Bird Flu - Archives
April 13th - April 29th,
This is the Wrong Advice
Daily Times reports that the Punjab Minister for Health, Dr Tahir
Ali Javed, has said that there are no human cases of bird flu infection in
the country. However, “consumers should avoid using chicken.”
British Poultry Worker
Has Bird Flu
A worker at the Norfolk
farm where the H7 strain of bird flu was confirmed this week has
developed an eye infection caused by avian flu. He has been given the
drug Tamiflu, but has no respiratory symptoms and is not in hospital.
Bird Flu and Face Masks
Medical News Today website reports that the US Institute of Medicine has
advised that face masks may offer only modest protection against bird flu.
The report concluded
that we really do not know how much protection face masks could offer during
a pandemic. There is no compelling evidence that they would be able to stop
the pandemic virus from entering and infecting the human body, i.e. the
evidence is not there.
The report expressed
concern about people putting on a mask, feeling protected, and going into
crowded places or areas where infected people may be.
Quite bluntly, the
report says it does not know. It is not telling us not to use a mask, it is
not telling us a mask would protect us. All it is really saying is that
respiratory protection is the last resort to control the spread of
Did a Workman's Boot Cause a Bird Flu Outbreak?
Britain's latest bird flu scare is still thought to be the H7 strain.
How did it begin?
Infected faeces from a wild bird carried into a chicken shed on a
workman’s boot are thought to be the most likely source of a bird flu
outbreak on a farm in Norfolk.
Such a breach in biosecurity will be of major concern to Britain’s £3
billion-a-year poultry industry, which prides itself on the strict hygiene,
cleansing and disinfecting standards observed on commercial farms.
April 28th, 2006
More Bird Flu in Britain
Some 35,000 British chickens are to be killed, after
bird flu was
found in samples of dead birds. Early tests suggest it is the H7 strain,
less dangerous than H5N1.
April 27th, 2006
No More Touchy-Feely
The people of Hawaii
will need to greet one another with
fewer kisses and hugs if
a bird flu pandemic comes to the islands, according to the state’s health
"Here in Hawaii we're
touchy-feely people -- we kiss each other when we say hello," Dr.
Chiyome Fukino told reporters on the sidelines of a state influenza summit.
"What we do know is that in a pandemic, those simple social graces will need
to be set aside for a period of time ... Don't kiss everybody all over the
Coast has become Africa’s sixth country – after Nigeria, Niger,
Cameroon, Egypt and Burkina Faso – to report H5N1.
Hundreds of ducks have
been culled in
Bali after samples tested positive for H5N1.
Ten domestic hens have
died from suspected bird flu in a village in
All 12 cases of bird flu
detected in the
Czech Republic in the past month were the H5N1 strain.
Meanwhile, the world
must prepare for “a long-term fight” against bird flu and
not give in
to fatigue that seems to have set in, according to a senior World Health
Bird Flu Pandemic –
Coming to Russia This Summer?
bird flu pandemic is highly probable in Russia this summer, said Gennady
Onishchenko, chief of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia's consumer rights watchdog,
according to a report from the Interfax news agency.
"The epicenter of the
bird flu virus's pandemic strain formation has shifted to Russia,"
Onishchenko told a news conference on Tuesday.
Rospotrebnadzor and other agencies' serious and successful work will largely
determine when the pandemic strain strikes our planet, he said.
Due to unusually cold
temperatures in the Southern Caspian region - in Iran and Turkey - and
rather warm weather in southern Russia this year, migrating birds nested in
unlikely places. "This explains early bird flu outbreaks in Dagestan and
other locations in the Southern Federal District," Onishchenko said.
Iran Develops a Bird Flu
Yes, according to
Iran today announced
successful testing of what it calls the world’s first bird flu-based weapons
Ahmadinejad, acknowledging that his nation’s campaign to develop nuclear
weapons has ruffled feathers internationally, said Iran would abandon nukes
in favor of bird flu bombs, which he claimed are just as effective and far
cheap," said Ahmadinejad, who made the announcement with a brightly colored
parrot perched on his left shoulder. "You just take some avian flu — only
the finest H5N1 strain of course — swab it onto the tip of a missile and,
kablooey, a million dead infidels."
NB: The website is “John
Breneman’s ‘Fake News.’”
Bird Flu Tourism
The discovery two weeks ago of an H5N1-infected dead swan at the
Scottish village of Cellardyke was expected to spell economic disaster for
the region. Instead, reports Britain's Sunday Times, there's been a
modest tourism boom.
What attracted the tourists, apparently, were pictures of Cellardyke’s
whitewashed harbourside cottages and its craw-stepped gables flashing up on
television screens. These images were supported by reports that conjured up
the sound of little fishing boats knocking against the harbour wall.
...“The pictures were brilliant,” says Eleanor Bowman,...proprietor of the
Craw’s Nest hotel in Anstruther, just half a mile from Cellardyke. “The
place looked lovely. The weather was terrific.”
April 24th, 2006
Indian Vet Did Not Have Bird Flu
An Indian vet who died after working with infected birds (scroll down)
not have bird flu, authorities have reported.
April 24th, 2006
Health authorities in
India have requested tests to determine if the
of a vet – who had been engaged in bird culling operations – was from
bird flu. According to the Times of India: “His death has created
panic in the entire veterinary fraternity, prompting many veterinary
officers to abandon duty in the bird flu-affected areas.”
A new poll suggests only
of all Americans have confidence that their government will be able to
effectively handle a bird flu outbreak.
Britain’s Daily Mail
99.8% of H5N1 germs can be eradicated in 30 seconds by a $5.35 hand
cleanser – No-Germs – that is on sale in British supermarkets and
pharmacies. (The Daily Mail also carries an excellent feature: “Bird
flu: How it spread across the globe.”)
The World Health
Organization has confirmed a fourth bird flu death in
a 12th in
brings to 204 the
total number of human cases since December 2003, including 113 deaths.
Eight penguins have become the first birds in Norway to be vaccinated
against bird flu.
“I have a bunch of
patients coming in here who are more worried about bird flu than they are
about heart disease,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist and associate
professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. “The
fear is out of proportion to the current risk.”
Shares of Tyson Foods
Inc., the nation's largest chicken and beef producer, fell Thursday after
the company slashed its earnings outlook because bird flu fears are
suppressing demand and prices for exported chicken.
authorities briefly quarantined a Singapore Airlines flight on Thursday over
fears a passenger might have bird flu.
A study published in
The Lancet today claims Europe is only "moderately prepared" ahead of a
potential flu pandemic.
…Dr Richard Coker,
the report's lead author said: "Wide gaps exist in the pandemic preparedness
of European nations.
"With the ongoing
spread of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in birds and the impending threat
of a pandemic, European nations need to work together to adequately prepare
for the onset of such a pandemic."
Bird Flu Humor - David Letterman Top Ten List
From the Late Show with David Letterman,
Top Ten Features Of President Bush's Bird Flu Pandemic Plan:
10. Hang "Mission Accomplished" sign in every Kentucky Fried Chicken
9. Torture some Perdue employees until they talk
8. Scare birds away with giant radioactive kitties
7. Be on the lookout for any bird which looks "fluey"
6. Build wall along border so birds can't walk in from Mexico
5. Never leave the house, avoid human contact -- like Letterman
4. Tax cuts for the rich
3. C'mon, it's a Bush plan -- you actually think there's ten items?
2. If you see a bird, run like you're being chased by a tiger
1. Hang on until 2009 when it becomes Hillary's headache
April 20th, 2006
Fatal Contact: Bird Flu
ABC television has
announced that its “May Sweeps” promotion will be the just-produced movie, “Fatal
Contact: Bird Flu in America.”
airing May 9, stars Stacy Keach, Joely Richardson, Ann Cusack and Justine
Machado in a tale of a worst-case scenario, if the bird-flu virus was
transmitted to humans in America.
"We feel we're
providing a level of awareness and we've gone to great effort to make sure
the film is accurate," co-producer Judith Verno said. "We've included a lot
of information we believe people need to know."
"We had wonderful
consultants who were actually ahead of the [bird-flu] curve," Kerew said.
"The way the disease popped up in China, then moved to Turkey and Africa,
were things we already knew about."
"Our movie has a
character who was in Iraq and got the bird flu there and survived - and, as
we were shooting, the bird flu hit Iraq," Verno said.
Myanmar (Burma) –
several times about fears that Myanmar (Burma) could be the source of a
bird flu pandemic, due to a backward economy and a government dedicated to
intense secrecy. So here’s further cause for concern – the alternative
Democratic Voice of Burma
website is reporting that a “Burmese vet who doesn’t want to be named” has
said that the disease is still spreading, despite official denials.
The disease is
particularly spreading in periphery areas such as Mandalay Kwet Thit Ward
and the border areas of Amarapura Township, the vet said.
As some bigger
chicken farms are worried that their farms will be destroyed if smaller
farms around them are reported of the outbreak of the disease, there have
been cases of bigger farms bribing smaller farms not to report the outbreaks
in their farms to the veterinary departments.
You can read a lot more
disease news (all of it highly alarming) from Burma at
The US government is
program of counter-measures should a bird flu pandemic strike, according
to Fox News, which adds: “Federal officials say the first case of bird flu
could show up in the United States in the coming weeks or months as birds
migrate from overseas.”
Among the measures: US
money would be printed overseas and drive-through bird flu tests would be
conducted in hospital parking lots. The large number of employees working
from home would likely put pressure on internet capacity.
Has Any Disease in India
The headline to this
Reuters report says it all: “Ill-equipped South Asia looks resigned to
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
…"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
Human Infection in Denmark
has been transferred to Copenhagen's Royal hospital after testing positive
for bird flu in a local clinic, the Danish news agency Ritzau is reporting.
April 15th, 2006
April 16th, 2006
possible bird flu has broken out in the Ivory Coast after the mystery
deaths of 100 chickens and of four dogs that ate their carcasses.
Russia has lost nearly
of its farm poultry because of bird flu, according to a health official.
Japan’s Health Ministry
plans to designate H5N1 as a
IV infectious disease, the most severe level.
Key West (US) officials
are concerned that the area’s famous
chickens could spread bird flu.
Paranoia in Egypt
Yesterday I reported (scroll down) 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.
Paranoia in Britain
The headline in
Britain’s The Times says it all: “Never mind H5N1: virulent
outbreaks of bird flu phobia are on the horizon.”
No sooner had Sir
David “Don’t Panic!” King, the Government Chief Scientist, reassured us at
the weekend about the “very low” chance of a human outbreak, than a letter
from Sir Liam “We’re Doomed” Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, revealed
plans to close all schools if and when that outbreak occurs, supposedly to
limit the predicted death toll to 50,000 rather than 100,000 children. Just
the thing to jolly up the holidays.
Seven people have been admitted to hospital in
India with suspected bird flu.
April 13th, 2006
Covering Up Bird Flu In
Sad story from
When her 3-year-old
daughter died of bird flu, Choeun Sok Ny expected sympathy from fellow
villagers in Cambodia. All she got was abuse after the death drew government
culling teams but no compensation.
It’s an excellent
report, the story of all poor countries, and why it’s so hard in those
places to beat the flu. As the article says:
If governments in
countries like Cambodia, where most people have to get by on a dollar a day,
do not compensate properly for poultry lost in anti-bird flu culls,
villagers will do all they can to ensure possible outbreaks are covered up.