More Bird Flu for Indonesia!

More Bird Flu for Indonesia!

71 people (the highest number in the world) have now been killed by the Bird Flu virus in Indonesia. 

Why has Indonesia been specially selected by God for all this trouble?


Bird-Flu a valuable asset for Indonesia?

Indonesia WILL and then it will NOT and then it WILL and then…..

The Indonesians believe that they need to extract as much out of their “asset”- the bird flu that has been ravaging their country- as they can.

So they have been holding back on the tissue samples of the recent victims of the H5N1 virus in their country from the WHO scientists.

They want guarantees that the Indonesians would not be over charged for any vaccine that results from the resaerch conducted on the tissue samples of the Indon victims.

The Indonesians should remember that the entire world had rushed to their aid (without any previous agreements or guarantees) when the recent tsunami had devastated parts of Indonesia. Billions of dollars were sent by people from all over the world to help the victims of the tsunami.

For a country that seems to have been earmarked for repeated disasters by God for some reasons, the Indon people should start by sending positive vibes to the world community.

Here is a very good article by Revere at the Effect Measure, where they have been following this situation closely:

The Indonesian vaccine solution (again)

Category: Bird fluVaccines Posted on: March 28, 2007 7:42 AM, by revere

So the vaccine sharing summit in Jakarta is over and Indonesia says they will begin sharing virus again. The proviso is that they can’t be shared with pharmaceutical companies until a vaccine-sharing agreement is hammered out with WHO and that will take an estimated 3 months. I’ll be surprised if it is done that quickly, but Hope springs Eternal. Meanwhile the scientific community will be able to see the sequences (at least that’s how I read it) and WHO can prepare seed strains but not distribute them. The agreement should also allow determination if any markers of antiviral resistance have appeared and permit developmnet of diagnostic tests.

We don’t know the details of vaccine sharing because they don’t exist yet. The meeting seemed to accomplish the main thing, get Indonesian provision of the isolates unstuck so surveillance functions can resume. But what we know about the proposed strategy for vaccine sharing doesn’t sound very promising to us:

The meeting endorsed WHO’s efforts to link vaccine manufacturers in developed and developing countries to speed the transfer of influenza vaccine manufacturing technology.”We have struck a balance between the need to continue the sharing of influenza viruses for risk assessment and vaccine development,” Heymann said, “and the need to help ensure that developing countries benefit from sharing without compromising global public health security.”

Individual countries will negotiate how vaccine is made available to them.

“WHO is not involved in financial negotiations, either in selling viruses or buying vaccine,” he added. “Countries will negotiate bilaterally with vaccine manufacturers. We will certainly facilitate if countries are asking for support, but it won’t be standard.”

WHO best practices for sharing flu virus were developed for seasonal influenza vaccine, which has a market in developed countries but in only a few developing countries.

“H5N1 vaccines are a different issue,” Heymann said. “We will now modify our best practices to ensure that they are transparent to the developing countries which are providing samples and which have requested to share in the benefits resulting from those viruses.”

The director-general of WHO is committed to working with pharmaceutical companies and donors to develop a possible stockpile of vaccine for developing countries if they need vaccine, he added, but this is at an early stage of feasibility study. (Cheryl Pellerin, US State Dept. Washington File)

The fundamental problem, as we noted before, is that there isn’t enough productive capacity to make enough vaccine, even for the rich countries. Saying to developing countries, “You negotiate with Big Pharma and have them show you how to make vaccine in your country” doesn’t sound like it will work. We need an international effort to establish regional vaccine institutes on a global basis, financed by governments and international donors and outside the market system.

The Indonesians got what they asked for. Like everything else related to bird flu in that country, it probably won’t work.

Bird-Flu in Bangladesh Fast Food????

I guess that it is not really surprising that some people in Bangladesh would try and make a quick Taka (a buck to you) by selling poultry that is said to be infected with the Bird Flu virus.

The Weekly Blitz from Bangladesh reports that  some unscrupulous businessmen and poultry farm owners are selling Bird Flu infected Chickens to various fast food shops and bakeries in
Bangladesh at a through away price. Most of the fast food shops, including some famous international chains are buying these infected chickens at one twentieth prices!

Talking to Weekly Blitz, a (member of the) staff with a famous fried chicken outlet in city’s Gulshan area disclosed on anonymity that owners of such establishments are buying large number of suspected chicken at the rate of TK 10-15 each and storing these in their freezers in order to meet the requirement for several months. The staff said, generally in normal situation, price of such chicken ranges between TK. 110-150 each.

For the full article from The Weekly Blitz  go to

Bird-Flu Panic in Tripura

The state of Tripura is in the north east corner of India.

It’s Himalayan range of mountains are covered with vast forests and many unexplored areas.

Tripura is blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. 

However, I guess as a karmic balance to all the above, Tripura also shares a border with Bangladesh.

So not only is Tripura on the migrating route for a large number of wild birds, but also it now has a H5N1 infected neighbour! 

What is more, Tripura imports large quantities of poultry from Bangladesh!!

No wonder there is a bit of a panic going on in the state of Tripura.

So much so that as many as 266 trained ARD assistants (Animal Resource Development departments) will be given the duty of vigilance across the border. 

Err.. 266 “trained ARD assistants” are there to stop the Bird Flu from entering into Tripura, across thousands of Kilometers of partially unexplored Himalayan territory.

Tripura residents should have no worries then??? 

Here is an article from Medindia:

Bangladesh has proved an unlucky neighbor for Tripura, as the northeastern state of India which borders it, is under bird flu alert.

Bird flu in Bangladesh has proved a fear factor as not only is it in close proximity to Tripura, the state also imports chicks and eggs from Bangladesh.

In the wake of the scare, the Family Welfare Preventive Medicine and the Animal Resource Development departments have jointly taken all possible steps to tackle avian flu. This is according to ARD director Narayan Chandra Das.

The state has been asked to take precautionary measures by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry.

A total of 266 trained ARD assistants will be given the duty of vigilance across the border.


Bird Flu better than no Chickens!

For the really poor people in Bangladesh, having their poultry, in most cases their only source of income destroyed is no better than actually getting the bird flu.

Says Rashida Bagum a small backyard chicken farmer in Gazipur, north of the capital Dhaka, “with the Bird Flu there is a chance that God willing we may survive the disease.” she said, “but if we lose our flock then our family will without a doubt,  die of starvation as there is no one to help us here.”

While there have been discussions of some kind of compensation for the poultry farmers who are to loose their flocks during the current emergency, no one could tell me as to how much the compensation would be or when it is likely to be paid to the poultry farmers.

Via Asok Banga reporting from Gazipur, Bangla Desh writing for

More Human Bird Flu in Indonesia!

More bad news for Indonesia!

It seems that there is another person infected with the H5N1 virus.

A resident of Mojokerto, in East Java, 39-year-old Wetono Hadi is currently isolated at RSUD Dr Soetomo Surabaya.

Teguh Syilvaranto — the Vice Director of Dr. Soetomo Hospital — said that the patient made contact with birds and they are investigating this issue. Mrs. Fatonah (38) also said that his husband got a high fever last Monday.

Via Detiknews.  Full article here, but in Bhasa only:


“Super Strain” of Bird Flu from Chicken & Turkey Factory Farms???

Recently, there was the disastrous Barnard Matthews turkey factory farm episode, which resulted in the first Bird Flu outbreak in the British domestic poultry.

Now there is an increasing concern around the world about the link between the Bird Flu and other viruses and factory farming of poultry.

It is said that there is a strong possibility that these cramped unnatural conditions imposed upon the poultry in these factory farms help breed viruses and other diseases.

Dr. Michael Greger, director of public health at the Humane Society of the United States said that overcrowding in chicken confinements, where there are large numbers of chickens in inadequate ventilation, with little sunlight, all create an environment that could create a “super strain” of the influenza.

“The poultry industry is not only playing with fire,” Greger told students at ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “They are fanning the flames.”

He said wild birds are attracted to large poultry sheds because there is food there. He said he is concerned that the virus could mutate into one that more easily spreads to humans. He said the virus has already changed from an intestinal virus in ducks to one that is spread through the air between chickens.

“By adapting to chickens, (the virus) is partially adapting to human beings,” he said, explaining that the respiratory tract of chickens resembles the respiratory tracts of primates, like monkeys.

A chicken industry spokesman said such confinements actually make an avian-flu outbreak less likely here. “The reason we put these birds in these facilities is to protect them,” said Kevin Vinchattle, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association.
The above excerpts are from an article by Lisa Rossi & Tony Leys writing for The Des Moines Register.

To see the full article go to