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Bird Flu - Archives


October 19th - October 22nd, 2005

Now Britain

The Times reports:


A PARROT held in quarantine has died of avian flu - the first case of the disease in Britain since 1992 - the Government announced last night. It was infected with the H5 virus, but it has not been confirmed whether this was H5N1, the most deadly strain of the disease. The bird, which died two days ago, was one of a consignment of 148 from Surinam, in South America, which arrived in Britain on September 16.

October 22nd, 2005


Stock Market News

The Associated Press reports:


Shares of Quidel Corp. jumped Friday after the medical test maker said its QuickVue flu test not only showed high rates of accuracy in a recent study but can also detect the virus that causes avian flu….The company said an Australian study of its 10-minute QuickVue Influenza A+B test over the continent's summer flu season accurately diagnosed the presence of Type A flu virus 96 percent of the time and the absence of flu virus 97 percent of the time. In an earlier study conducted in Hong Kong and Japan, the test was shown to be able to detect the H5N1 virus.

October 22nd, 2005


H5N1 Started in Scotland

The Scotsman newspaper has reported that the H5N1 virus was first detected in a dead chicken from a farm in Aberdeen in 1959. According to the paper, “academics are unanimous in identifying the virus as being effectively made in Scotland.” This contradicts a fact sheet from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that the virus “was first isolated from birds (terns) in South Africa in 1961.”

October 22nd, 2005


News Round-Up (Most of It Bad)

The Thai government has confirmed its first bird flu fatality in a year. It is the country’s 13th bird flu death. The official WHO announcement is here.


In Australia, three pigeons – part of a shipment of 102 racing and show pigeons from Canada – were found to have bird flu antibodies. Canadian quarantine authorities had reportedly certified the infected birds as disease-free.


Taiwan has reportedly discovered H5N1-infected birds that were being smuggled in from China.


A lengthy report in the Washington Post says Indonesia has been engaged in a two-year cover-up of its growing bird flu problem.


The Economist has an excellent report on the global fight against the virus.

October 21st, 2005


Good News Story of the Day

The Cayman Islands are not under any threat of Bird Flu at this point, Director of Public Health Dr Kiran Kumar stressed in an interview with Cayman Net News.

October 21st, 2005


Hungary Tests New Flu Vaccine

Hungary’s Health Minister has reported that a new flu vaccine undergoing tests in the country appears to be effective. The BBC quoted him as saying: "The results are preliminary but I can say with 99.9% certainty that the vaccine works." No further details are available about the vaccine.

October 20th, 2005


Disturbing Developments in Thailand

The Bangkok Post reports that a Thai man died yesterday of “bird-flu-like symptoms” after coming into contact with dead birds. However, earlier tests on the man had not revealed bird flu. The newspaper says that the dead man’s relatives are refusing to hand over the body to the hospital for an autopsy. The man’s seven-year-old son is also sick, and is being treated in hospital. Thailand has officially had 17 cases of human infection of bird flu, with 12 deaths.

October 20th, 2005


Russia, Romania and China

Russia has confirmed an outbreak of H5N1 flu at a far, south of Moscow. Romania has announced its second bird flu outbreak. China has also confirmed a new H5N1 outbreak.

October 20th, 2005


Vaccine Test Results “By the End of This Year”

AFX News reports: “Sanofi-Aventis SA said the results from trials aimed at discovering a vaccine for the H5N1 bird flu strain should be known by the end of this year.”

October 20th, 2005


Africa Vulnerable

Reuters carries an extensive report on Africa’s preparations (or lack of them) for a bird flu outbreak. Some key points:


The main risk is seen along East Africa's Rift Valley, where impoverished rural populations are already struggling under the twin disease burdens of AIDS and malaria. Birds migrating from Asia to the northern hemisphere for winter stop over in freshwater ponds, dams and lakes, possible conduits for the virus, along the Valley -- a vast geographical and geological feature that runs north to south for 5,000 km (3,100 miles) from northern Syria to central Mozambique.


East Africa is more vulnerable to bird flu than Europe and its lack of preparedness causes grave concern, a U.N. food agency expert said on Monday. Joseph Domenech, veterinary chief at the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said the wild bird migratory patterns that had brought the virus to Turkey and Romania ended in East Africa, making it likely the disease would arrive there.


"There are three big migration routes through Africa. There is a west African one that hugs the coastline and involves birds from western and northern Europe," said Doug Harebottle of the Avian Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town. Harebottle said the other routes took birds from central Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia down through the Rift Valley, while birds from further east in Asia flew along Africa's Indian Ocean coast.

October 20th, 2005


Investor’s Guide to Bird Flu

MSN Money has presented an investor’s guide to bird flu, with a list of “flu” stocks and details on each. They are: Crucell, Novavax, Gilead Sciences, Roche, Biota, GlaxoSmithKline, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, AIM Global Health Care Fund, Sanofi-Aventis, MedImmune, Acambis, Chiron and Novartis.

October 20th, 2005


Z is for Zanamivir

A is for avian flu, B is for ban, C is for China, D is for decontamination suits…. The Scotsman presents an ABC of bird flu.

October 19th, 2005


Drugs Latest

One of the developers of Relenza has warned that the world faces “a deadly gap of several years” in finding new drugs to combat a flu pandemic, should the virus develop resistance to Tamiflu and Relenza. Professor Mark von Itzstein said there were no clinical trials in progress of new anti-bird-flu treatments. He said that in his Gold Coast laboratory alone there were three potential drugs that had not been developed due to lack of funding.


Meanwhile, Roche has said it will build a new US plant to produce more Tamiflu. And GlaxoSmithKline is to start production of Relenza here in Melbourne. Currently it is made only in France.  

October 19th, 2005



A bird suspected to have died in Macedonia of a strain of avian flu has been flown to the UK for further testing, health authorities said here. Sloboden Cokrevski, head of the Macedonian Veterinarian Directorate, made the statement on state radio just days after 1,000 chickens and turkeys were found dead in two southern villages.

October 19th, 2005


Canada Gets Worried

The economic costs of a flu pandemic could rival the impact of the Great Depression, according to Canada’s Health Minister.


Meanwhile, a Canadian economist, Sherry Cooper, has told CBC News that a major flu outbreak


"would lead governments everywhere to shut down their borders, or, in effect, ground airplanes, because people would not want to travel, and that would be the end of the major trade in goods and services, at least for some period of time….And, given our global supply chains, there would develop shortages in many, many goods, many products, across the world very quickly." It would be hard to maintain food supplies "even across provincial lines, let alone across international lines," she added


She also said that she did not want to “generate fear unnecessarily.”


The same CBC News report said the Conference Board of Canada has warned that “a flu pandemic on a large scale would throw the world into a sudden and possibly dramatic global recession."

October 19th, 2005