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

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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

Bird-Flu Spreads to 60 Countries in last 3 years!

David Nabarro, the UN’s influenza coordinator, said on Thursday that the avian influenza virus has been reported in 60 countries in the last three years.

David Nabarro, UN influenza coordinator

According to a UN-World Bank assessment on responses to avian influenza, the H5N1 virus has spread in the last three years, to East Asia and on to locations in North and West Africa, central Europe and as far as Britain.

It said the highly pathogenic HPAI virus was reported in 15 countries in 2005, and H5N1 in at least 55 countries and territories in 2006.

In six countries, including Indonesia, the virus is still enzootic, which means it is continuously present and being passed between poultry.

Additionally, “we have some major anxieties about the extent to which countries’ pandemic preparedness plans are really capable of being operationalized,” Dr. Nabarro said.

“When the pandemic strikes, viruses will not understand borders and they will spread to all countries and all people of the world will be at risk.”

The good news is, that most Goverments are able to mount an increasingly improved defence, in the event of an outbreak of the H5N1 virus.

David Nabarro, said the worldwide responses by most governments have led to improved measures to detect, contain and lessen the impact of dangerous pathogens. He warned, however, that the responses have been unequal and the risk remains that the bird flu virus could mutate into a strand easily transmitted among humans.

The bad news is that “Pathogens are becoming more mobile as a result of increases in international travel and trade, and changes in the ecosystems” according to David Nabarro.

They cause diseases that threaten the health and well being of the entire world population,” Nabaarro said. “The long-term security of the human race requires all nations to prepare together – so that when new disease outbreaks and pandemics do occur, responses will be adequate and meet the needs of all people and not just a fortunate few.”

Sources:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24848&Cr=avian&Cr1=flu

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/150455.html

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

627- The number of the Flu Pandemic Devil

An influential study has identified the key mutation of the H5N1 influenza virus, needed for it’s efficient replication in the upper respiratory tracts of mice as a mammalian model.

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison report the identification of a key trigger for the virus to facilitate its easy transmission from person to person.

Mutation of PB2 amino acid 627 could be the trigger for the Flu Pandemic.

 

As in the case of most of the flu and other viruses, H5N1 originated in China.

The first outbreak in humans caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A virus was reported in Hong Kong in 1997, and resulted in the deaths of six of 18 infected people.

This event demonstrated for the first time the direct transmission of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from birds to humans with a fatal outcome.

At the end of the year 2003, this virus began to spread widely in poultry in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand and has since spread to over 60 countries around the world.

This has raised serious worldwide concern about their pandemic potential, in the minds of most people who use logic in their thinking.

Of course, not all use logic in their thinking and there are still a few people, who think that the H5N1 is an illusion at best and some kind of a global conspiracy at worst.

The name of “What-Bird-Flu-Fumento” comes to mind here.

But I digress.

Even though efficient human-to-human transmission of this virus has not yet occurred, (other than a few “family clusters” of infection reported over the years) the potential of these viruses to acquire the ability is evident to thinking minds.

However, it was discovered that certain H5N1 viruses isolated from humans that possess human receptor specificity, have still failed to spread efficiently among humans.

Therefore it was thought that an additional amino acid substitutions in viral proteins, other than the receptor-binding the haemmaglutinin HA protein, (which is considered to be a main factor affecting efficient transmission of H5N1 viruses) must be necessary for efficient growth and person-to-person transmission of avian H5N1 influenza virus.,

Now a study has confirmed the above and has identfied defined the contribution of a single Amino acid to the efficient replication of H5N1 influenza viruses in the upper respiratory tracts of mice as a mammalian model.

Writing in the journal Public Library of Science Pathogens, a team of researchers led by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine has identified a single mutation of the Amino Acid at position 627 of the PB2 , which could greatly enhance the virus’ ability to infect the cells of the upper respiratory system in mammals.

Because efficient viral growth in the upper respiratory tract of humans can facilitate virus excretion by coughing and sneezing, a mutation of PB2 amino acid 627, which contributes to efficient growth at this site in a mammal, may be prerequisite for efficient human-to-human transmission. 

As a result of the mutation of the PB2 amino acid 627 the virus could adapt to the upper respiratory system, and be capable of spreading widely, potentially setting the stage for the dreaded global flu pandemic.

Here is the original Research Article, “Growth of H5N1 Influenza A Viruses in the Upper Respiratory Tracts of Mice”  which is available under Open Access:

http://pathogens.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.ppat.0030133&ct=1

Sources:

http://pathogens.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.ppat.0030133&ct=1

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/How-Does-the-Bird-Flu-Virus-Attack-the-Human-Body-2.jpg

Beating Ducks to Death in China

I guess that I am not really surprised to find that the Chinese way of humanely “culling” chickens and ducks is to bash them on the head and body with a thick stick and basically beat them to death.

The ducks should consider them selves lucky really, I recall a video showing as to how cats and dogs are killed (for food) in China! Yes, the ducks are much much better off!

Here is an excerpt from a news item from The Standard, describing the “bashing-in the brains of the ducks in a massive cull in Guangdong province of China”:

A worker bashes in the brains of ducks in a massive cull in Guangdong province, following the confirmation of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu among ducks in Guangzhou’s Panyu district.

The outbreak means Hong Kongers may have to dig deeper into their pockets if they want chicken to be on their menu for next week’s Mid- Autumn Festival. The latest bird flu outbreak in Guangdong has forced the SAR authorities to scrap an earlier decision to allow live chicken imports from the mainland to be increased to 70,000 birds daily to meet the demand for the festival, which falls on Wednesday next week.The Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said yesterday imports of live poultry as well as frozen ducks and geese from Guangdong will be suspended for three weeks.

“All chilled and frozen duck and geese from Guangdong will be suspended for one week, and the government will scrap an arrangement to increase imports of live chickens for the Mid-Autumn Festival,” Chow said.

But he stressed that the move is only a precautionary measure. “So far, no problems have been detected among mainland poultry and poultry products supplied to Hong Kong.”

According to the mainland authorities, nearly 10,000 ducks that died of bird flu at farms around Panyu had been vaccinated against the disease, sparking fears that the virus may have mutated.

Initial tests showed that the birds died of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus, which can be transmitted to humans.

Chow said Hong Kong will suspend all imports of live chickens, eggs and chilled and frozen poultry meat from farms within a 24-kilometer radius of the infected farms near Panyu.

Guangdong Animal Epidemic Prevention Center director Yu Yedong said the outbreak was not due to vaccination problems.

“It was because there wasn’t enough time for the vaccinations to produce sufficient antibodies before the ducks caught the virus, and most of the birds were baby ducks,” he said.

The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said yesterday all public hospitals have been placed on full alert for possible cases of avian flu in view of the outbreak in Guangdong.

Sources:

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=12&art_id=53652&sid=15422261&con_type=1&d_str=20070918

Bird-Flu Outbreak in Vaccinated Ducks Triggers Mutation Fear

An outbreak of the dreaded Bird-Flu virus is bad enough for any country, it is specially feared in China, the land of its origin.

What makes the recent outbreak of the H5N1 virus, found in the ducks in farms near Guangzhou’s Panyu district even worse, is the fact that the infected ducks had apparently been vaccinated (or at least partially vaccinated) against the H5N1 virus!

According to Guangdong Animal Epidemic Prevention Center director Yu Yedong, the 9,800 ducks that died at Sixian village had been vaccinated.

However, Yedong added that the ducks were given only the first shot of the vaccine, which is only be 65 percent effective, while a second shot would have made it 90 percent.

Even so, the outbreak in vaccinated ducks in Guangzhou, has triggered fears in Hong Kong that the Bird-Flu virus may have mutated.

Dr Ho Pak-leung, an infectious diseases expert at Hong Kong University, said there were worries the virus had mutated or the vaccine had not been effective.

Lo Wing-lok, another infectious diseases expert, called for a ban on the import of ducks from areas around Panyu.

Hong Kong Bird Watching Society chairman Cheung Ho-fai said migratory birds from Panyu are likely to carry the virus to the territory, although previous H5N1 cases in Hong Kong had been found to be unrelated to migratory birds.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it will monitor the situation and step up inspections at local poultry farms.

Hong Kong New Territories Poultry-Culture (geese and ducks) Mutual Aid Association chairman Kwok Chi-yau said the outbreak has led to a 20 to 30 percent drop in poultry sales.

 Sources:

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=12&art_id=53586&sid=15407483&con_type=1

Photo Credit  VOVNEWS

“USA looking for the Bird-Flu in the wrong place” – Smithsonian Scientist

A top research scientist with the Smithsonian Institution, has suggested that there are huge gaps in the American defences, against the spread of the deadly avian flu virus in the USA.  

The potential for spreading avian flu is 15 times higher among poultry flocks than among wild birds, according to data presented by Peter Marra, a research scientist with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Zoo in Washington.

“While the U.S. does not now allow importation of live poultry, both Canada and Mexico still do. The U.S. also imported 45,000 exotic birds for the pet trade last year, he said.

Mara said that the officials should be paying closer attention to poultry flocks and imported pet birds as possible vectors for avian flu.

Peter Marra told fellow ornithologists gathered at the University of Maine on Saturday, that health and wildlife officials may be focusing too heavily on migratory birds, when looking deadly avian flu virus.

  Marra, a research scientist with the National Zoo’s Migratory Bird Center, said he believes officials should be paying closer attention to poultry flocks and imported pet birds as possible vectors for avian flu.

“Yes, I believe [migratory birds] are contributing, but I believe we have to look at these other pathways,” Marra told attendees of the Association of Field Ornithologists’ annual meeting being held at UMaine.

Marra said he had spent considerable time urging federal agencies, politicians on Capitol Hill and White House officials to broaden monitoring programs for the H5N1 strain of avian flu beyond wild birds.

But so far, Marra does not believe his message is getting through.

“Are we prepared to detect it? I don’t think so,” Marra said.

Marra questioned the usefulness of tests on live birds, explaining that birds infected with H5N1 will either quickly die or develop antibodies to the virus. Instead, officials should be spending more time — and money — testing dead birds, he said.

Toter Schwan

Marra said scientists still do not understand the ecology of H5N1 as well as how the virus might spread through migratory birds. That’s because, while the migratory patterns of some birds are well known, many others are still unclear, he said.

The Smithsonian researcher also strongly criticized some countries’ attempts to control the spread of the deadly avian flu virus by killing massive numbers of wild birds. 

“The culling of wild birds will never prevent the spread of H5N1,” he said. 

Marra’s presentation was one of about a dozen lectures or panel discussions held during the weekend as part of the Association of Field Ornithologists meeting.  http://bangordailynews.com/news/t/news.aspx?articleid=152577&zoneid=500