Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bird flu kills second Vietnamese this year-report

HANOI, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Bird flu has killed a 40-year-old Vietnamese man who might have been infected after eating sick chickens, state-run media said on Thursday.

His death is the second in Vietnam from avian influenza this year.

The man died in a Hanoi hospital on Wednesday four days after being treated for lung and kidney failure, the Liberation Saigon newspaper quoted the hospital’s deputy director, Nguyen Hong Ha, as saying.

The Health Ministry reported that tests confirmed the man from the northern province of Hai Duong, 50 km (31 miles) southeast of Hanoi, had the H5N1 virus.

It brought to 49 the country’s toll from bird flu.

Health officials have been monitoring the man’s relatives since last week after he and his family ate two chickens that had died from unknown causes. Dead chickens have also been reported in the neighborhood.

Bird flu story source: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 02/14 at 08:52 AM
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hong Kong disinfects markets after bird flu scare

HONG KONG, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Hong Kong health workers disinfected two wholesale food markets on Wednesday following the discovery of a dead wild bird suspected to have died from bird flu.

The bird was found on Sunday at the Cheung Sha Wan wholesale food market in west Kowloon, which is near a temporary wholesale poultry market.

“We will step up inspections and surveillance of the wholesale poultry market and remind wholesalers to maintain good hygiene to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented,” a spokesperson for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.

Further tests were being conducted on the Magpie Robin, a wild bird resident in Hong Kong.

Sources used in this bird flu story: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 02/13 at 01:49 PM
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Bird flu strikes another Bangladesh district

DHAKA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Bird flu has spread to another district in Bangladesh despite efforts by authorities to control it, officials said on Wednesday, bringing the number of affected districts to 41 out of 64.

Health workers culled nearly 1,100 fowl after tests confirmed some chickens had died from the avian influenza virus in western Meherpur, livestock officials said.

The H5N1 virus, first detected in Bangladesh in March last year, was quickly brought under control through aggressive measures, including culling. But it reappeared few months ago apparently because of lax follow-up monitoring, experts say.

So far no human infections have been reported in Bangladesh, a densely populated nation with millions of backyard poultry and thousands of chicken farms.

The government has raised compensation for poultry farmers to encourage them to report and kill sick birds as part of efforts to stamp out the outbreak. Nearly 600,000 birds have been culled across the country against the virus since March 2007, but it continues to spread and now covers nearly two-thirds of the country of more than 140 million people.

Officials blame lack of awareness among poultry breeders and non-compliance with warnings by the health ministry as main reasons for the spread of the virus.

Bird flu story source: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 02/13 at 01:45 PM
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Indonesian girl tests positive for bird flu

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A 14-year-old girl from West Jakarta whose mother was hospitalized with bird flu last month, has also tested positive, a health ministry official said on Wednesday, bringing Indonesia’s total confirmed cases to 127.

“We can say it is a cluster in a family but it is not a human-to-human case because they may have contracted the virus from the same source,” said Lily Sulistyowati, the ministry’s spokeswoman, adding that the mother’s condition had since improved.

She said the teenager started to become sick a week after visiting her grandmother, who sells poultry. The girl’s mother had also visited the grandmother.

“Some of the chickens and water fowl at her grandmother’s house died suddenly, but her grandmother is fine,” Sulistyowati told Reuters.

Avian flu story source: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 02/13 at 01:43 PM
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bird flu resurfaces in N Laos

HANOI, Feb. 12 (Xinhua)—A fresh outbreak of bird flu among fowls has struck Laos’ southern Luang Namtha province, Lao newspaper on Tuesday quoted a local agriculture official as saying.

Some 600 poultry in Nam Ma village, Long district died last week, Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, head of the Department of Livestock and Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said, noting that their specimens have been tested positive to bird flu virus strain H5N1.

The department has banned the movement and sale of poultry or eggs in the village, and sprayed fowls with disinfectants. All poultry within one-kilometer radius of the village will be culled.

“We will compensate people for their losses if we have to cull their birds, according to the rules of the department,” he said.

Previous bird flu outbreaks were successfully contained in Vientiane, and in the three provinces of Savannakhet, Champassak and Vientiane last year.

However, the four northern provinces of Oudomxay, Bokeo, Luang Prabang and Phongsaly are at a very high risk of seeing new outbreaks of the disease, he said.

Bird flu story source: Xinhua

Posted by john T. on 02/12 at 11:50 AM
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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bird flu hits badminton, national camp cancelled ( India )

New Delhi: The bird flu is not just taking a toll on chicken, it’s latest victim is the sport of badminton in India.

India’s preparatory camp for the Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers, which was to begin in Goa on Wednesday, was canceled because of a shortage of shuttlecocks.

There are no shuttlecocks to practice with because the Union Agriculture Ministry has banned the import of feathers from China after a bird flu outbreak there.

China and Chinese Taipei have the best quality of goose feathers which go into making shuttle cocks.

With all international tournaments played with these shuttles only, the Badminton Association of India has had to call off the camp.

Bird flu story source: IBN

Posted by john T. on 02/07 at 09:55 AM
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

‘Mysterious’ bird flu baffles Indonesian scientists

JAKARTA (AFP) — Indonesian scientists and officials said they were baffled by the “mysterious” behaviour of the bird flu virus here, which has already claimed nine lives this year in the world’s worst-hit nation.

Indonesia has reported 126 cases of H5N1 bird flu, 103 of them fatal, since 2005. This year’s victims have all come from the capital Jakarta and its satellite cities.

Officials from the ministry of agriculture’s bird flu control unit told a media briefing that the risk factors for human infection remained unclear after studies were conducted around victims’ homes.

“In some of the cases we found the virus in the water and chickens, but in many other cases the studies showed no signs of the virus in the surroundings,” said the unit’s Tjahjani Widjastuti at the briefing late Tuesday.

The usual mode of transmission of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is directly from an infected bird—typically poultry—to humans.

“The behavior (of the virus in Indonesia) is mysterious and we are competing with the dynamics of the virus. There needs to be deeper study on why there are more cases in humans, what are the risk factors… so we can cut the chain of infection to humans,” Widjastuti said.

Globally, scientists fear that the virus will eventually mutate into a form easily spread between people.

Indonesia has been sharply criticized for being slow to act in its fight to control bird flu, which has spread easily in a nation where many people keep chickens and other birds in their gardens and homes.

Bird flu is endemic in all of Indonesia’s 33 provinces except for Gorontalo on Sulawesi island and in North Maluku, said Widjastuti.

Meanwhile, early partial results of a study conducted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization bird flu program in Indonesia in traditional markets in western Java—which covers Jakarta and its surrounds—showed a high level of penetration by the virus.

About half of all markets tested were positive for the virus, said James McGrane, leader of the FAO program.

“It’s a very difficult virus to control,” he said, adding that the team could not say why the number of cases had spiked here.

Avian influenza story source: AFP

Posted by john T. on 02/06 at 06:59 AM
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Bird flu spreads to urban Bangladesh, officials say

DHAKA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Bird flu has spread to the Bangladesh capital Dhaka and to the port city Chittagong despite efforts by authorities to contain it, livestock officials said on Wednesday.

Dozens of dead crows found over the past two days in Dhaka have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu. City authorities have ordered a ban on the sale of undressed chicken in Dhaka markets, the officials said.

In Chittagong, officials confirmed the spread of bird flu in several farms and also in crows that tested positive for the strain.

The virus has spread to 38 out of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, and forced the culling of nearly 500,000 birds across the country.

Bird flu was first detected in Bangladesh at a poultry farm near the capital last March, but so far has not infected humans in the densely populated country.

Lack of awareness about the virus is still widespread in the country, officials and media reports said.

On Wednesday, a Dhaka newspaper printed a photograph of a man collecting dead crows at the city’s main Ramna Park with no mask and using his bare hands.

Bird flu story source: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 02/06 at 06:58 AM
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Monday, February 04, 2008

Bird flu spreads in Bangladesh

The bird flu epidemic has spread to over half of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, in what officials say is a major blow to the country’s poultry industry.

They say that thousands of birds have had to be slaughtered in recent days, threatening the livelihoods of millions of people and driving up food prices.

Experts say the problem has been worsened by official neglect.

Officials in the Indian state of West Bengal - which neighbors Bangladesh - said that the virus has been detected in 13 of the state’s 19 districts and that more than 2.5 million birds would be culled.

Compensation

“Now we are facing a critical situation, as bird flu struck at a time when commodity prices from rice, flour to milk powder and edible oil had already nearly doubled,” Bangladesh government employee Shahedul Alam told the Reuters news agency.

West Bengal’s bird flu battle

Correspondents say that chicken prices in markets in Dhaka have dropped by 25% over the past two weeks, while the price of eggs has fallen by 20% or more.

Officials on Monday said that the virus has spread to three more districts in the country - in the south and west - taking the number affected to 37.

The government has promised to raise compensation that is paid to farmers whose poultry has been culled, and that it is doing all it can to prevent the spread of bird flu.

But last month the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said that the virus “appeared to be endemic” in the country, and that the government’s surveillance and control campaigns had not succeeded in stopping it from spreading between districts.

Farmers currently receive between 60 and 80 taka ($0.87 to $1.17) for each culled chicken, which they say is inadequate. They get 60 taka for each duck.

Warnings ‘ignored’

Correspondents say that in the country’s second biggest city, Chittagong, officials have stepped up surveillance after the virus was detected in dead crows.

A newspaper in the city on Monday published a photograph of a man, wearing no mask and holding a stick in his bare hands, sifting through dead crows.

Poultry farmers have been badly affected in India and Bangladesh

Bird flu story source: BBC News

Posted by john T. on 02/04 at 10:08 AM
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New outbreak of bird flu in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 4 (UPI)—Turkey’s agriculture ministry reports new cases of bird flu have been detected in the Black Sea province of Samsun.

The virus was found in samples taken from poultry belonging to a local resident of the town of Yorukler, The New Anatolian reported Monday.

“We have determined that the wild waterfowls in the region are the source of the disease,” said a spokesman for the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs.

The spokesman said the latest outbreak affected only a small area and the necessary measures have been taken to halt the spread of the disease.

Experts say Turkey is especially susceptible to bird flu because it is on the route of migrating birds.

Avian flu story source: UPI

Posted by john T. on 02/04 at 10:06 AM
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