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Bird Flu - Archives

 

December 2006


A Bad Year
The bird flu toll for 2006 - a total of 79 killed, more than reported in the three previous years combined.
December 30th, 2006

 

Good Luck
I find this hard to believe:

Indonesia, which has the world's highest bird flu death toll, plans to ramp up its fight against the virus and hopes to beat it by the end of 2007, a government official said on Friday.
December 30th, 2006

 

Egypt
While the bird flu experts were focussed on South Korea and Vietnam, the disease has 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

 

I'm Back!?

South Korea has discovered a fourth case of bird flu, despite recent extensive culling efforts.

Vietnam's first bird flu outbreak since August has spread to four more areas in the Mekong Delta.

Almost all states in Nigeria have been experiencing a recurrence of bird flu.
December 22nd, 2006

 

Vietnam Again
Bird flu is not now suspected in the deaths of 4,000 chickens in France. But Vietnam has reported its first outbreak since August.
December 20th, 2006

 

Bird Flu in France? And Russia?
The BBC reports:

French authorities say they cannot rule out bird flu after 4,000 chickens died on a French farm on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the St Petersburg Times reports:

Two geese at St. Petersburg’s zoo died of bird flu on Dec. 8, Fontanka.ru reported Monday.

The zoo was closed down on Monday. The zoo’s management said the closure was for routine maintenance in the run up for the New Year, it was reported.

“There’s nothing extraordinary in what happened. One goose died of old age and an abscess, the other, which was younger, had a tumor.

“We have animals die every month,” Fontanka.ru reported Irina Skiba, the zoo’s director, as saying.

However, the news service reported that the cause of both deaths was bird flu and that this had been confirmed in Moscow.

December 19th, 2006

 

It Might Go the Other Direction Instead
"What happened to bird flu?" asks my local paper, The Age in its Life & Style section:

"We have a visible risk in front of us," said Dr Keiji Fukuda, coordinator of the World Health Organisation's global influenza program. But although the virus could mutate into a pandemic strain, Fukuda points out that it might go the other direction instead, becoming less dangerous for humans.

...Flu viruses constantly evolve, so the mere appearance of mutations isn't enough to raise alarm. The key is to identify which mutations are the most worrisome.

"We don't really know how many changes this virus has got to make to adapt to humans, if it can at all," said Dr Richard Webby, a bird flu expert at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee.

December 16th, 2006

 

Korea - Getting Better Or Getting Worse?
South Korea has reported a third bird flu outbreak:

Last month South Korea confirmed its first cases of the H5N1 strain in about three years, saying the virus had been found at two poultry farms close to each other in the North Cholla province.

The fresh case emerged after South Korea completed culling all 760,000 poultry near the two farms, raising concerns that quarantine measures had failed to control the outbreak.

"The new case could have nothing to do with the first two cases. We cannot say the virus has spread through the country," said an official at quarantine authorities who declined to be named.


Earlier reports said that chicken sales were recovering.
December 12th, 2006

 

Bird Flu? That's Nothing
And you thought bird flu was bad enough:

Bird flu may be the tip of the iceberg. Experts meeting in Mali say the deadly H5N1 virus is just one of a plethora of diseases threatening animals and people around the world as global warming, intensive farming, increased travel and trade help dangerous microbes breed and spread.

"Avian flu is just one of many diseases that are impacting the continent (of Africa). The experts are telling us that other diseases are going to emerge or re-emerge," said Francois Le Gall, the World Bank's lead livestock specialist for Africa.

"Almost every year there is a new disease appearing, and 75 percent of these emerging or re-emerging diseases are coming from animals.

December 9th, 2006

 

Israel and Palestine - Fighting the Common Enemy
It's always good to read stories like this:

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

 

Is Tamiflu Killing Canadians?
Have 10 Canadians died from Tamiflu? That's what some newspapers seem to be reporting. Here's a Digital Journal report, with the headline "Bird flu vaccine leaves 10 Canadians dead", based on a Vancouver Sun story:

Two weeks ago, international warnings were posted of adverse reactions to the medication among children and youth.

Health Canada didn't issue a public update about the flu drug until Wednesday.

Health Canada's bulletin said that since February 2000, 84 Canadians have had adverse reactions after taking the drug, including 10 who died and seven adults who reported "psychiatric adverse events."

This year alone there was 13 reported reactions to the drug including 3 women aged 95, 88 and 81 that died.

Tamiflu is used to treat the flu and combat the H5N1 avian flu virus.

Health Canada spokesman Alastair Sinclair says there is no reason for Canadians to be worried.


But this is what Health Canada said:

As of November 11, 2006, there have been 84 reports of adverse events occurring in Canadian patients using Tamiflu, including 10 which reported a fatal outcome. A causal relationship has not been confirmed in these cases.
December 1st, 2006