Bird Flu - Archives
February 15th - February
Weekend Bird Flu Update
probable outbreak at a large turkey farm in the country’s east.
WHO reports a third
possible case of
The Egyptian government
says it has
contained the outbreak in
An Australian expert
says a lack of funding and expertise in
increasing the risk of a global human pandemic.
H5N1 virus is confirmed in
say four poultry workers were
bird flu more than two years ago, but never became ill.
11 Of 12 Indian Bird Flu
Suspects Cleared; But EU Trembles
Reuters reports that Indian authorities have cleared 11 of the 12 people
who were quarantined following the country’s H5N1 outbreak.
However, the same report
talks of great nervousness in France and Germany, where authorities are
awaiting the results of tests of suspected H5N1 at poultry farms.
Poultry producers in
France have estimated a 30 percent fall in sales due to bird flu has cost
them 130 million euros since November and the government announced the
sector would receive 52 million euros in aid to deal with the crisis.
No EU farm birds have
yet been confirmed to have the virus but health experts, including at the
WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say it is
almost inevitable the virus will spread from wild birds to poultry flocks.
Europe is preparing
for more cases of H5N1 as the spring migration season approaches and new
species, possibly already infected, arrive from Africa, EU Health and
Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou told Reuters.
"It's a concern,
because now we have the virus in Africa. Spring migration of birds coming
from the south to Europe poses a risk," Kyprianou said.
Once bird flu reaches
Papua New Guinea it will
quickly move to Australia, according to a WHO official.
Two professors say it
Website Says Two Indians
Test Positive for Bird Flu
Is this right? I can
find it reported only on the
Your worst fears are
set to come true. The government says the avian flu infection may have been
transferred to humans, and a few cases under observation are showing signs
of the virus.
With two of the 12
people kept under observation in isolation wards testing positive for avian
influenza, the focus shifts from birds to humans. Both cases are from
Navapur block in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district.
All 12 patients,
including six children, have infections of the upper respiratory tract and a
history of poultry deaths in their backyard farms. Besides, all were in
contact with possibly infected poultry.
The patients had been
quarantined and put on Tamiflu. But the drug is effective only if taken
within 48 hours of infection, and it is feared that the window was already
shut in these cases.
Bollywood to Help Fight
Hindu Business Line reports:
THE poultry industry
plans to add a dash of glamour to the avian flu-hit sector by launching
various campaign programmes across the country. For this,
Bollywood is also expected to be roped in.
programme, which is being chalked out, will carry different flavours in
different parts of the country. The campaign's main attraction would be food
melas, where chicken and egg would be cooked and "eaten in the same venue,
so that people are made aware that they no longer need to fear the flu."
Egyptians Stock up on
Bottled water has
disappeared from shop shelves in Cairo after panic buying. Rumors are
spreading that chickens affected with bird flu have been dumped in the Nile
River and in Cairo’s water reservoirs.
Anger in India
The BBC reports
confusion in Mumbai about the bird flu outbreak 400 kilometres to the
north of the city:
Most traders are upset that no one seems to emphasise that chicken and
eggs are apparently safe after being cooked well, so there is no danger from
They also say the
government is sending out mixed signals, telling people that eating chicken
is safe on one hand while allowing state-run aircraft and railways to stop
serving it on board on the other, which does not help their cause.
Poultry business has
dropped by anywhere from 70% to 90% and traders say they might not last long
if this continues.
It’s Difficult to Get
The latest advisory from
the Word Health Organization provides a useful summary of our present
knowledge on how to
avoid bird flu:
For human health, experience elsewhere over the past two years has shown
that the greatest risk of cases arises when the virus becomes established in
small backyard flocks, which allow continuing opportunities for close human
contact, exposures, and infections to occur.
evidence indicates that the virus does not spread easily from poultry to
humans. To date, very few cases have been detected in poultry workers,
cullers, or veterinarians. Almost all cases have been linked to close
contact to diseased household flocks, often during slaughtering,
defeathering, butchering, and preparation of poultry for consumption.
No cases have been
linked to the consumption of properly cooked poultry meat or eggs, even in
households where disease was known to be present in flocks.
Don’t Chicken Out
Bloomberg News looks at
flu and the stock market (with the headline: “Avian flu? No Time to
Now that bird flu
outbreaks have driven down poultry exports and caused prices in the United
States to plunge to a 19-year low, investors like Brian Barish at the
Cambiar Investors are buying shares of Tyson Foods, one of the country's
biggest poultry companies.
Barish said the stock
may jump 71 percent this year as the disease is contained, leading to a
rally of U.S. producers like Sanderson Farms and Pilgrim's Pride.
"Avian flu is in the
headlines now, but it will not continue," said Barish, who holds 7.8 million
shares of Tyson. "The upside is gigantic."
In London, the
famous ravens at the Tower of London were brought inside to protect them
from bird flu. Legend has it that if the ravens leave the Tower, where the
Crown Jewels are stored, the Kingdom will fall.
"There Is a Lot About
This That We Just Don't Know"
The best summary of
what’s happening right now comes in
this excellent New York Times report. Here’s how it begins:
The first reports of
bird flu that cropped up in recent days in widely separated countries —
India, Egypt and France — highlighted the disease's accelerating spread to
experts have been predicting widespread dissemination of the disease for
about half a year, since they concluded that it could be spread by migrating
birds. But the recent acceleration has perplexed many experts, who had
watched the A(H5N1) virus stick to its native ground in Asia for nearly five
The most alarming of
the current outbreaks, if only for sheer size, were the two widely separated
episodes of avian flu in India, one of which has killed 50,000 birds in
poultry flocks in the last few days. The Indian government, which has long
been on alert for the virus because that country is on many migration paths
in Asia, began killing half a million birds in the hopes of quashing the
outbreaks, officials announced Sunday.
But the most
perplexing report involved the single case in France — a wild duck found
dead in the suburbs of Lyon — because migratory birds from Asia that carry
the virus do not normally travel there at this time of year.
"After several years
in one place, why is it now moving so rapidly?" asked Dr. Samuel Jutzi,
director of the Animal Production and Health Division at the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. "There is a lot about this that
we just don't know."
In other developments:
has reported its
flu outbreak since November 2004.
Gaza - the Palestinian Health Ministry has declared a
state of emergency following the mystery deaths of 600 chickens.
– “Bird flu
has entire country on red alert,” reports ExpressIndia. The
Maharashtra government has placed a mother and child, plus three babies,
quarantine for suspected bird flu, and 30 others are being tested.
Share prices for companies in the poultry, egg and hospitality
businesses have fallen; shares in Cipla (generic Tamiflu maker) and other
drug companies are up. Stung by criticism that they declared a bird flu
outbreak before all the evidence was in, health officials have
released details of how cautious they were.
– Reuters reports that “Tornado
reconnaissance warplanes and soldiers in biohazard suits were deployed
to prevent the spread of bird flu after H5N1 reached the mainland. Sixty
soldiers clad in disease protection suits and gas masks disinfected vehicles
on the Baltic island of Ruegen where the virus was found in swans.”
Here’s Something to Keep
You Awake at Night
a letter to Britain’s Daily Telegraph (scroll down, third
I shall be losing no sleep over a bird flu "pandemic". However, for those
of you who like to have something to worry about, consider this: over 3000
people die per year in the world from falling out of bed. Now that is a REAL
fact you can lose sleep over.
No new outbreaks
reported in the past 24 hours. So here’s a brief summary of what appears to
be the latest news:
– Bird flu has been
detected in three localities, including Cairo. Authorities have
closed Cairo Zoo after reportedly discovering bird flu among some of the
– India is
culling 900,000 birds. The Statesman newspaper reports that a “blame
game” has begun over who is responsible for India’s bird flu outbreak.
The Times of India says most of the country’s hospitals “have
no clue” about how to treat the outbreak. A leading virologist says the
government must investigate whether the disease was “deliberately
introduced” to India. India’s
National Egg Coordination Committee continues to deny that bird flu has
been detected. It claims a conspiracy by drug companies, trying to market
– Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau has told the French: “Eat
It’s Everywhere! Update
India too, with eight possible human victims. (Though the
National Egg Co-ordination Committee says it's just a seasonal poultry
disease that occurs every year in early summer.) UPDATE:
bird flu death in India?
Two new cases in
finds its ninth infected bird in three weeks.
Indonesia announces another death, its 19th.
It’s Everywhere! Part II
Bird flu has arrived in
France. Officials are 90% sure it’s H5N1.
Egypt is reporting many cases.
Bird flu has spread to
another district of
Azerbaijan, a local TV channel reported.
Bird flu has been found
in 31 villages in
since October, and WHO has warned that unsanitary conditions could mean
Romania might claim Europe’s first human victims.
Iraqi Health Ministry has confirmed the country’s second bird flu death.
Bosnia reported its first suspected case.
is organizing tests on three new suspected cases of bird flu in swans.
Bird flu outbreaks have
been reported at two poultry farms in
Veterinary officials in
are testing two dead swans for H5N1.
is bracing itself, as the bird flu edges nearer across the Continent.
Spain is also
Learn How to Bury Your
Reuters reports from a
conference in the US on how to prepare for a
bird flu pandemic:
When burying a body
in the backyard, don't put it too close to the septic system. That was one
piece of advice offered on Wednesday to a business conference on preparing
for a potentially lethal bird flu pandemic.
Preparations for a
global flu pandemic, which many experts believe is overdue, have begun but
the grisly details are horrific and the number of sick could quickly
overwhelm the health care system.
…In Seattle, public
health officials are weighing the ramifications of hospitals overwhelmed by
hundreds of thousands of sick people and the need for thousands of body
"We talk about how
people should bury their dead in their backyards, how far from the septic
systems," said Dorothy Teeter, director of the King County public health
department in Seattle. "In case you're wondering, it's $20 apiece for
high-quality body bags. In New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina) they had to
The discovery of bird
flu in five EU countries - Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Germany –
emergency measures, reports The Scotsman.
They involve a halt
to poultry movements in the affected region, the setting up of a
three-kilometre (1.8 mile) protection zone around the area where the swans
were found, and a surrounding "surveillance zone" a further seven kilometres
(4.3 miles) deep.
Experts on the EU's
Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health will begin two days
of talks to see what further steps, if any, can be taken to control a
disease being spread by migratory birds.
H5N1 has been found in
wild swans in
Austria, Iran and
New H5 cases have been discovered in Romania, with further tests being
carried out to learn if it is H5N1.
another infected bird – a wild goose - has been found.
“It does look like bird
flu is coming,” says a bird expert in
Health officials in
say tests show a local man who died last week was infected with the bird flu
Nigeria, the Vanguard newspaper tells its readers: “MOVE over
malaria, step aside HIV/AIDS, avian flu is here!”
In Italy a truck driver
wife and child with a hammer and slit his own throat after losing his
job delivering chickens because poultry sales fell on consumers' fear of
Kimchi Air Conditioner
LG Electronics in South
Korea has begun selling a new air conditioner equipped with a filter made
kimchi – a pickled cabbage dish - that it claims destroys the bird flu
The new air conditioner
filters the air through a chemical mix that includes an enzyme extracted
from kimchi, which is reportedly capable of eliminating the H5N1 virus.
Kimchi Cure Bird Flu?” for more.