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The North’s Korean Central News Agency quoted quarantine official Ri Kyong Gun as saying all poultry in provinces near the border with the South have received emergency vaccinations, citing a bird flu outbreak in southern South Korea.
South Korea has slaughtered about 6.5 million chickens, ducks and other poultry since early last month when bird flu broke out there for the first time in more than a year.
Ri was quoted as saying the North has also set up 1,600 observation posts along the east and west coasts to monitor the movement of migratory birds — which he said are a key way the virus spreads.
The North has intensified its quarantine efforts on poultry farms and ordered farmers to keep their poultry in pens to stop them from coming into contact with migratory birds, it said.
Bird flu article source: IHT]]>
“The virulent H5N1 type of avian influenza was detected” in the swan found dead on April 24 in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, an official said.
Ministry officials and the Hokkaido government were inspecting chicken farms within a 30-kilometre (19-mile) radius of where the bird was found.
The virus was also found in three swans in northern Akita prefecture in late April, the first detection of H5N1 in Japan in 13 months.
Bird flu story source: AFP]]>
An outbreak reported Wednesday at a farm around 300 kilometers (187 miles) southeast of Seoul was confirmed after blood tests as the virulent H5N1 strain of the disease, the agriculture ministry said.
It raised to 23 the total number of outbreaks reported across six provinces of South Korea.
Only the northeastern province of Gangweon, North Chungcheong in the center and the southern island of Jeju have been unaffected so far, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile quarantine authorities denied allegations they had covered up an outbreak of avian influenza in the province of North Gyeongsang last month.
Responding to a television report, they said they had been cautious of the results of preliminary tests on poultry at Yeongcheon City, but final results confirmed the outbreak.
South Korea reported seven cases of H5N1 infection cases between November 2006 and March last year, resulting in temporary suspension of poultry exports to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere.
Bird flu story source: AFP]]>
The agriculture ministry’s Livestock Development Department, which made the announcement, has also launched a two-month nationwide campaign to eradicate the disease.
“As of now Thailand has not reported any new case of bird flu virus for 90 days, therefore it’s considered Thailand is free from bird flu under the OIE,” the department said, referring to standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Thailand’s last outbreak of avian influenza was on January 25 among chickens on a farm in the northern province of Phichit.
Since its first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in January 2004, Thailand has confirmed 25 human cases, 17 of which were fatal. The last human fatality was in August 2006.
Thai authorities have slaughtered millions of birds to halt the spread of the virus and importing countries have stopped buying fresh chicken products from Thailand.
Bird flu story source: AFP]]>
The ministry said late on Thursday the strain of bird flu at the farm in Gimje, about 215 km (135 miles) south of Seoul, was confirmed as the deadly H5N1 strain. Workers have started slaughtering birds at the farm and six other farms within 500 meters radius of the outbreak site.
On Wednesday, the farm, which raises 150,000 birds, reported the death of around 2,400 birds since last Saturday.
The ministry also banned distribution of 3.6 million animals within a 10 km radius of the outbreak site and the destruction of eggs produced, and already distributed, in the area.
bird flu story source: Reuters]]>
They destroyed 7,000 eggs and 1,250 ducks Monday after finding signs of the H5N1 virus that causes the disease.
Seven communes in four districts – Nui Thanh, Thang Binh, Dai Loc and Tien Phuoc – have been affected.
Nguyen Ngoc Quang, vice chairman of the Quang Nam People’s Committee, instructed local authorities to focus on disinfecting affected areas and containing the spread of the disease.
Until mid-March only Nui Thanh had reported outbreaks.
Avian Influenza story source: ThanHnien News]]>
A 15-year-old boy from Subang, in West Java, died on Wednesday in an area where chickens had died, said Nyoman Kandun, director general of communicable disease control at the ministry.
An 11-year-old girl from Bekasi, east of Jakarta, who died on Friday also tested positive for the virus, the official said.
“There were dead chickens in the boy’s neighborhood, but in the girl’s case it is still unclear,” Kandun said via a mobile phone text message.
Kandun dismissed the possibility of more bird flu cases in the same family after the boy’s brother died recently. Confirmed cluster cases raise concerns over human-to-human transmission.
“It is not correct that there is a cluster in Subang,” Kandun said, adding that the brother has died of dengue fever.
Earlier on Monday, a 22-month-old girl from Sumatra’s Bukit Tinggi tested positive for bird flu and the health ministry was checking her neighborhood for possible backyard farming.
“Her condition is improving, and she is being treated at a Padang hospital,” Lily Sulistyowati, a health ministry spokeswoman, said by telephone.
Bird flu story source: Reuters]]>
The official did not give a specific date but said the Health Ministry had approved testing that would last eight months at the Military Medical Academy in Ha Tay province near Hanoi.
“We are going to conduct the tests at the academy, with people joining on a voluntary basis, including students and employees,” said the official, who asked not to be identified in the media.
The academy had been licensed by the Ministry of Health to conduct the trial but it still required permission from the Ministry of Defense, the official said.
A company run by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology said in a statement on its Web site (http://www.vabiotechvn.com) that it would produce six million doses per year for application on both humans and poultry should the tests be successful.
WHO in Vietnam said it was not directly involved in the Communist-run Southeast Asian country’s development of a human vaccine for the H5N1 virus.
“Our understanding is that this would be for local issue only and that the Ministry of Health has rigorous guidelines for quality control,” said Dida Connor, WHO spokeswoman in Hanoi.
The Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1, known as Vabiotech, said in its statement that the vaccine used for poultry would be 1.5 microgram per dose, or one tenth the dose for humans.
Bird flu story source: Reuters]]>
The substance faces a lot more testing but investors seized on media reports of it on Monday, pushing the shares of a chemical firm involved in the project, NOF Corp (4403.T: Quote, Profile, Research), up nearly 21 percent.
Traditional flu vaccines create antibodies which act against flu viruses, but since virus surfaces frequently mutate, different vaccines have to be made every year.
The group found that when a peptide derived from the influenza virus is induced into mice, it could act against cells infected by multiple strains of influenza, including bird flu.
Part of the research was reported in the Journal of Immunology in 2006, and the group presented its findings last month at Japan’s National Cancer Center. The only tests so far have been on mice.
The next step is to develop a vaccine that works against multiple strains of flu and is proved safe for humans, said Tetsuya Uchida, a senior investigator at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
“It usually takes about five years to develop vaccines for clinical use. But bird flu is an emerging issue and we would like to develop this as soon as possible,” Uchida said.
The findings could also potentially be applied to create drugs to treat AIDS, tumours and other diseases, he said. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)
Avian flu article source: Reuters]]>
Medical researchers appear to be making progress toward producing vaccines and medications that may someday prevent and/or treat the disease, but it is unlikely that the United States or any other nation will be well prepared should there be an extensive outbreak of the disease in the near future.
Since avian flu will be spread throughout the population in many of the same ways that other strains of flu are spread, an experiment might be conducted during the current flu season that could lead to a set of measures to help contain the spread of avian flu should it become pandemic in the Unite d States.
This experiment could be conducted at relatively low expense by selecting two similar communities in Rhode Island for study, and encouraging the population of one of these communities to carry out a special anti-flu campaign while the population of the second community is asked to proceed through the flu season in its traditional manner.
Residents of the counter-flu community would be asked to voluntarily wear surgical masks throughout the one-month test period whenever they are outside of their homes, especially when they are in malls and other public sites or are using public transportation. If the experiment is sponsored by a governmental authority or by a private foundation or non-governmental organization, the surgical masks might be provided free at convenient locations or sold at reduced cost through pharmacies and other outlets.
The second phase of this experiment would consist of a campaign by local governments, institutions and businesses to disinfect door handles and other surfaces touched frequently by large numbers of workers, customers and others throughout working hours. Medical and public-health authorities would propose the most effective means of accomplishing this and, again, if government or non-governmental organizations are sponsoring the overall campaign, the appropriate materials might be made available at convenient locations at no cost or at reduced cost.
Businesses, schools, public-transportation facilities, libraries and other institutions would be encouraged to establish teams of personnel assigned and trained in the most effective techniques for disinfecting the surfaces that are touched frequently. Appropriate intervals for disinfecting these surfaces would be prescribed by the public-health authorities.
The third phase of this experiment would consist of providing an antiseptic hand lotion to any personnel desiring it. The lotion could be provided at various locations where free dispensers could be installed, in schools, at retail stores, mass-transit facilities and in restaurant and office restrooms. This hand-cleansing service is already available throughout the nation in grocery stores such as Whole Foods.
The fourth phase of the experiment would consist of regular reminders in the local newspaper and in prominently displayed posters throughout the city: “This is the flu season. Your fingers are quite likely to encounter millions of flu viruses. Don’t transmit these viruses to your eyes or nose, and wash your hands frequently.”
Although the statistics on cases of flu reported to hospitals and clinics are readily available, and may be sufficient to evaluate the effectiveness of this counter-flu campaign, it might be advisable to encourage any resident in the two cities who experiences unmistakable flu symptoms to provide this information to the public-health authorities.
If the Rhode Island counter-flu community turns out to have significantly fewer cases of flu over a typical flu season, a national plan for countering avian flu should incorporate these four procedures.
(Clayton Conger is a senior program analyst with Wyle Laboratories and a consultant to the Navy. For more stories, visit scrippsnews.com.)
Avian flu article source: Scripts Howard News Service]]>
The outbreak, the fifth in India since 2006, has been reported from two villages of Murshidabad district, officials said.
“We are worried that bird flu has returned to West Bengal because the outbreak seemed to be under control,” Anisur Rahaman, the state’s animal resources minister told Reuters on Sunday.
In January, the H5N1 virus affected 13 of the state’s 19 districts, including Murshidabad. The strain of the latest virus was still being tested, but Rahaman said preliminary checks have indicated the H5N1 strain.
More than 3.4 million birds were culled during the last outbreak, which the World Health Organization (WHO) described as the worst-ever in India.
India has not reported any human bird flu cases, but the earlier outbreaks had badly hit poultry businesses in West Bengal and had a limited effect on poultry sales elsewhere in the country.
The virus could have now resurfaced from infected backyard poultry saved from culling by villagers, Rahaman said.
“We are trying to find out the reasons, but it seems that villagers had hidden ducks and chickens during the previous culling operation,” Rahaman said by phone from Kolkata.
Bird flu story source: Reuters]]>
“An oriental magpie robin was confirmed to be H5N1 positive after a series of laboratory tests,” said the Department.
The dead bird was collected on Feb. 29 near a management center in Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve in the northern district of New Territories, a government spokesman said, adding that the oriental magpie robin is a common resident in Hong Kong.
Bird flu story source: Xinhua]]>
The boy, Abdel Hamid el-Sayed Youssef, was taken to a local hospital with a high temperature, difficulty breathing and a pulmonary inflammation, spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahine said in a statement.
He moved to a Cairo hospital on Friday and is being treated with Tamiflu, the standard treatment for humans, it said.
Avian flu story source: Reuters]]>
More than 2,000 ducks and chickens were found dead at a farm in Hanoi’s outlying district of Soc Son between March 3 and 4, and tests Thursday showed they were positive for the H5N1 virus, according to Tran Manh Giang, head of the city’s animal health department.
“Most of the poultry at the farm were ducklings and chickens under 10 days old, and had thus not been vaccinated yet,” Giang said.
Giang said authorities had culled the remaining 1,660 chickens and ducks at the farm, disinfected the area, and banned the transport of poultry from the neighborhood.
“We are afraid the outbreak will expand to other farms in the district, in spite of the measures we have taken,” Giang said.
Bird flu outbreaks have been detected in 10 provinces since the beginning of this year, prompting local authorities to cull tens of thousands of ducks and chickens, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s Animal Health Department.
Bird flu story source: Bangkok Post]]>