“Bird-Flu Panic in India” is not just another Headline Hype.

The Bird-Flu outbreak in the North East state of Manipur is creating havoc with the lives of the residents of the state as the Government launches emergency measures to fight the H5N1 Virus.

Following are a few news reports of the effects that the Bird-Flu outbreak is having in many parts of the country.

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In Manipur, the Government has imposed a ban on the sale of Poultry. The police have shutdown all poultry shops.

Most poultry shops in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, including the traditional Murgi Bazar (Chicken Market) of Khwairamband remained closed for the second consecutive day on Friday.

The Manipur poultry farmers are even harder hit with their entire stock of Poultry being taken away and destroyed.

The “panic” seems to have spread to several other states as well, in this vast country.

The State Governments of Orissa, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh Rajasthan and many other states have issued emergency orders to try and prepare for the worse scenario.

There is a great concern in Andhra Pradesh(AP) in terms of an economic loss for the state.

The poultry association is panic struck for they fear a loss of Rs 200 crores (1 Carore is 10000000) a month if egg exports are stopped.

One crore table eggs from the state are exported every month to Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Due to the bird flu scare last year these countries had banned the eggs from India . The total loss that year was put around Rs 1000 crores.

It is understandable that the poultry trade in that state is scared of a repeat of the same this year

In Punjab (another huge supplier of poultry) the poultry trade was also “consumed by fear” after the news of the pathogenic avian influenza in poultry of Manipur spread.

In Nagaland, right next to the afflicted Manipur, the things are very tense indeed.

The Nagaland Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry held a high-level meeting yesterday and decided to intensify the existing ban on import of poultry and pigs and their products from neighbouring Manipur and Myanmar.

They also decided to carry out fogging (de-infection) on all vehicles entering the State from Manipur at Khuzama and Phesama check gates and asked villagers in nearby areas to co-operate with the government officials.

An alert has also been sounded in Rajasthan.

‘We have sounded an alert and have asked the animal husbandry department officials to remain vigilant,’ Prabhulal Saini, Rajasthan’s Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister told IANS here on Friday.

He said that surveillance teams comprising of veterinary doctors and assistants have been constituted and they have been asked to visit poultry farms and places where migratory birds come. The teams will submit their reports to the animal husbandry department on a regular basis.

The state has a big poultry industry with over 6.3 million birds, out of which the Ajmer district has over 2.5 million birds. Officials of the animal husbandry department said that to save these birds from the disease, the department has decided to inspect all the poultry farms in the state.

There are similar stories from all over the country arriving every hour.

Sources:

http://www.medindia.com/news/Bird-Flu-Outbreak-Affects-Poultry-Business-in-Manipur-24181-1.htm

http://www.indiaenews.com/health/20070727/62767.htm

http://www.indiaenews.com/health/20070727/62820.htm

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Prices of Chickens and Eggs Crash as Bird-Flu arrives in India.

The outbreak of the H5N1 virus in the extreme North East of India, at the India-Myanmar border, seems to have had an immediate effect on the psyche of the entire country.

 Even though the capital Delhi is over a thousand Kilometres away from the infected area, a day after the government confirmed the outbreak of bird flu, chicken prices fell by over 20 per cent in Delhi’s wholesale market while eggs became cheaper by Rs 8 per 100 numbers at Barwala in Haryana.“The prices fell to Rs 145 per 100 eggs today from Rs 153 yesterday at Barwala,” a poultry farmer said, adding this would influence prices in Delhi as well.Asked about the impact on chicken prices, he said: “The farm gate prices in Delhi declined to Rs 36 from Rs 46 per kg within a day of the announcement of bird flu.”

The poultry industry did not expect the outbreak of bird flu to hit domestic prices of chicken and egg in most of the major consuming centres in the north and other areas as the incident reported from a remote part of the country.

“We are all preying with all of our might that we do not have a human case of Bird-Flu as that would be absolutely devastating to the Poultry Industry in India”, said an official from the Agriculture Ministry, asking not to be named. India has had no human cases of bird flu as yet.

Control and containment measures were initiated after confirmation of Avian Influenza by the Government of India.

A high level meeting of concerned Departments, agencies and local representatives was chaired by the Chief Minister of Manipur, SHRI OKRAM IBOBI SINGH
on 25th July, 2007 in order to determine the strategy for control and containment.

All chickens and other domesticated birds within five kilometres of the Chingmeirong area (where the virus was detected) would be killed to prevent the spread of avian influenza, officials said.The state government, which described the situation as “very serious”, said it would compensate poultry owners. It was estimated that about Rs 60 lakh would be spent for this, the officials said.About 5,000 chicks and adult chickens at the government -run poultry farm in Mantripurkhri on Imphal’s outskirts would come under the knife along with 1.6 lakh birds being reared in private poultry farms.The culling operation would cover 128 small poultry units. Twenty rapid response teams will initially focus on eight villages surrounding the area of infection, said a statement issued by the Union agriculture ministry in Delhi.

Meanwhile, a report from Churachandpur district said that over 200 fowls in a private farm had died some days ago.

Veterinary experts have rushed over to the area, to collect blood samples.

Here is a news item from the Press Trust of India:

http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/F8D337E21AC72F60652573240045544C?OpenDocument

India Confirms Bird-Flu, Central Government Control Room, to Fight the Virus.

No one is really surprised at the current Bird-Flu outbreak in India.

The surprise is in the fact, that with the neighbouring countries of Buma, Bangladesh and China all afflicted with repeated outbreaks of the H5N1 virus, it took so long for the Bird-Flu to manifest itself in the worlds second most populace country.

                                                                                     The Govenment seems to be taking the outbreak of the virus seriously though.

following consultations with Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the centre has decided to set up a central control room in the Agriculture Ministry, to prevent spread of bird flu to other parts of the country.

The control room that will also have officials from Health and Animal Husbandry Departments will send out alerts across the country and seek information on any suspected cases of ‘bird flu’ in their respective areas.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, (one of the most powerfull cabinet ministers, with his base in Maharashtra and specially in Mumbai, the financial centre of India) is expected to review the “confirmed reports” of large scale bird flu tha has hit a Chingmeirong farm in Manipur earlier this month.

It is learnt that Pawar would brief the Prime Minister and other senior Cabinet colleagues on the bird flu that has hit the North Eastern state possibly due to a virus H5N1 which must have travelled from across Myanmar and Bangladesh borders. “Situation is grim” said an official on condition of anonimity. “The bird flu is likely to hit the economic sentiment at macro level while the poultry industry and their stocks are bound to be impacted” said this official source.

This is the third case of bird flu that has been reported with earlier cases in Maharashtra and villages bordering Gujarat.
Sources said that the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory in Bhopal has apparently confirmed the cases of bird flu after serum analysis extracted from the dead chicken in Imphal.

In view of the positive results given by two laboratories viz. HSADL, Bhopal and NIV, Pune, India is required to notify the outbreak of HPAI to the global community through the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) (World Organization of Animal Health).

Such notification is also required to initiate the control and containment operations for Avian Influenza. Accordingly, outbreak of Avian Influenza has been notified in Chingmeirong, East Imphal District on 25th July, 2007.

What is interesting is that the bird flu cases have been reported despite claims that a regular sero-surveillance was being done.

This surveillance includes collection of birds’ serum from across the country that is analysed on monthly basis at five designated laboratories in the country.

However, only the laboratory in Bhopal has the wherewithals for final confirmation of bird flu cases that have had serious impact on even advanced economies of the world.

For a country as large as India to have a single specialised laboratary capable of analysing the H5N1 virus is scandelous, according to the opposition partis in the country.

A spokesman for the opposition said that it was hoped that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will take immideate steps to rectfy this glaring ommission.
Here is a Government of India Press Release:

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=29399

Bird-Flu, now in an American Turkey “Farm”!!!

knocking softly at America’s door?

A strain of the H5N1, Bird-Flu virus, different from the one that has been killing birds and humans in Asia and Africa, has been found in a turkey farm in West Virginia.

Even though this has resulted in the killing of 25,000 West Virginia turkeys, the public has been told not to worry!

“People should not be worried,” said Buddy Davidson, a spokesman for the state Agriculture Department. “This should not

 affect the average person at all.”

 Recently a virulent strain of the Bird Flu virus had been discovered at the now infamous Barnard Matthews Turkey Factory farm in England.

I am sure that we all want to know,  if the conditions in the turkey farm in West Virginia, are as bad as were found at the Barnard Matthews Turkey Factory farm in England.

 

What kind of a “farm is it?   Is it really a farm?

Or is the word “farm” being used to describe a windowless shed, where the unfortunate turkeys spend all of their wretched lives in unnatural cramped conditions without ever seeing the light of the day?

Experts agree that the H5N1 virus is much more likely to mutate within domestic poultry under such “factory farm” conditions than it is in the wild bird population.

Here is a link to a report by AP via Via KSBW Channel:

http://www.theksbwchannel.com/health/11510370/detail.html

Bird-Flu vaccine that no one wants???

We have recently had a major international tussle between the WHO and the Indonesian Government regarding the possible manufacture of a vaccine for the H5N1 virus.There has been a continuing effort from the commercial companies around the world to come up with effective vaccine for the H5N1 virus.

The recent problems with the Tamiflu reported in Japan has made the creation of an alternative vaccine even more urgent.

So then why is it that even though there has apparently been an effective and inexpensive vaccine against the H5N1 since July of this year, yet there has been no interest shown by the world medical community in this product?

The said vaccine has been developed by the HSADL, (High Security Animal Disease Laboratory) a research institute based in Bhopal, India.

HSADL, which has the technique for identifying the avian influenza virus among poultry, tested thousands of bird samples, including droppings of migratory birds. It had conducted the tests for the H5N1 variant of bird flu and had isolated 48 virus strains from more than 80,000 bird samples during its vaccine trials.

The cost of the vaccine has been worked out at 27 paise per dose. It is expected to go up to 35 paise (A VERY small fraction of the cost of Tamiflu) including the trader’s profit and cost of transportation.

As reported by the World Poultry Magazine, the HSADL joint director H.K. Pradhan said: “The vaccine can be used immediately after a bird flu outbreak to control the spread of the virus as well as for vaccination in anticipation of an outbreak.

“The immune response is good and the protection offered by the vaccine has been found to be above 90%. The protection should last up to six months for hens. For a broiler it needs to be administered only once,” he added.

The point is that the H5N1 vaccine was developed back in July 2006, and since then but no drug manufacturing company has contacted the lab to buy either the preserved doses or the formula for commercial use!!!

What is going on?

Is the vaccine not fit for the purpose?

Is it too cheap and since no one will be able to make any profit from selling it, so no one one wants to distribute the vaccine?

Why is it that no one wants to use this apparently cheap and effective vaccine against the bird-flu virus????????

 

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.