving into a more transmissible agent in humans remains high.
July 1st, 2006

 

WHO Update

Here are the latest bird flu figures from the World Health Organization, starting from December 26, 2003. These are confirmed cases only. The recent controversy over the possibility of 300 bird flu deaths in China has shown that the actual number of cases could be radically different from the official figures.

 

China – since mid-October there have been 25 bird flu outbreaks in nine provinces. Altogether, three cases of human infection have been confirmed in China, two of them fatal.

 

Indonesia – a 16-year-old West Java boy is in stable condition in hospital after suffering from the H5N1 virus. It brings the total number of cases in Indonesia to 12, of which seven have been fatal. However, two of the boy’s brothers died before his hospitalization, having displayed similar symptoms. No samples were taken before their burial, and it cannot be confirmed that they were bird flu victims.

 

Vietnam – the latest case is a 15-year-old boy, who has now been discharged from hospital and is recovering. Altogether, Vietnam has reported 93 cases of human infection, including 42 deaths.

 

Thailand – the latest case, early in November, was an 18-month-old boy who has recovered. Thailand has reported 21 cases, with 13 of them fatal.

 

Cambodia – the only other country with reported cases of human infection. Cambodia has had no new reported cases since April this year, and the figure remains at four cases, all of them fatal.

November 30th, 2005

 

WHO Updates

WHO has officially announced another case of bird flu human infection in Thailand, a seven-year-old boy who has now recovered. It is the country’s 19th case.

 

WHO has also reported that in Indonesia a four-year-old boy has been confirmed as having had bird flu. He has now recovered. And a man who died at the end of September is now confirmed as having died of bird flu. These are Indonesia’s sixth and seventh bird flu cases, with four deaths. This brings to 62 the total number of deaths since the end of 2003.

 

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports two possible new cases of human bird flu infection. A poultry farm worker is in hospital in Nakhon Pathom province and a young girl is being treated in Kanchanaburi province,

October 25th, 2005

 

North Korea Knows That Transparency Necessary

WHO Director-General and Korean national Lee Jong-wook has told a Seoul press conference that North Korea was well aware of the threat posed by bird flu.

 

"When an avian influenza outbreak was reported in the North last time, we told Pyongyang that sharing information with WHO and receiving our medication and equipment would help them," Dr. Lee said. "North Korea knows that it has to handle the case transparently."

 

In March, North Korea reported that it had culled hundreds of thousands of chickens after a bird flu outbreak at “two or three” farms, including Hadang farm in Pyongyang, one of the capital city's largest. It did not specify the strain of flu, but asked for international assistance. North and South Korean officials have held government-level talks on the problem. Such meetings are rare, and it suggests that North Korea takes the bird flu threat seriously. In July it was reported that North Korea had successfully ended the outbreak, which it said was of the H7 strain.

October 14th, 2005