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Bird flu pandemic inevitable, says WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday warned that a pandemic of the bird flu strain lethal to humans is inevitable, and would likely kill between one and seven million people worldwide…
Dr. Jai P. Narain, Director of WHO's communicable diseases department, took time out from a Southeast Asia health summit in Sri Lanka to tell the press: "We may be at almost the last stage before the pandemic virus may emerge. Whether the avian influenza pandemic will occur, that is not the question any more, but as to when the pandemic will occur."
Bird flu could cause global economic catastrophe .
Bird flu threatens to cause a "catastrophic" economic crash in Britain and around the world, unprecedented in modern times, according to new research.
Two studies from Nottingham University and the Bank of Montreal in Canada show that a flu pandemic - described by the World Health Organization last week as inevitable - would slash at least £95bn from British GDP, extinguish at least 900,000 jobs and create a global depression to rival that of the 1930s
So far about 60 people are known to have died from the virus, about half of those infected. Experts fear that it will mutate to spread rapidly among people, killing tens - perhaps hundreds - of millions worldwide. Last week Dr Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organization, said the mutation was inevitable and "just an issue of timing". Publicly the Government says that more than 50,000 people are likely to die in Britain, but privately it is preparing for up to 750,000 deaths. Earlier this year Professor Hugh Pennington, one of the country's experts, said that the British death toll could reach two million.
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World has slim chance to stop flu pandemic
NOUMEA, New Caledonia (Reuters) - The initial outbreak of what could explode into a bird flu pandemic may affect only a few people, but the world will have just weeks to contain the deadly virus before it spreads and kills millions.
Chances of containment are limited because the potentially catastrophic infection may not be detected until it has already spread to several countries, like the SARS virus in 2003. Avian flu vaccines developed in advance will have little impact on the pandemic virus.
It will take scientists four to six months to develop a vaccine that protects against the pandemic virus, by which time thousands could have died. There is little likelihood a vaccine will even reach the country where the pandemic starts.
That is the scenario outlined on Tuesday by Dr Hitoshi O#ani, the man who was on the frontline in the battle against SARS and now leads the fight against avian flu in Asia.
"The pandemic virus is much more difficult, maybe impossible, to contain once it starts," he told Reuters at a WHO conference in Noumea, capital of the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia. "The geographic spread is historically unprecedented."
As a primary safeguard against the introduction of HPAI (H5N1) into the United States, APHIS maintains trade restrictions on the importation of poultry and poultry products from affected countries. In many of these countries, APHIS had prior poultry and poultry product import restrictions in place because they were also know to have exotic Newcastle disease (END). The import restrictions targeted against END also effectively mitigate HPAI risk. These restrictions include
- Prohibiting the importation of live birds and hatching eggs from H5N1 affected countries.
- Requiring imports of poultry products from East and Southeast Asia be processed or cooked in accordance with a USDA permit prior to importation to lower the risk of HPAI contamination to negligible levels.
- Requiring all imported birds be quarantined at a USDA bird-quarantine facility and be tested for the avian influenza virus before entering the country. This requirement now covers returning U.S.-origin pet birds.
APHIS has developed a risk assessment that specifically considers the threat to the United States of HPAI introduction from Southeast Asia. This assessment is helping APHIS to identify and closely monitor pathways that are vulnerable to potential HPAI (H5N1) introduction. APHIS has alerted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be especially vigilant in performing agricultural inspections for prohibited products at U.S. Ports-of-entry handling passengers and cargo from Asia. Additionally, APHIS has increased its monitoring of domestic commercial markets for illegally smuggled poultry and poultry products.
APHIS is working closely with international organizations like the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to assist HPAI-affected countries and other neighboring Asian-Pacific countries with disease prevention, management, and eradication activities. By helping these countries prepare for, manage, or eradicate HPAI (H5N1) outbreaks, APHIS can reduce the risk of the disease spreading from overseas to the United States.
Experts see Alaska as US front against bird flu
Bird experts working in some of the most remote areas of Alaska have begun checking migrating birds for avian influenza to see if they are spreading the feared virus out of Asia.
A team heads off later this week for the Alaskan Peninsula to test Steller's eiders, a type of duck, for the virus, U.S. Geological Survey experts said. Other teams have already begun testing geese and ducks in other refuges, taking advantage of regular ecological studies to test birds migrating from Asia for the H5N1 virus.
"We think that Alaska is likely to be the front line," said Hon Ip, a virologist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Other states are vulnerable, too, he said.
"There are birds that fly directly across the Pacific from Southeast Asia to our western states like California, Oregon and Washington," Ip added in a telephone interview.
No one is sure how it is spreading, but migrating birds are a prime suspect. Officials fear birds such as ducks and geese could bring the virus to Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East over coming months.
The USGS wants to help keep an eye out for it in North America.
"We also worry that birds will stop off in some of the U.S. territories in the Pacific like Guam, and Hawaii," Ip said. He is especially concerned about endangered species of birds.
Dead Ducks Don't Fly
I hope this will help show why it's ridiculous to blame the rapid spread of the H5N1 variant on east Asia's migratory birds. The gist of the argument is summarized on the right of the figure - birds wintering in the south had departed South Korea and Japan before their outbreaks began; hadn't even arrived in southern areas (especially Indonesia) as outbreaks began there. And China - crossroads for most of the migration routes - didn't even report outbreaks till January, well after the autumn migration had ended.
Further, the chief bird flu hosts - ducks and geese - mainly winter towards the north of the region. Geese, especially, are hardy birds, rare south of central China. Ducks reach the south China coast, including Hong Kong, in numbers, but ducks from elsewhere head to Thailand; and all northern ducks are rare in Indonesia.
Shorebirds travel the longest distances of all the waterbirds (excluding seabirds, which don't seem relevant). Yet their migration timings also don't fit those of the outbreaks, nor do their distributions - plus many are found on coastal estuaries and beaches, ie away from farms.
In the west of the area are openbill storks, which nest at a few colonies in Thailand, during winter. Some died this winter, and even before testing positive for H5N1 (which was reportedly identified in three carcasses) this incident was taken as evidence for migratory birds spreading bird flu: notably by New York Times journo Keith Bradsher. Trouble is, they migrate from Bangladesh/ne India; and they feed in fields within one of Thailand's worst-hit regions - making it surely the case that local poultry farms were the source of the virus; they were victims.
The migratory-birds-are-to-blame case crumbles even further when you consider that thousands of migrants have been tested for H5N1, yet not one healthy bird has yet tested positive. All wild birds that have tested positive have been dead (or dying). And dead ducks don't fly.
...Although most birds available in the United States were bred in captivity, large numbers of wild-caught birds are smuggled into this country every year. Outside the U.S., the situation is still worse, with millions of birds sold in international trade each year...
...millions of wild birds each year find themselves stuffed in boxes or bags headed for the black market. Many of these birds find their way into the United States—packed into wheel wells of cars..., stuffed into suitcases on flights..., and packed in boxes and shipped...
Illegal bird trade may be contributing to spread of bird flu
The rapid spread of the deadly Asian bird flu virus is sparking concerns about the effectiveness of the international containment protocol.
The highly contagious strain of avian flu has now turned up in poultry stocks in Siberia and Khazakstan, and some health authorities say it's only a matter of time before the disease hits European Union countries.
Russian doctors have been quick to blame migratory birds flying in from infected regions of China. But bird experts say an illegal trade in poultry cannot be ruled out as the source of the latest outbreak, as Karen Barlow reports.
Dirty trade risks more than its victims
THE growing trade in smuggled wildlife has increased the risk of an outbreak of the potentially lethal avian influenza virus in Australia, federal authorities say.
With Health Minister Tony Abbott this week warning of a possible avian flu pandemic in Australia, leading environmental and quarantine agencies say the lucrative trade in illegally obtained wildlife presents a significant disease risk.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and the Department of Environment and Heritage believe there has been an increasing push recently to smuggle wildlife — often exotic birds that might harbor avian flu — into Australia.
The Australian Customs Service investigated 33 smuggling cases in the first eight months of this year compared with 26 for all of 2004. But the real figure is likely to be far greater, with international estimates that only about 10 per cent of smuggled animals and animal products are discovered by authorities.
Australian authorities also believe smuggling methods have become more sophisticated, reflecting the possible involvement of organized international criminal gangs.
Originally posted by Ptolomeo
Excellent and amazing information, Loam.
And serious too...
Here is an article about the flu in Indonesia (in spanish):
It confirms (after the death of a 5 years old girl) the existence of avian flu in Yakarta and surroundings.
Even though, they insist it is not to be alarmed.
After this, the Ministry announced the first blood tests of the girl were negative, though they needed to carry out some more tests in Hong Kong.
During the last months, four people have died from H5N1... and this kind of flu is spreading to Russia and Europe.
Last week, the OMS (World Health Organization) warned that this kind of flu has changed (mutated) and is a danger for humans, with not much time to avoid the avian influenza pandemic.
Sounds really bad...
Originally posted by soficrow
Good work loam.
Originally posted by FredT
You don't see Soficrow and I on the same page often but I have to agree that this was good work
Bush authorizes bird flu quarantine order
President George W. Bush signed an executive order on April 1, 2005, authorizing a quarantine to be imposed on the nation in the event of a bird flu outbreak.
Executive Order: Amendment to E.O. 13295 Relating to Certain Influenza Viruses and Quarantinable Communicable Diseases
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264(b)), it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Based upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Surgeon General, and for the purpose set forth in section 1 of Executive Order 13295 of April 4, 2003, section 1 of such order is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
"(c) Influenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic.".
Sec. 2. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 1, 2005.
US launches campaign against Asian wildlife trade amid bird flu threat
WASHINGTON: Amid the danger of an avian flu pandemic, the United States launched a global coalition to lobby Asian governments to tighten enforcement on wildlife trafficking.
The growing trade in smuggled wildlife, according to experts, has increased the risk of infection by the avian influenza virus, which has killed at least 63 people in Southeast Asia.
The US-led global Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking "will focus its initial efforts on Asia, a major supplier of black-market wildlife and wildlife parts to the world," the State Department said.
The coalition "will focus political and public attention on growing threats to wildlife from poaching and illegal trade," it said.
Seven major US-based environmental and business groups with global interests and programs have joined the coalition, the department said, adding that government and non-government partners from Asia and Europe were expected to join in the coming months.
Deputy US Assistant Secretary of State for Environment Claudia McMurray announced the formation of the coalition at the conclusion of the prestigious Wildlife Film Festival in Jackson Hole in Wyoming state on Friday.
In Europe, animal welfare organisations have reportedly appealed to the European Union to halt imports of wild birds, claiming that the exotic pet trade is increasing the risk of bird flu reaching the continent.
Leading environmental and quarantine agencies in Australia say the lucrative trade in illegally obtained wildlife presents a significant disease risk in the country.
Partners in the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking are already working with the government of Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the State Department said.
The Thai government will in October host a regional wildlife trafficking workshop for law enforcement officials and officials responsible for compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Wildlife trafficking is a soaring black market worth 10 billion dollars a year, second only to arms and drug smuggling, according to the State Department.
Confirmed H5N1 Bird Flu Deaths In Jakarta Increase to Six
...The other case...died last week and was just confirmed to be H5N1 positive. She also had contact with dead birds, but also had a pet bird, which again focuses attention on pet birds. The first three H5N1 reported fatalities were in a family from Tangerang. The birdcage across the street from their residence was H5N1 positive.
Officials bust bird smugglers in raid
The MJIB and the CGA caught a fishing boat carrying about 4,500 birds as it tried to enter port in Kaohsiung, officials said...
Bird smuggling bid denied
Bird smuggling bid denied
REPORTS that 250,000 birds had been "smuggled" from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia in the past three months were dismissed yesterday by a leading vet. Public Commission for Marine and Wildlife Resources wildlife directorate acting head Dr Salman Ibrahim said that birds could be transported to Saudi legitimately.
"We have a legal trade agreement with Saudi Arabia - we do not need to smuggle birds into the country," he said.
"The 250,000 birds in my opinion are small pet birds taken to be sold in Saudi Arabia. It is not a difficult task to transport them - every 1,000 birds can be put in a basket."
Now, a parrot smuggling racket
Bahraich police seized 2,000 parrots trapped from Kartaniya Ghat Sanctuary recently; arrested men confessed the birds were to be taken to Nepal for consumption in restaurants...
Man accused of smuggling birds in pants
Sun-Sentinel.com, FL - Aug 30, 2005
... papers unsealed in Miami on Monday charge Giraldo Wong with smuggling two tiny ... 6 at Miami International Airport were headed for an underground bird market in ...
Migratory birds not a threat—DENR chief
There is no reason to stay away from migratory birds because that they do not carry the deadly avian-flu virus, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Thursday.
"If migratory birds are infected with H5N1 strain of bird flu, they could no longer fly to other places because they will die at once," Custodio, also the park superintendent of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, explained.
Instead of focusing on migratory birds, even on exotic imported species, he said the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Animal Industry should guard against the possible entry of avian-flu virus through smuggling.
"Since poultry business in countries affected with the H5N1 bird flu are very much affected, chances are their products might sneak into the country illegally and this may infect us. The points of entry must be guarded," Custodio emphasized...
Customs seizures in bird flu alert
CUSTOMS officers have seized more than five tonnes of suspect chicken and duck meat from Asia as Australia steps up the fight to avoid a bird flu epidemic...
Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
I just wonder how widespread is the use of foreign poultry in human foodstuffs.
Official: Parrot That Died in Quarantine in Britain Diagnosed With Bird Flu
LONDON (AP) - A parrot that died in quarantine in Britain was diagnosed with bird flu, a British government official said Friday.
It was not immediately clear whether the bird had the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has devastated poultry stocks across Asia and killed 61 people in the last two years.
The bird, imported from South America, died in quarantine, said Debby Reynolds, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' chief veterinarian.
"The confirmed case does not affect the U.K.'s official disease free status because the disease has been identified in imported birds during quarantine," Reynolds said, meaning that the bird was not officially considered to have died in Britain because it had not passed quarantine and thus never officially entered Britain.
Reynolds said the diseased bird arrived in Britain in September. It was not immediately clear when it died.