Animals To Humans Infectious Diseases Map

From the BBC, a map of the world, showing risk levels of emerging diseases transmitted from wildlife.
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The researchers say the majority of hotspots are located in lower-latitude developing nations.
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free Tamiflu for all visitors to Indonesia?

You have to hand it to the Indonesians for their chutzpah, in launching the new Visit Indonesia 2008 tourism campaign, at the same time as we hear about at least five Indonesians apparently infected with the deadly bird flu virus.
The campaign slogan, inaugurated by Indonesian Tourism Minister Jero Wacik last week, is also plastered on Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda planes, Website and on its promotional TV ads, with a tag line: “Celebrating 100 years of a nation’s awakening”.
Some have suggested that the new slogan should be “free Tamiflu for all visitors to Indonesia” instead!
The country is embarking on the campaign to revive its flagging tourism industry which recorded a drop of about four million foreign tourist arrivals, in 2006.
Some of the reasons for the drop in tourism are:
Indonesia’s has not been in the good books of its Gods and the country has had to go through multiple disasters one after the other.
There was the devastating 2004 year-end tsunami, followed by severe flooding and there have been several volcanic eruptions since then.
Also, due to numerous air crashes, some involves its national carrier Garuda, air travel, which is a necessity for residents of the country’s far-flung islands, saftey has also become an issue.
To top it all, the European Union has banned Indonesian air carriers flying over the EU airspace!.
Then there have been a series of bombings by Islamic-based extremist group which operates under the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) organization in the Southeast Asian region has kept tourists further at bay.

A Jakarta court has just opened the trial of Abu Dujana, who is being charged with plotting terrorist activities, including in possession of explosives.

He is being blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which resulted in the death of 202 people, mostly Australian tourists.

However, the most worrying problem for the potential visitors to Indonesia is of course the Bird Flu virus, which has killed more people in Indonesia to date, than any where else in the world.

Siti Supari, the controversial Indonesian Health Minister has not made things easy for her country, by taking on the WHO and other global agencies by refusing to let the world scientific community have the tssue samples, from the Indonesian victims of theBird Flu virus.

The government’s apparent poor handling of the on-going bird flu health scare which undoubtedly will be on the mind of tourists visiting the country.

May be they should offer free Tamiflu to all tourists to Indonesia, just in case.

Source:

http://www.eturbonews.com/470/indonesia-launches-2008-tourism-campaign-howls-protest

Bird-Flu Mutates to Mix with Swine-Flu

Researchers have identified a new strain of swine influenza—H2N3—which is a mutated virus gene, composed of avian and swine influenza genes.
H2N3 which belongs to the group of H2 influenza viruses that last infected humans during the 1957 pandemic.
Department of Agriculture Seal

The research team at Agricultural Research Service, studied an unknown pathogen that in 2006 infected two groups of pigs at separate production facilities.

Both groups of pigs used water obtained from ponds frequented by migrating waterfowl.

Molecular studies indicated the unknown pathogen was an H2N3 influenza virus that is closely related to an H2N3 strain found in mallard ducks. But this was the first time it had been observed in mammals.

Influenza viruses have eight gene segments, all of which can be swapped between different virus strains.

Two of these gene segments code for virus surface proteins that help determine whether an influenza virus is able to infect a specific host and start replicating—the first step in the onset of influenza infection.

In the newly isolated swine H2N3, the avian H2 and N3 gene segments mixed with gene segments from common swine influenza viruses.

This exchange—and additional mutations—gave the H2N3 viruses the ability to infect swine. Lab tests confirmed that this strain of H2N3 could also infect mice and ferrets.

These findings provide further evidence that swine have the potential to serve as a “mixing vessel” for influenza viruses carried by birds, pigs and humans. It also supports the need to continue monitoring swine—and livestock workers—for H2-subtype viruses and other influenza strains that might someday threaten swine and human health.

Results of this study were published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s chief scientific research agency.

The research Scientists:

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) veterinarians Juergen Richt, Amy Vincent, Kelly Lager and Phillip Gauger conducted this research with Iowa State University (ISU) visiting scientist Wenjun Ma, ISU veterinarian Bruce Janke and other colleagues at the University of Minnesota and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The ARS veterinarians work at the agency’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa.

Sources:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=1261

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

Senator John McCain of the Bird-flu reporters?

Peter Cordingley the WHO Asia-Pacific spokesman has said that prompt notification was helping keep the virus in check after Pakistan announced its first human death and Burma (Myanmar) revealed its first human case.

      Peter Cordingley

“People have learned that hiding cases just makes things worse,” Cordingley told AFP.

Peter Cordingley also included China in his praise.

So Burma, China and Pakistan have been praised as being transparent with all the information regarding the H5N1 virus outbreaks by the WHO.

I find my self getting to be more and more like Senator John McCain  of the flu web reporters!

 !!!!!!

Is no one else upset at the above?

Surely the excuse of “having to deal diplomatically” with these “transparent nations”, can not be accepted forever by those of us who see the results of such folly on almost a daily bases!

Hiding a potential pandemic is no better and can be far worse than hiding a rogue nuclear weapons program

British Lords to look in to the spread of infectious diseases

The British Lords have now decided to examine the effectiveness of action by intergovernmental organisations, to control the spread of infectious diseases.

Their Lordships are to examine how cross-border policy issues are being addressed through UK membership of intergovernmental bodies.

(2) The Lord Chancellor

The Committee, which is chaired by Lord Soley, has chosen for its first inquiry to examine how effectively the global spread of communicable diseases is being controlled through action by intergovernmental organisations. 

The Committee will be looking not only at what medical agencies, such as the World Health Organisation, are doing but also at how other bodies, such as the UN Children’s Fund and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, are involved and will be assessing, among other things, whether there is adequate synergy between the various participants.

Lord Soley

The Labour peer Lord Soley, Chairman of the new Committee, said:

“Infectious diseases are no respecters of national frontiers.  Much good work to prevent or control them is being done by a range of intergovernmental organisations of which the UK is a member.

“Our Committee wishes to assess how effective these efforts are proving to be and how well coordinated they are. We also want to see what intergovernmental preparations are being made to cope with emerging diseases.

“We will be focusing initially on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Avian Influenza, all of them actual or potential killers on a large scale.

Our Call for Evidence has gone to a wide range of bodies with acknowledged expertise in the subject, but we would welcome evidence from anyone who feels he or she can contribute”.

Of course with the recent accusations of “Money for titles” leveled at the British Government, added to the practice of the ex Prime Minister Blair of “stuffing the House of Lords with his labour cronies”, the Noble House of Lords is considered by some, to be not as NOBLE as it once was!

Sources:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_press_notices/pn101207igo.cfm

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

Bidflu NewsFlashes Dec 10, 2007

Bidflu NewsFlashes Dec 10, 2007

New outbreak of avian flu

Poland has announced the fourth outbreak of avian flu, this time in the central region of the country. Polish veterinary officials are in the midst of culling over one hundred thousand chickens.

H5N1 has hit the heart of Poland’s poultry region. 52 large farms and several hundred smaller ones are located in the danger zone Police  have cordoned off a three kilometer area in central Poland. They have been sparing no expense  to contain the fourth outbreak of avian flu.

Full article:

http://www.polskieradio.pl/zagranica/news/artykul71453_New_outbreak_of_avian_flu.html 

WHO – Avian Influenza – situation in China – Update 5

The Ministry of Health in China has reported a new case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus in Jiangsu Province. The case was confirmed by the national laboratory on 6 December. The 52-year old male is the father of the 24-year old man who died from H5N1 infection on 2 December 2007. He is one of the close contacts placed under medical observation by national authorities. He developed symptoms on 3 December and was sent immediately to hospital for treatment. Of the 27 cases confirmed to date in China, 17 have been fatal.

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2007_12_09/en/

The Chinese Ministry ‘not optimistic’ about bird flu prevention!

It seems that the Chinese have finally decided to admit that:

A. There IS a big H5N1 problem in China

B. The Chinese authourities are not able to control it.

Here is the full article from China Daily:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-12/11/content_6311044.htm

Nigeria: Bird Flu – Health Workers Fumigate Poultry Markets Ahead of Festivals

Ahead of the Eid-el Kabir and Yuletide celebrations which are characterized by increase in poultry consumption, officials of the National Avian Influenza Control programme in Yobe State have begun the fumigation of poultry markets, stores and cages with the aim of reducing the chances of spreading avian influenza virus and associated diseases.

Here is the link:

http://allafrica.com/stories/200712100918.html

It was Not Human to Human H5N1 after all. Phew……

The Chinese Officials have confirmed that the bird flu virus that killed a man and infected his father in Jiangsu Province was a “poultry-originated virus” and cannot spread from person to person, Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health, said in a press conference this morning.

The H5N1 virus has not mutated according to the gene analysis of the virus, Mao said. The cause for the two infections was still being investigated, as both had no contact with poultry before becoming ill.

Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Ministry of HealthNo clinical symptoms of bird flu have been found among the 83 people who have had close contact with the two patients, the ministry confirmed.Sixty-nine people were in close contact with the first patient, and only his father has shown symptoms of bird flu. Six people who had close contact with both patients are still under close observation while 55 others have been released.

Here is the News Item from the official Chinese Site:

http://www.china.org.cn/english/health/234990.htm

A revalutionary new tool aginst the Bird Flu Virus.

Researcher tests water for evidence of bird flu

I believe that Todd M. Lickfett, a CMU graduate assistant has come up with a truly new idea in the fight against the Bird-Flu virus.

Like all good ideas, it is a simple one.

Lickfett believes he can greatly widen the scope of testing for a virus, by sampling the water where the birds congregate during migratory stopovers, instead of testing samples of the blood of individual birds!

Imagine 10,000 gulls in a pool of water, Lickfett said. The one gull you test might or might not have the virus. But if even one infected gull is in the pool, Lickfett theorizes, a sample of the contaminated water should detect it.

“Basically, it means you’ve effectively sampled all 10,000 birds in one swoop,” he said.

Similar research under way in Asia involves drinking water supplies of commercial poultry.

To test his wild bird method, Lickfett will collect water samples from sites including the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County.

Lab tests have indicated bird flu viruses can live hundreds of days at cold temperatures. Lickfett hopes to show he can reliably detect it at migration sites, even long after the flocks have left.

If so, his method could test for the deadly bird flu strain.

http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2007/12/researcher_tests_water_for_evi.html

It was Not Human to Human H5N1 after all. Phew……

The Chinese Officials have confirmed that the bird flu virus that killed a man and infected his father in Jiangsu Province was a “poultry-originated virus” and cannot spread from person to person, Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health, said in a press conference this morning.

The H5N1 virus has not mutated according to the gene analysis of the virus, Mao said. The cause for the two infections was still being investigated, as both had no contact with poultry before becoming ill.

Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Chineswe Ministry of Health

No clinical symptoms of bird flu have been found among the 83 people who have had close contact with the two patients, the ministry confirmed.

Sixty-nine people were in close contact with the first patient, and only his father has shown symptoms of bird flu. Six people who had close contact with both patients are still under close observation while 55 others have been released.

Here is the News Item from the official Chinese Site:

http://www.china.org.cn/english/health/234990.htm