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Bird Flu - Archives


March 13th - March 21st, 2006

Bird Flu Symptoms

With bird flu spreading throughout Europe and the Middle East, and with repeated warnings that it will hit North America, many people are concerned about the symptoms of the disease.


Here’s what BUPA, the British private medical care provider, says:

Human flu symptoms are:




sore throat

muscle aches



Cases of bird flu are more likely to cause breathing problems and pneumonia, and can be fatal.


A factsheet from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises:


Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which virus caused the infection.

March 21st, 2006


Bird Flu Masks

Will wearing a mask protect you in the event of a bird flu epidemic? According to an AP dispatch, the Institute of Medicine is preparing a report for the US government on this topic. However, scientists doubt that there are clear answers:

Health workers use masks to prevent infection while treating sick patients. Experts say supplies will run short if the public wants to use them as well during a pandemic. Simple surgical masks or better-filtering ones with respirators are only supposed to be used once and then thrown out. Health officials are trying to see if there are ways the ones with respirators can be reused.


Other questions involve how long the masks can be worn and how to make sure they're used correctly. The Institute will issue its report this spring.


In the UK, the government is reviewing its policies on face masks:

Stockpiles of masks and protective clothing will be increased if necessary, said Rosie Winterton MP, a health minister. However, masks will not be issued to the public in the event of an outbreak.


"We have recommended the use of face masks for healthcare professionals who would be working closely with infected patients," Ms Winterton said.


She added that stock levels of masks and protective clothing, such as gloves, normally available in the National Health Service and its supply chain, were also being reviewed and could be increased if studies suggested it were necessary.


"The Chief Medical Officer commissioned the Health Protective Agency to review the scientific evidence for the use of face masks by the public during an influenza pandemic. This review did not find any clear evidence that such a policy would be of benefit. However, the evidence is regularly reviewed."

March 21st, 2006


Punishment from God

Yesterday the chairman of the National Jewish Front was quoted as labelling the Israeli bird flu outbreak a punishment from God for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.


A Gaza imam apparently agrees. Ynetnews reports:

The bird-flu virus found in Israel last week was sent by Allah to punish the Jews for being "the worst of humanity" and is the beginning of the outbreak of other diseases meant to destroy the Jewish state within the next 20 years, a Gaza preacher said at mosque services this weekend.


Sheikh Abu Muhammed, an imam at the popular Al-Tadwa mosque in Beit Lahia north of Gaza City, went on to ask Muslims at his Friday night sermon to pray for the sexual organs of Jews to "dry out" so they cannot reproduce, a Palestinian in attendance at the mosque services told WorldNetDaily.

March 21st, 2006


Mideast Latest

A woman has died of suspected bird flu in Egypt and a man is being tested for the disease.


Authorities in Israel believe it certain that H5N1 has arrived, and a mass cull of hundreds of thousands of turkeys and chickens has begun. Also in Israel, the chairman of the National Jewish Front has said the bird flu outbreak in the country is punishment from God, after Israel withdrew from the Gaza and parts of the West Bank.


Jordan is on maximum alert.

March 20th, 2006


Israel Braces for the Worst

About 11,000 turkeys have died in Israel and more are being culled. Authorities are waiting for test results, but assume bird flu. Several reports are already labelling it H5N1, and at least one report says three workers are in hospital.

March 18th, 2006


GM Tomatoes – the Latest Bird Flu Weapon

Do generically-modified tomatoes hold the key to a bird flu vaccine? Here in Melbourne a plant scientist thinks so.

March 18th, 2006


Denmark, Malaysia, Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Israel

It’s getting worse.

March 17th, 2006


Bird Flu Impact Spreads

Bird flu is having an impact beyond plunging poultry sales. For example, there is this:


Over the centuries, Buddhists in Cambodia and elsewhere in Asia have released the sorrows born of sickness, hunger and war through the simple, cathartic act of buying caged birds and setting them free, sometimes with a kiss.


….But the tradition, in which devotees seek blessings for this life and the next, could now prove to be a curse. Animal health experts warn that the practice of capturing wild birds, holding them in confined quarters and then turning them over to human hands could spread avian flu among birds, across species and on to people.


And this:

The feathers of the badminton world are being ruffled by the threat of bird flu.


Shortages of goose feathers in China and tightened manufacturing regulations are pushing up prices of shuttlecocks, the feathered projectiles hit over the net in badminton.


The H5N1 epidemic has added to long-term concerns about the supply chain of feathers because it has led to the culling or deaths of some 200 million birds since late 2003.

March 17th, 2006



Denmark reports its first case of H5 bird flu. Further tests will determine whether it’s H5N1.


A dog is believed to have died from bird flu in Azerbaijan.


Hungary might have developed the world’s most effective bird flu vaccine.

March 16th, 2006


Bird Flu Deaths “Top 100”

The World Health Organization is still awaiting full confirmation that three deaths in Azerbaijan were the result of bird flu, but its early assessment is that this is the case. It will push the confirmed number of global bird flu deaths since December 2003 to over 100.

March 15th, 2006


Prepare for Pandemic

American politicians are warning citizens to start preparing for the arrival of bird flu:


"When you go to the store and buy three cans of tuna fish, buy a fourth and put it under the bed. When you go to the store to buy some milk, pick up a box of powdered milk, put it under the bed," said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. "When you do that for a period of four to six months, you are going to have a couple of weeks of food. And that's what we're talking about."


And Reuters reports:

U.S. government is treating avian flu as a scourge that will inevitably reach the United States and is preparing for the arrival of the deadly virus, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said on Tuesday.


However, according to an AFP dispatch, a pandemic is not looming:


"The virus has changed -- that's what viruses do for a living, but there is no evidence to show that it has mutated into a form that could cause a pandemic in humans," [WHO Asia Pacific spokesman Peter] Cordingley said.


Frederick Leung, dean of science at the Hong Kong University microbiology labs that have played a pivotal role in unravelling the secrets of the virus, agreed.


"We are no closer to a pandemic at the 100-death stage than we were at the first death," said Leung.

March 15th, 2006


Getting Worse

Three people who died earlier this month in Azerbaijan were infected with bird flu.


Afghanistan has reported a bird flu outbreak – it is thought likely to be H5N1.


Myanmar confirms H5N1.


Germany’s H5N1 outbreak may have spread to domestic poultry.


Pakistan is testing for H5N1.


A bird flu pandemic – looking increasingly possible – could cripple global finance, trade and banking, according to the IMF.

March 14th, 2006


More Cover-Ups in China

Britain’s Sunday Times – in an article published online by The Australian – says “Chinese state secrecy and academic squabbles” are denying important research material to scientists working to develop a bird flu vaccine.


According to Julie Hall, who heads the World Health Organisation's bird flu team in China, the [Agriculture] ministry has only now changed its policy after international pressure. Dr Hall confirmed the WHO had received no live virus material from the Chinese since 2004, when five samples were handed over.


….Local officials are still covering up episodes of bird flu in southern China, where it has become endemic. The latest outbreak has claimed 10 lives.

March 13th, 2006


Myanmar Testing

Myanmar (Burma) is testing for bird flu, after the discovery of “scores” of dead chickens and quails. Back in October, various officials were warning that the secrecy that prevails in Myanmar meant that the country could become the launching pad for a new bird flu pandemic.

March 13th, 2006


Cameroon Confirmed

Cameroon has become the fourth country in Africa – after Nigeria, Niger and Egypt – to report bird flu, although it is still not known if it is H5N1. Meanwhile, testing is being carried out in Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

March 13th, 2006