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Bird Flu - Archives


August 2006

Blood Products - New Flu Cure?
British scientists want more work done on the possibility of using blood products to help H5N1 victims:

Blood products taken from people who have recovered from bird flu could be useful for treating other patients in the event of a pandemic, research has suggested.

An analysis of how such transfusions were used in hospitals during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 has indicated that they reduced the risk of death and eased symptoms, raising the prospect that a similar approach could be used against H5N1 influenza.

August 31st, 2006


Don't Forget Africa
For a while now it seems that most bird flu news is coming out of Asia - particularly Indonesia. So the World Health Organization serves a timely warning:

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that unless African countries are adequately prepared, a pandemic of avian influenza would remain a threat to the continent.

"This potentially catastrophic situation requires strong government leadership for the finalisation and timely implementation of national multisectoral preparedness and response plans," Dr Luis Sambo, WHO regional director for Africa, told the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

August 29th, 2006


The Latest Casualty
Headline in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Bird flu puts dent in fly fishing biz
August 26th, 2006


Indonesia - Getting Worse, Part III

The Jakarta Post reports:

Indonesia is reducing its budget for fighting bird flu next year because emergency spending following a rash of natural disasters has left it short of money, the government said Thursday.

The Financial Times reports:

The World Bank chided Indonesia on Thursday for planning to decrease its budget for combating bird flu even though experts are predicting a shortfall of more than $150m in the funding deemed necessary to fight the virus in the world’s hardest-hit nation.

Bloomberg reports:

Rich countries need to help fight bird flu in Indonesia, where the virus has killed an average of one person a week this year, because it poses a ``quite severe'' threat to its economy, a World Bank official said.

Antara News reports:

The World Health Organization on Wednesday confirmed the 60th case of human infection with the H5N1 strain of bird flu after a 6-year-old girl was tested positive of having the virus. In a statement, the WHO said the girl from Bekasi in West Java Province developed symptoms on Aug. 6 and was hospitalized on Aug. 11.

The Jakarta Post reports:

Another suspected human case of bird flu was reported Wednesday in Simalungun regency near Medan, North Sumatra, despite the government's assurances it is doing its utmost to bring the deadly virus under control.
August 25th, 2006


Arenas to Store Bird Flu Victims
Here's the entire text of a story from CFRA Radio in Ottawa:

Arenas, refrigerated trucks and other refrigerated spaces will be used to store victims in the event of a human flu pandemic in Quebec.

Funeral directors are preparing for a human flu pandemic that could leave 85-hundred victims that would need to be disposed of rapidly.

Quebec's organization representing funeral directors and embalmers says they are taking the threat of a pandemic seriously.

August 23rd, 2006


Indonesia - New Cluster?
A 35-year-old Indonesian woman has died of bird flu, a week after her nine-year-old daughter also died. A new bird flu family cluster is feared.
August 21st, 2006


Relenza - Safer Than Tamiflu?
Some good news for bird flu drug Relenza. It seems that it's less likely to lead to flu-resistant drug strains that its big rival Tamiflu. That's according to a new study, which was carried out (coincidentally??) by Glaxo (which markets Relenza) and Australia's Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (which helped develop it).
August 19th, 2006


Indonesia - Getting Worse (Again)?
Reuters reports:

A 9-year-old Indonesian girl who died this week had bird flu, and the village where she lived is rife with the disease.
August 18th, 2006


Breakthrough Bird Flu Drug
British scientists have claimed a breakthrough in developing a bird flu drug.

A team of scientists lead by John Skehel of London's National Institute of Medical Research say they have found a cavity in the N1 or neuraminidase part of the H5N1 virus that could be exploited as a potential weak point.

But a final version of the drug may take a further five years to develop.
August 17th, 2006

Jackie Warns Kids

Hong Kong movie superstar Jackie Chan is to lead a global campaign warning kids about the risks of bird flu.
August 17th, 2006


Bird Flu Latest
Two owls have died at Rotterdam Zoo, and Dutch officials fear the country's first case of H5N1. One news report says this has been confirmed.

Cambodian officials will monitor for 30 days a village where 1,200 ducks have died of bird flu.

An Indonesian teenager has been confirmed to have contracted bird flu.

India has declared itself free of bird flu.

Traditional Chinese medicines such as ginseng soup and caterpillar fungus helped the recovery of China's latest bird flu victim.
August 14th, 2006


Welcome to Bird Flu Confusion
Welcome to the land of bird flu confusion, says the Jakarta Post. It seems everyone's to blame:

The media's job is to ensure that state officials do not feel comfortable about continuing a laid-back approach to combating the virus -- the kind of approach that sees thousands of people die in avoidable disasters and from preventable diseases every year.

Officials are extremely practiced at picking up the ball in a public show and then quietly dropping it behind their backs. And it is all too easy for them to do this when the media all-too-often exhibits an extreme form of attention deficit disorder.

August 12th, 2006


Our Best Just Isn't Good Enough
Everyone's talking about Indonesia, where things just seem to get worse. Here's the BBC:

Infected poultry flocks have now been found in 27 of the country's 33 provinces, and even the 44 recorded human fatalities have been spread right across the country.

"We're doing our best to try to stop this disease, but it seems that our best just isn't good enough," said Bayu Krishnamurti, secretary of a national committee set up by the government to fight bird flu.

August 10th, 2006


China Confesses
China has announced that its first human bird flu death was in November 2003, two years earlier than previously reported. Until now it had been thought that the first human deaths of the current outbreak were in Vietnam in December 2003.

According to a bland statement from WHO:

The [Chinese] Ministry of Health has informed WHO of its intention to strengthen communication mechanisms, and to ensure that more of the country’s research institutes are integrated into the reporting system.
August 9th, 2006


Asia Update
Thailand - probably worse than is being reported.

Laos - reportedly under control.

August 7th, 2006


Sue the Government
Most people seem to be accusing the Indonesian government of being lax in its response to the bird flu crisis in the country. So I guess the following headline from the Jakarta Post is inevitable:

Parents to sue government over bird flu scare
August 5th, 2006


Good News, Bad News
The good:

Researchers who combined a human flu virus with the H5N1 bird flu virus say that none of the hybrid viruses produced were capable of triggering a pandemic.

The bad:

Seven people from the same village in Karo district, northern Sumatra, Indonesia, are in hospital with suspected bird flu H5N1 infection, say local authorities. This is the same general area where seven family members came down with bird flu and died a couple of months ago.
August 3rd, 2006


Badminton players are panic-buying goose-feather shuttlecocks. Bird flu fears have led to the cull of millions of geese, and a resultant shortage of top-quality shuttlecocks.
August 2nd, 2006