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New cases of bird flu have been discovered in Europe, with Britain and Croatia both confirming birds found with the disease and Romania detecting a suspected new case.
Britain says a parrot that died in quarantine has been diagnosed with an H5 virus, but does not say whether it is H5N1.
Croatia says it has detected a bird flu virus in six dead swans and has sent samples to Britain for testing.
Romania says it has detected a new suspected case close to its eastern border with Moldova.
Russian authorities say the risk of a bird flu pandemic is highly unlikely despite the flu being found in several districts in Russia.
Officials say they have the situation under control, quarantining several villages and taking protective measures at poultry farms.
A Thai boy tested positive for bird flu on Friday, but doctors said there was no sign he caught the virus from his infected father who died earlier this week, suggesting the H5N1 strain had not mutated into a pandemic form.
Ronarit Benpad, aged 7, who was treated with anti-flu drug Tamiflu in the early stages of his infection, had recovered his appetite and his temperature had returned to normal, although he would remain under observation for two weeks, doctors said.
"There is no evidence to prove the boy became infected from his father," Prasit Watanapa, director of Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital, told reporters.
"This boy had direct contact in the infected area."
Ronarit's father became Thailand's 13th official bird flu victim when he died on Wednesday in a resurgence of the virus in east and south-east Asia, which has intensified fears of H5N1 mutating into a form that jumps easily from person to person.
Since breaking out in late 2003 in South Korea, H5N1 has killed more than 60 people in four Asian countries and reached as far west as European Russia, Turkey and Romania, tracking the paths of migratory birds.
THE British agriculture ministry has announced that a parrot which died in quarantine had tested positive for bird flu.
The H5 strain of the virus was isolated in a parrot imported from South America, which arrived in the UK on September 16, and had been held with a consignment of birds from Taiwan, the ministry said.
The avian flu virus that has hit Asia, killing more than 60 people, is the H5N1 strain.
"The confirmed case does not affect the UK's official disease-free status because the disease has been identified in imported birds during quarantine," Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said.
The bird was part of a mixed consignment of 148 parrots and "soft bills" that arrived last month. The birds, which were being held in a biosecure quarantine unit, have all been humanely culled, the ministry said.
Reynolds said this "incident showed the importance of the UK's quarantine system."
She added: "We have had similar incidents in the past where disease has been discovered but successfully contained as a result of our quarantine arrangements."
THE bird flu virus has been confirmed in Croatia on samples taken from 12 swans found dead in a lake in the east of the country, national television reported late Friday quoting the agriculture minister.
THE Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche said overnight it would limit stocks of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu available to private consumers.
A spokesman for Roche Group, Alexander Klauser, said the measure was being taken in Switzerland, but he could not rule out a similar step by Roche subsidiaries elsewhere.
"Our priority is to ensure that Tamiflu will be available for seasonal use to patients," Mr Krauser said.
"We limit the stocks in order to make sure that Tamiflu is available at the start of the influenza season."
The move follows a rush on the drug in recent weeks, amid fears of a possible flu pandemic after a virulent Asian strain of potentially deadly avian influenza spread to Europe in migrating birds.
Roche's decision does not affect the supply of official pandemic preparation stockpiles in more than 40 countries, Mr Klauser said.
The firm has written to wholesalers and doctors in Switzerland to ensure the prescription drug is only given to people who have influenza.
New outbreak of bird flu has been registered in the Chelyabinsk region, in Russia’s South Urals.
33 birds, among them turkeys, ducks and chicken have died at two individual farms in the village of Sunaly, Troitsk district, head of the regional agrictulture department was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying on Saturday. “There are a total of 26 individual farms in the village. Tests have proven that the birds have died of bird flu. The test analyses were obtained on Friday evening,” he said.
A quarantine has been imposed on the area.
An Emergency Ministry official also said bird flu was suspected in a village in the Altai region, close to the Kazakh border, where 59 birds died in the village of Pokrovka on Saturday.
A Russian agriculture ministry official said Friday that the risk of the lethal strain of avian flu rearing its head in Moscow or its surrounding area was “minimal”, despite an outbreak in Tula, 300 kilometres (188 miles) south of the capital. Veterinary services said Friday they suspected that the bird flu virus had now spread to 24 areas, of which 20 were in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia, three in the Kurgan region of Siberia and one in the southern region of Stavropol, though tests were still ongoing.
Taiwan says it is making its own version of the best-selling antiviral drug Tamiflu, whether its original manufacturers agree or not.
The authorities say they still hope talks with the Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Roche will bear fruit, but that the priority is to protect the public from the worst effects of bird flu.
Taiwanese health officials say they asked a local pharmaceutical company to produce a generic version of the antiviral bird flu drug.
Production of the drug on a small scale has already begun.
Officials say the company will be able to manufacture 200,000 doses of the drug within the next two months.
The drug will not be marketed commercially, but will be held by the Government in the event of any major outbreak of bird flu.
European Union experts arrived in Greece yesterday to help investigate a suspected case of bird flu on an Aegean island as initial test results from England proved negative for the disease being present in the country, indicating that the whole issue may have been a false alarm.
The three European Union experts reached the island of Oinouses and began to take more samples from a poultry farm where Greek authorities said on Monday they found a turkey with antibodies to the H5 flu.
A Girl Feeds Pidgeons In Athens
The experts from the European Commission's food and veterinary office will help local officials with the investigation after much confusion has reigned over the fate of the first sample taken.
Government officials have given mixed accounts this week of what samples have been sent to the EU for further tests.
The mix-up has also prompted a Supreme Court prosecutor to launch an investigation into the procedures followed by authorities.
Some sources have suggested that the Agricultural Development Ministry bungled the investigation by not tagging the turkey that showed positive in the tests.
As Brussels yesterday called on European Union countries to better prepare for the «real possibility» of a flu pandemic, confusion surrounded the whereabouts of the sample taken from a Greek turkey which died from bird flu on Monday.
The bird died at a turkey farm on the eastern Aegean island of Oinouses, near Chios, but authorities could not confirm yesterday what had happened to the original sample taken from it.
Sources at the Agricultural Development Ministry suggested that the sample ran out and a second one had to be taken from the particular turkey. EU officials were visibly annoyed by the delay. An inspection team from Brussels was on its way to Greece yesterday to assess the situation in Oinouses.
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 21: Indian generic firms might finally be able to manufacture Tamiflu, the key anti-viral for the feared bird flu pandemic. In a statement, Roche AG, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant that holds patent for the drug, said it’s ready to license the drug to generic companies across the world.
Roche has agreed to meet with four generic drug companies including domestic pharma giant Ranbaxy Laboratories to discuss allowing them to manufacture the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), which is in short supply, as countries stockpile it to prepare for a possible flu pandemic.
Besides Ranbaxy, Roche said it’s ready to talk to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Barr Pharmaceuticals and Mylan Laboratories. As fears of the pandemic mount, the generic company wanted to start production to meet the drug’s surging demand. However, Cipla, which had first expressed desire to manufacture the drug’s generic version, does not figure in Roche’s plans.
HONG KONG, Oct 22 (Reuters) - China will close its borders if it finds a single case of human-to-human transmission of bird flu there, a Hong Kong newspaper reported on Saturday, while a defiant Taiwan said it would copy a patented antiviral drug.
Saving lives would be Beijing's top priority in efforts to contain a possible outbreak of bird flu, even if it meant slowing the economy, Huang Jiefu, a vice-minister of health, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.
In Finland, the head of the World Bank said that while prevention measures would cost a lot, the economic damage from a pandemic would be far worse.
Speaking to health officials from China, Hong Kong and Macau in Yunnan province on Friday, Huang said any suspected human case would be quarantined.
SWEDEN'S National Veterinary Institute says a duck found dead east of the capital Stockholm has tested positive for avian flu, but it's too early to say which strain of virus the bird had.
The result of the virus tests which were carried out today on samples from ducks found in Eskilstuna yesterday show that one of them was infected with influenza, the institute said in a statement.
The institute is carrying out additional analysis and the results of the tests on whether the virus is of the H5 type are due late tomorrow afternoon
VIETNAM: With more than half the world's fatalities, the communist country is the most H5N1-affected country in the world. Medical sources say there have been 43 bird flu deaths, while the WHO has recorded 41 deaths from 91 cases.
Some family clusters have led experts to believe human-to-human transmissions have occurred between people in close contact, but none have been proved. There is no indication the virus has mutated into a form that can pass easily between humans and cause a pandemic.
Around 45 million birds were culled in the months after bird flu was found in late 2003, with another two million slaughtered last winter. Measures on poultry farming are officially strict but poorly enforced, though a poultry vaccination campaign started in August.
INDONESIA: Three people have been confirmed to have died from bird flu since June by the WHO, with a further 11 deaths being investigated and several more suspected bird flu patients under close observation. Some 16.5 million chicken and quails have died or been culled since late 2003 following outbreaks of the disease, but monitoring the industry in the vast archipelago is problematic.
THAILAND: Thirteen bird flu deaths have been reported -- the latest on Thursday -- from 18 confirmed cases of people believed to have caught the disease by handling infected birds.
Since the first bird flu outbreak in poultry in December 2003, more than 60 million birds have been culled or died from the disease. The government has spent millions of dollars to compensate farmers for their losses.
Thailand has imposed a rigorous monitoring system, and poultry exports that tanked by more than 40 percent in 2004 now look set to return to pre-bird flu highs of some one billion dollars next year.
The government has struggled to rein in the disease, especially in wild birds. An outbreak was detected last week in wild sparrows outside Bangkok. Thailand has a stockpile of 725,000 doses of Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug used to treat influenza, and is considering human trials of a vaccine.
CAMBODIA: Cambodia's first cases of bird flu were detected in chickens in early 2004. More than 40,000 chickens and ducks were culled or died from the disease. Since then four people have been killed by bird flu, but officials could not say how many people have been infected or suspected of infection.
The agriculture ministry relies heavily on international aid to battle the disease and has only a small stockpile of flu medicine. The government has launched an education campaign, both nationally and in regions hit by bird flu.
CHINA: China has witnessed four separate outbreaks of bird flu so far this year -- in Qinghai, Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. More than 4,000 chickens, geese and wild birds have been killed by the disease and tens of thousands culled.
After the initial scare, China set up an alert system to combat potential outbreaks with a national anti-flu leading group established by the health ministry to ensure the preparation of vaccines and emergency medical response. So far, China has recorded no human cases.
While some global organisations like the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have urged more transparency from China, others like the WHO say it has shown political will to tackle the problem. However, the WHO has also said it would like to see a more comprehensive plan that involves all sectors of society, and better surveillance at the local level.
SOUTH KOREA: After an outbreak in late 2003, 5.3 million head of poultry were slaughtered and the country has been free of the disease since March 2004.
Over the next four months poultry farms in 21 cities and counties across the country with a history of bird flu will be intensively quarantined, with chickens and ducks there checked twice a day. South Korea plans to add 200,000 doses of Tamiflu by the end of the year to its stockpile of 700,000 doses.
MALAYSIA: Malaysia had an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in 2004 but has since declared itself free of the virus. More than 18,000 birds were culled. Authorities are increasing health checks on migratory birds while stepping up border checks to prevent smuggling of poultry into the country. Import permits for animals and birds have been halted.
JAPAN: In Japan 35 poultry farms with birds infected with avian flu were found in 2004 and 2005, with 1.74 million birds culled. Five people -- four poultry workers and one government official -- were found to have antibodies after blood tests but showed no symptoms of bird flu.
The Japanese government has a stockpile of drugs including Tamiflu, and believes that medical institutions in the country can treat roughly 100,000 patients -- the projected number of people infected by the fifth week of a major outbreak of avian flu.
LAOS: H5N1 was first officially identified amongst poultry in February 2004, but there were no human cases. Since then, there has been no outbreak.
MONGOLIA: In September, Mongolian authorities said 563 mostly migratory birds had died from avian flu across the country since late July. Authorities dispatched 50 emergency workers and health specialists to the affected areas.
HONG KONG: The first case of bird flu in humans was found in 1997 in a three-year-old boy who died from the disease. The outbreak killed six people and hundreds of birds, leading to the culling of million of chickens.
The southern Chinese territory had another two cases in 2003, one fatal, but has since kept infections at bay. Officials said this week they would consider closing the border with mainland China if cases of the deadly H5N1 bird flu were transmitted between people there.
TAIWAN: Authorities last year slaughtered 467,000 birds after H5N2 -- a less virulent form than the H5N1 strain that is deadly to humans -- was discovered in farm chickens. The Council of Agriculture has increased bird flu testings for migratory birds. Taiwan is also seeking license from pharmaceutical company Roche for mass production of the anti-flu treatment Tamiflu and estimates it could produce drugs for one million people within three to five months.
PHILIPPINES: In July, a weaker strain of bird flu was found in some ducks outside the capital. The government has banned the import of poultry and exotic birds from countries where bird flu has been detected.
Shanghai. October 21. INTERFAX-CHINA - Taiwanese authorities announced the discovery of smuggled chickens infected with bird flu on a ship allegedly from mainland China Friday. The announcement fueled concerns as to the extent of infection of the highly contagious H5N1 virus in China, where few reports have emerged in recent months.
Although there has been no bird flu outbreak confirmed in Taiwan to date, the Chinese government announced a bird flu outbreak in Inner Mongolia Wednesday, which it said is under control. China is the largest producer of poultry in the world.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has called the bird flu out break in Asia "endemic," and says it will take years, if ever, to eliminate.
"We were quite surprised to find the disease in the smuggled chickens, since we have not received any information of bird flu cases in the Mainland recently," she said.
She said that the Taiwan authorities are working on the case to find out where specifically the infected chickens are from.
Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson in Beijing, said the WHO was looking into media reports that the avian flu virus has been found in poultry from the mainland.
"We are still investigating the information and trying to obtain information about the possible source," Bhatiasevi said.
The Ministry of Agriculture of the PRC Wednesday evening announced a new outbreak of bird flu in northern Inner Mongolia. The authority has killed at least 2,600 birds at a poultry farm there, but which is now under control, according to the government.
However, since the announcement of bird flu outbreak in Inner Mongolia on Wednesday, there have been no updates on the situation there, or in other regions of China, either by local media or the government.
Originally posted by prof
I have a question about Bird Flu. Why is there a fear that it will mutate to a human form. Why when in comparison to 'normal flu, which even in uk, kills far more people anually that Bird flue has killed over last decade. Why is this seen as the pandemic in waiting? what are we not being told
H5N1 has infected 117 people in four countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam) and killed 60, according to the World Health Organization. Experts say more people may have been infected but were not ill enough to seek medical attention, so it is not known what the fatality rate is.
BRITISH authorities have said that they believed the South American parrot infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu picked up the virus from Taiwanese birds while in quarantine in Britain.
British officials announced overnight that the parrot that had been imported from Surinam tested positive for H5N1, the strain of bird flu which has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.
But with no cases of H5N1 yet discovered in South America, British veterinary experts suspect the parrot was infected when it was exposed to other birds from Taiwan while it was being kept in mandatory quarantine that all imported birds are subjected.
"Our working hypothesis is that any infection in the birds from Surinam is likely to have arisen in the quarantine system, most likely in the facility in Essex where the Surinam birds shared airspace with the birds from Taiwan," said Debby Reynolds, the chief veterinarian of Britain's department of environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA).
Additional tests on the Taiwanese birds were underway, she said in a statement.
Taiwan has not had any recorded cases of H5N1, although last week authorities said eight pet birds smuggled into the country from China had tested positive for the strain and been destroyed, in the second such case.
A parrot that died in quarantine in Britain has been found to have the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry says.
A ministry spokeswoman confirms that scientists have found "the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus" in the parrot.
"The closest match is to a strain found in ducks in China earlier this year," she said.
The parrot, imported from Suriname in South America, was part of a mixed consignment of 148 birds that arrived on September 16.
The ministry says the birds had been held with another consignment of 216 birds from Taiwan.
All the birds were culled while in quarantine.
MALTESE authorities quarantined a container ship that had arrived from Taiwan after two dead chickens were discovered on board as precautionary measure against a possible bird flu outbreak.
The Maltese dockers who discovered the dead chickens overnight were decontaminated and the civil protection authority ordered the crew of the Cypriot-flagged Nordusk to remain onboard.
The Nordusk stopped at the Saudi port of Jeddah on its voyage.
Maltese veterinary official Mireille Vella said the quarantine was imposed as a "precautionary measure" while an investigation was underway to determine why the chickens had died
ROMANIA - Further tests are being carried out on a heron with bird flu antibodies found in Vaslui county. Romania has already confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in its Danube delta region.
RUSSIA - Vets have found H5N1 strain of bird flu in the village of Sunaly in the Chelyabinsk region in southern Urals. Moscow confirmed on Oct. 19 an outbreak of H5N1 in the Tula region, 200 km (125 miles) south of Moscow.
TURKEY - EU said on Oct. 13 Turkey had bird flu type dangerous to humans, the avian flu H5N1 high pathogenic virus.
BRITAIN - A parrot that died in quarantine in Britain has been found to have the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, the agriculture ministry said on Sunday. London had already called for blanket EU ban on imports of wild live birds from anywhere in the world.
FRANCE - Stepped up checks at airports and was building stockpiles of vaccines and treatments. Plans to use a red, white and blue chicken logo on home-reared poultry to reassure consumers.
BULGARIA - Banned imports of live birds and poultry products from Turkey, Greece and Romania and stepped up checks at borders and poultry farms.
GERMANY - Confined all poultry to their pens.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Banned all poultry and bird exhibitions and carrier pigeon contests.
GREECE - A case of bird flu was detected in the Aegean island of Chios. Greece has banned poultry exports from the island and awaiting test results on the strain.
MACEDONIA - Sent a dead chicken on Friday for tests in London.
ITALY - Detected a low risk H5N2 avian flu virus in April 2005 and destroyed at least 180,000 turkeys.
SWEDEN - Detected bird flu in a dead duck west of Stockhom and advised farmers to keep birds indoors.
CROATIA - Authorities banned exports to EU countries on finding the H5 avian flu virus in wild dead swans at a fish pond in the east of the country.
BANGKOK, Oct. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Less than a week after a 48-year-old man in the Thai central province of Kanchanaburi became the 13th person in Thailand to die from bird flu, local authorities reported Sunday that another patient may be infected with the potentially deadly virus.
The patient was identified only as a villager who lives in Phanom Tuan district where Bang-orn Benpad died of the disease last Wednesday and where his son also contracted the H5N1 virus.
The dead man was said to have slaughtered and eaten a sick birdin his home province, where avian flu outbreaks were reported lastweek.
Sayan Bhuranawanich, acting director of Kanchanaburi's Phahon Phonpayuhasena Hospital, said the patient is under medical supervision and is separated from other patients.
Local livestock officials culled more than 4,000 chickens in ten villages in the district after there were reports that more chickens and ducks died, the Thai News Agency said.
BANGKOK: Thai health officials have confirmed that the son of a man who died from bird flu Wednesday is also infected with the virus, but have denied reports of human-to-human transmission, local media reported yesterday.
Doctors said Ronarit Benpad, 7, was responding well to treatment at a Bangkok hospital after being infected with the H5N1 virus about the same time as his father, Bang-on, who died from the disease.
The Nation newspaper reported yesterday that relatives alleged the government was concealing information that the boy caught the virus from his father. A Thai senator also called for independent laboratory tests on the cells of the two newest victims.
But Paichit Warachit, director of the Medical Science Department, said the virus gene sequence taken from Bang-on had not mutated from the specimens found in victims who died in 2004.
He said that led doctors to conclude that the virus could not have been transmitted from one human to another.
Warachit said the boy had likely been infected by poultry along with his father in western Kanchanaburi province, where the virus is common among fowl.
Some doubts were raised after initial tests on both the father and son were negative for H5N1, but later analyses proved positive.
Warachit said multiple testing was normal and necessary procedure, as the virus can be difficult to detect.
CHINA caused the global bird flu crisis by feeding an antiviral drug meant for humans to its chickens, experts say.
The move rendered most anti-viral defences useless because the virus mutated into a more virulent strain.
As a result, the avian influenza virus, H5N1, is now largely resistant to amantadine - a low cost drug once effective in protecting humans.
The world must now rely more on the two less effective and more expensive anti-virals, Tamiflu and Relenza.
The revelation came as Australia planned to impose one of the world's toughest quarantine regimes at airports in the event of an avian flu pandemic, government sources said.
The quarantine plan would result in overseas passengers being thermally scanned to check their body temperature.
If they showed signs of flu, they would be put in converted aircraft hangars for up to six days.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran is considering banning live bird imports to Australia after several racing pigeons from Canada tested positive to bird flu antibodies
The first case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has already killed 61 people in the Far East, has been identified in Britain.
Scientists confirmed last night that a parrot, imported from Surinam in South America, contracted and died from the disease while in a quarantine unit in southern England. The parrot, which died on 16 October, was part of a consignment of 148 birds imported from Surinam that had been housed in a quarantine unit along with 216 exotic birds from Taiwan, where the virus has been found.
Debby Reynolds, the chief vet at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, confirmed tests were being conducted on tissue from the Taiwanese birds, some of which died before the parrot. All of the other birds that came into contact with the parrot have been culled.
Dr Reynolds said: "Our working hypothesis is that any infection in the birds from Surinam is likely to have arisen in the quarantine system, most likely in the facility in Essex where the Surinam birds shared airspace with the birds from Taiwan." She said H5N1 had not been seen before, but most closely matched the disease found in ducks in China this year.
SERIOUS failure in strict quarantine regulations allowed a parrot to become infected with the deadly H5N1 avian flu strain after its arrival in Britain, animal health experts said last night.
The South American parrot appears to have been kept in quarantine too close to a bird from Taiwan, against official advice to bird importers. The apparent lapse in the system is expected to bring about a review of a policy that allows some commercial animal dealers to run their own quarantine operations under veterinary supervision.
The concerns were voiced as government scientists confirmed yesterday that the parrot had become infected by the deadly H5N1 strain. The closest match to the disease was to ducks found in China this year; it is not similar to strains isolated in Romania and Turkey.
(Reuters) - Bird flu has killed a 48-year-old man in Thailand, the country's first human death in a year, officials said on Thursday, as the deadly H5N1 virus that has now hit Europe reared its head again in east and southeast Asia.
Here is a short chronology tracking some major developments in the spread of Asian bird flu:
Dec 15, 2003
-- South Korea confirms a highly contagious type of bird flu at a chicken farm near Seoul and begins a mass cull of poultry when the virus rapidly spreads across the country.
Jan 8, 2004
-- Vietnam says bird flu found on its poultry farms.
March 16 2004
-- China declares it has stamped out the disease.
Aug 19 2004
-- Malaysia says a strain of bird flu has been found in two chickens that died near the Thai border, its first cases.
Sept 27 2004
-- Thailand says it has found a case where one human probably infected another with bird flu. It said this was an isolated incident that posed little risk to the population.
April 5, 2005
-- North KoreaThe U.N. says the H7 strain of bird flu, previously undetected in Asia, has been found in North Korea.
Oct 8 2005
-- Turkey reports its first cases of avian flu, and Romania reports suspected avian flu.
Oct 10 2005
-- Turkey The European Commission announces a ban on imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey to the 25-nation EU.
Oct 13 2005
-- RomaniaA strain of the H5 bird flu virus has been detected in samples from Romanian ducks in the Danube delta, confirming the virus has arrived in Europe.
-- RomaniaThe European Commission confirms the Romanian findings and immediately says it will ban Romanian imports.
-- Turkey The EU confirms Turkey has the type of bird flu dangerous to humans, the avian flu H5N1 high pathogenic virus.
Oct 17 2005
-- Greece says bird flu has been detected on the Aegean island Chios, the first case in an EU member state.
Oct 19 2005
-- Britain A British laboratory has detected the H5N1 bird flu strain in new Danube delta samples from Romania taken from the village of Maliuc.
-- Russia tells the EU that a deadly bird flu outbreak has spread westwards to 220 km (160 miles) south of Moscow. Russia has been fighting bird flu since mid-July and has killed over 600,000 domestic fowl.
Oct 20 2005
-- Thailand reports the death of a man from bird flu raising its human toll to 13. This brings the total throughout Asia to 67, comprising 44 in Vietnam, 13 in Thailand, 6 in Indonesia and 4 in Cambodia.
-- Taiwan says it has found birds infected with the H5N1 flu in a container smuggled from China - its first case since 2003.
-- Ukraine's parliament imposes a six-month ban on poultry imports from all countries.
-- Vietnam reports its first outbreak of the H5N1 strain in poultry - in the Mekong Delta - since July.
The EU has said initial tests for bird flu in Greece were negative, in a relief after outbreaks in Turkey and Romania, but stressed it cannot yet exclude the presence of the virus in the EU state.
The provisional good news was also tempered by wrangling in Greece over exactly which sample was sent for testing by European Union (EU) experts following a suspected case on an Aegean island earlier this week.
Confirmation of the H5N1 strain in Greece would mark its first-ever arrival in the 25-nation bloc.
While announcing the negative result, the EU's executive arm underlined that precautionary measures slapped on the eastern Aegean Sea islet of Oinousses will therefore remain in place, pending further tests.
A "preliminary test was carried out ... which proved negative but it is not possible at this point definitively to conclude from this that the suspicion of avian influenza" can be entirely excluded, said spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde.
"Therefore, precautionary measures remain in place," she added. "At this point we cannot exclude the presence of avian flu in Greece and in the area."
EU-certified laboratories in Britain and Greece have been testing samples from birds in the same flock where a suspect case was found to determine if it was the H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed about 60 people in Asia.
The EU spokesman said that the tests, carried out at an EU laboratory in Weybridge, southwest of London, had proved negative for the H5 strain of the virus -- a more common version, which poses no threat to humans.
She also downplayed reports that there had been problems surrounding the samples provided by Greece -- centred on the fate of a lone turkey that originally sparked the scare.
Agriculture Minister Evangelos Bassiakos has drawn fire after his ministry first said it sent tissues from the ailing bird to Britain for follow-up tests, but then changed tack, saying it sent samples from the general flock.
On Wednesday night, Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos ordered a preliminary investigation on the procedure followed by the authorities.
But said the EU spokesman in Brussels: "I have nothing giving me reason to complain about cooperation from the Greek authorities."
The Greek suspected case has come under the spotlight following the confirmation of the H5N1 strain in Romania and Turkey last week, which triggered the EU to bolster its defences against the virus.
In Greece itself Thursday three EU experts arrived on the island of Chios to help investigate the suspected case of bird flu, before heading for the Oinousses later in the day.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Wednesday said tests conducted on 56 bird samples collected from across the country had turned up negative for bird flu.