Monday, January 09, 2006

US government announces additional funding to fight avian influenza

The U.S. Congress has approved $91.4 million in funding to enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to prevent and prepare for Avian Influenza (AI).  The funding is part of a larger request submitted by President Bush to implement the National Strategy to Safeguard Against the Danger of Pandemic Influenza.

“These funds will eneable us to (intensify) our surveillance in the United States and deliver increased assistance to countries impacted by the virus, in hopes of prevention further spread and protecting both human and animal health,” said USDA Secretary Mike Johanns.

$73 million will be used for domestic programs including the

  • $10 million to increase the current animal vaccine stockpile
    by 40 million doses and stock other response supplies;

  • $32 million for surveillance and diagnostic measures of
    wildlife/bird flyways, waterfowl birds and training;

  • $6 million for biosecurity measures to rapidly contain or
    exclude H5N1 AI virus from poultry farms or premises;

  • $9 million for trade compliance smuggling interventions

  • $7 million for continued research and development of
    improved tools like vaccines, genome sequencing; environmental
    surveillance or biosecurity measures; and

  • $9 million for planning and preparedness training and the
    development of simulation models.

The remaining $18 million will be used in collaboration with
other partners to control AI in Asian countries where the virus is
currently endemic.

(Source: USDA)

Posted by john T. on 01/09 at 01:29 PM
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Turkey reports five new human cases of bird flu

Four of the infected people are from the northern provinces of Samsun, Kastamonu and Corum, while the fifth is in the eastern province of Van, Turan Buzgan, the head of the ministry’s basic health services department, said.

It was not immediately clear whether the virus was of the H5N1 strain, which is potentially deadly to humans.The two cases from Kastamonu—two siblings, aged four and five, currently hospitalised in Ankara—have not yet shown any sign of illness, Buzgan said.

A five-year-old from Corum, initially treated for pneumonia, was brought to the same hospital in Ankara and is now improving.
A 12-year-old, who has been in close contact with sick poultry, is undergoing treatment in Samsun, Buzgan said.
The fifth patient, aged 18, was hospitalised in Van, where two children from the same family died from the H5N1 virus last week.

A third child from the same family also died but the cause of her death is yet to be established.

Source AFP

Posted by john T. on 01/09 at 09:37 AM
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

U.S. chicken farmers to test for influenzas

An industry group announced Thursday that in order to head off what could be a dangerous bird flu epidemic, the nation’s chicken farmers will immediately begin testing nearly all flocks for influenzas.

The NCC (National Chicken Council), said that poultry-processing companies that control about 90 percent of the nation’s chicken production had joined the program. A council spokesman said that testing on approximately 1.6 million birds a year will begin by January 16, 2006

Carol Cardona, A poultry expert, said the decision “makes perfect scientific sense” in that it creates a system for spotting mutating influenza strains and could help avert panics over routine flus that affect birds.

However, Cardona said, the surveillance program might not speed up Farmer’s ability to spot the dangerous H5N1 flu strain that has killed millions of chickens in Asia and 76 humans.  Read more

Posted by john T. on 01/08 at 08:27 AM
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Saturday, January 07, 2006

More bird flu cases confirmed in Turkey

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that two children hospitalised in Turkey had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng said the children, a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old, were from the same region where three other children died from bird flu this week.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan appealed to Turks not to hide poultry to escape bird flu culls. Read more at ABCnews

Posted by john T. on 01/07 at 03:13 PM
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Friday, January 06, 2006

Bird flu deaths in Turkey confirmed

January 4, 2005

Health officials in Turkey have confirmed that a 14-year-old boy died from bird flu on Sunday, making it the first fatal case of the deadly virus outside Asia.

Update January 6, 2005
A Turkish girl has died from bird flu, days after her brother and sister died from the disease.

The girl, 11, who lived on a poultry farm in eastern Turkey, was being treated in hospital after her siblings became infected with bird flu.
The cases are the first human deaths from bird flu outside Asia, where the virus has killed more than 70 people.

Some 25 people are being treated across Turkey for bird flu-like symptoms, according to reports.

Update January 5, 2005
A second bird flu fatality occurred Thursday in the eastern province of Agri in Turkey, where a 15 year old girl passed away after her brother died from the same disease on Wednesday. The Turkish Anadolu Agency quoted officials in the hospital where the two children died as saying that two other children from the same family have been diagnosed with bird flu and remain under treatment.
.. Read More

Doctors at a state hospital in Van, eastern Turkey, had initially given the cause of death for teenager Muhammed Ali Kocyigit as a lung infection linked to pneumonia.

But further tests showed that the youth, from the remote town of Dogubeyazit near Turkey’s borders with Iran and Armenia, had died of avian influenza.

His sister has also tested positive for the disease, Health Minister Recep Akdag said on Wednesday.

“Two patients (including the dead teenager) have tested positive, and there is another suspected case,” Mr Akdag said.

The suspected third case is the third of the four siblings hospitalised in Van on Saturday, the minister said.

All of them “lived in the same home along with diseased chickens and ate them,”
he said.  ..Read more

Posted by john T. on 01/06 at 10:16 PM
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Avian influenza situation in Turkey 1

5 January 2006

The Turkey Ministry of Health has confirmed its first two cases of human infection with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. In both cases the infected persons died.Case number one was a 14 year old boy from the rural district of Dogubayazit, in the eastern province of Agri. He was taken to the hospital on January 1, 2006 and died the same day. Case number two was his 15 year old sister, hospitalized on the same day. She died January 5, 2006.

Turkish authorities had ruled out avian influenza earlier this week in these cases based on preliminary test results from samples taken from the nose and throat. Subsequent tests of additional patient specimens taken from the lungs produced positive results.

Turkish health authorities have stated that since January 1, 2006, a total of 11 patients (including the two confirmed fatal cases) have been hospitalized in Van Province with symptoms suggesting infection with avian influenza. Most patients are children between the ages of six and fifteen years and all reside in the Dogubayazit district. Two of the children are siblings of the two confirmed cases.

Initial information about the confirmed cases suggests that the children acquired their infection following close contact with chickens. Deaths of chickens are known to have occurred in the Dogubayazit district near the end of last year. Although no poultry outbreak has been officially reported in the district, a confirmed outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in chickens and ducks was reported on December 27, 2005 in the adjacent province of Igdir.

Turkey Authorities are saying that the Dogubayazit district has been placed under quarantine; no people or animals are allowed to move in or out of the district. Culling operations are currently under way.

The two Turkish cases mark the first confirmed reports of human infection with avian influenza outside East Asia. Since January 2004, a total of 142 human cases of H5N1 infection have been reported in Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and China. The cases in Turkey bring the number of affected countries to six, from which 144 cases have now been reported.

Turkey reported its first outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry in mid-October of last year. That outbreak, which occurred in the northwestern part of the country, was attributed to contact between domestic poultry and migratory waterfowl. The outbreak in Igdir and other suspected outbreaks in this part of the country are thought to have occurred following introduction of the virus by migratory birds. The region, which has several large lakes, is known to lie along migratory routes.

We will continue to post updates as they become available

Posted by john T. on 01/05 at 05:38 AM
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Monday, January 02, 2006

Avian influenza update on situation in China 6

The Chinese Ministry of Health has confirmed an additional case of someone on the China mainland, being infected with the H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus. A 41 year old woman from the south east province of Fujian developed the symptoms associated with fever followed by pneumonia on December 6, 2005. She was then admitted to the hospital on December 8, 2005.The patient died on December the 21st.

On December 13, the initial laboratory tests on samples from the patient tested negative for H5N1. However, further tests on December 23, including PCR tests carried out at the Chinese Center for Disease Control in Beijing, showed positive results.

Persons who were in close contact with the infected women have so far showed no signs of the virus.

Authorities from the Agricultural department have so far not been able to confirm the presence of the H5 virus subtype in poultry in the vicinity of the patient’s residence or place of work. Investigators have not been able to confirm any direct contact between the patient and poultry prior to the onset of illness. The investigation, however, is continuing and answers to these and other questions are still being sought.

This is China’s seventh laboratory-confirmed human case. Of these cases, three have been fatal (including this latest case). To date, China has reported human cases in six provinces and regions: Hunan, Anhui, Guangxi, Liaoning, Jiangxi and Fujian.

Source: The World Health Organization

Posted by john T. on 01/02 at 10:12 PM
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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Columbus official on Avian influenza watch

Teresa Long, is one of the people on the front lines in the watch for
any avian influenza outbreaks. Being the Commissioner of Health for Columbus, Ohio puts her in the position of
of having to keep a wary eye on what some deem the next Pandemic.

In a recent interview Long remarked, “We will need to balance limiting someone’s ability to move in the community with the necessity to protect public health”.

Concern, not panic in reference to Bird Flu

Long said, There is no definitive answer to whether the avian flu strain will become the next pandemic, but there are causes for concern, especially given the high mortality rate in humans who have contracted the bird flu virus.

First, history shows that pandemics occur about three times a century. The last one was in 1968. In addition, the avian flu strain identified in Southeast Asia has already met two of three criteria for a pandemic: It’s a new virus to which humans have little immunity, and it causes severe illness.

The wild card, is the third criteria - whether avian flu will morph into a strain that can be spread from person to person. So far, only people who have had direct contact with infected birds have been hit by the virus.

“I do believe there is serious concern, but we don’t need to panic,” Long said… Read more at MSNBC

Posted by john T. on 01/01 at 10:09 PM
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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Turkey tests 6 people for bird flu

ANKARA, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Six people in eastern Turkey, four of them children, are being tested for possible avian influenza, the state Anatolian news agency said on Sunday.

The agency said a 35-year-old woman and a five-year old child had been sent to hospital on Sunday in the city of Van, near the Iranian border. Earlier, four children aged between 11 and 15 and from the same family, were admitted to the Van hospital after exhibiting flu symptoms and failing to respond to antibiotics, the Hurriyet newspaper said… Read more Here

Posted by john T. on 12/31 at 10:02 PM
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Monday, December 26, 2005

Avian Influenza Vaccine Tamiflu Isolated Immunities

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

  Another instance of the often touted vaccine for Avian Influenza, Tamiflu, was useless in the treatment of a Vietnamese girl. She developed a strain of Avian Influenza that is resistant to the drug after being given a prophylactic (Acting to defend against or prevent something, especially disease), dose of the drug after experiencing mild influenza symptoms.

  This means that Avian Influenza is now mutating at a rapid pace. And the Tamiflu that most governments and organizations have started to stockpile have an even greater chance of not doing what they were intended to do, vaccinating people against the Avian Influenza strains that in some cases are deadly to humans.

  Numerous news media releases and WHO(World Health Organization), released snippets of news that there are other vaccines in the works but it will take time to test them all and produce enough stockpiles of the vaccine to put a dent in any Pandemic.

Posted by john T. on 12/26 at 09:33 PM
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