U.S. finds low-risk H5N1 bird flu strain in ducks
10 bird flu-hit Indonesian provinces in Sumatra
New bird flu outbreak hits Cambodian ducks:
Tests confirmed the deadly H5N1 virus in live and dead ducks in the Bateay district of the eastern province of Kampong Cham, where 700 birds died last week...
Egypt Finds New Cases of Bird Flu in Poultry
Egypt has had the largest outbreak of cases outside of Asia, and there is still concern that the virus could spread across the region. Earlier this year, the government banned raising poultry on apartment roofs - a widespread practice that provides extra income for low income families. Chicken is the main source of protein among the poor, but since the initial outbreak of the virus, the price of chicken has risen by 50 percent.
Bird flu hits eastern Ukraine
Bird flu has been discovered in the Poltava Region in eastern Ukraine... The first cases of bird flu were discovered in Ukraine late last year in the Black Sea autonomy of Crimea.
Is there any known antibiotics that slow or negate the effects of the disease?
Originally posted by DDay
Is there any known antibiotics that slow or negate the effects of the disease?
Tamiflu is being looked at, at being an effective antiviral.
A Vietnamese doctor with experience in treating avian flu says Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled for treatment of avian flue is useless against the virus. ...Dr. Nguyen Tuong Van of the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi has treated 41 victims of H5N1, following World Health Organization guidelines and administering Tamiflu to her patients. She told the Sunday Times of London the medicine had no effect.
"We place no importance on using this drug on our patients," she said. "Tamiflu is really only meant for treating ordinary type A flu. It was not designed to combat H5N1."
Also see: ATSNN Report: Tamiflu "Useless" Against H5N1 Bird Flu
Reddy said that from Roche’s experience with seasonal flu, the drug was known to be most effective when given within 48 hours of symptoms first appearing. He declined to give any timeframe for administering the drug to treat bird flu, but noted the virus was more aggressive in nature.
Animal tests find Tamiflu effective if given early enough, drug maker says
Bird flu in Vietnam resisting Tamiflu
ATS: Donald Rumsfeld Makes $5 Million Killing on Bird Flu Drug
Tamiflu was developed and patented in 1996 by a California biotech firm, Gilead Sciences Inc. ...In 1997, before he became US Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld was named Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, where he remained until early 2001 when he became Defense Secretary. Rumsfeld had been on the board of Gilead since 1988 according to a January 3 1997 company press release.
An as-yet-unconfirmed report is that Rumsfeld while Secretary of Defense also purchased an additional stock in his former company, Gilead Sciences, worth $18 million, making him one of its largest if not the largest stock owners today. ...President Bush has ordered the US Government to buy $2 billion worth of Gilead Science’s Tamiflu.
Scientists in China have developed a potential vaccine against the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus currently sweeping across Asia.
...This level of protection exceeds the European Union minimum requirement of 70 per cent. ...The vaccine was well tolerated with very few side-effects.
Sinovac Biotech, a Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, jointly developed the vaccine along with the Chinese Science and Technology Ministry and the country's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
China Beats the World to a Bird Flu Vaccine
...U.S. health officials said there should be a record number of annual flu shots available this influenza season. ...we are expecting about 100 million doses of vaccine this year which is about 17 million more doses than we've distributed in the past, ...manufacturers ...include Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and MedImmune. ...Manufacturers make business decisions based upon how many doses they think they can sell ...annual flu shots, ...do not offer protection against the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Sinovac, based in Beijing, China, announced Thursday in the online version of The Lancet that low-doses of their H5N1 vaccine together with the adjuvant aluminum hydroxide induced healthy volunteers to make antibodies against the virus. ...Sinovac's vaccine, which is made from whole virus, also appeared to be safe. ...Iain Stephenson, of Leicester Royal Infirmary's department of infection and tropical medicine, stated in an accompanying commentary that the findings identify a potential dose-sparing approach that could be crucial for a global supply of pandemic vaccine.
Analysis: Flu Shots
The team from the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City looked at 18 people infected with H5N1 and eight infected with normal human flu.
Dr. Menno de Jong and colleagues concluded, “The focus of clinical management should be on preventing this intense cytokine response, by early diagnosis and effective antiviral treatment.”
The study appears in the journal Nature Medicine.
Vietnam Scientists Discover Why Bird Flu Is So Deadly
The H5N1 virus kills its victims with a high virus load that causes a massive inflammatory response, a Vietnam team has found. ...The results detailing the behaviour of the H5N1 virus were published in Monday's edition of Nature Medicine.
Tests showed that H5N1 puts higher loads of virus into victims' throats, as opposed to their nose - like a human flu would do. The virus also replicates to much higher levels than a common flu. A victim's immune system responds by an intense inflammatory response, say the researchers. This response, combined with the effects of the virus, is the real killer.
Scientists find out how bird flu kills people
Thirteen patients with the H5N1 virus died and the virus was found in the blood of at least 9 of them, and also in the rectums of most of them, which suggests it could have spread from the respiratory tract through the blood stream into the gastrointestinal tract.
The team also found that levels of cytokines were much higher in H5N1 patients than in the human flu cases and again, the highest levels of cytokines were found in those who died of H5N1. ...De Jong says that with the H5N1 infection, the cytokine response appears to be very, very intense which can damage the body by working against the cells and organs.
De Jong says the high levels of the virus triggered an overwhelming inflammatory response that contributed to lung dysfunction and eventual death and says there is a need to stop the virus replicating as soon as possible in order to prevent damage to the lungs and prevent the inflammatory response to the virus. ...They note however that early diagnosis is a particular challenge in remote places where health services are often scant. ...It is of particular concern in poor and remote farming areas where families live in close contact with their poultry which is also an essential source of both food and income.
Why H5N1 bird flu is so lethal
None of the treatments used to treat SARS patients appears to have helped, researchers reported on Tuesday in a study that illustrates how difficult it is to battle newly emerging viruses. ...Their systematic review of all the studies done on the 2003 SARS epidemic fails to show any evidence that antivirals, steroids or other therapies helped patients. A few suggested they caused harm.
Some SARS survivors have been permanently disabled by the illness, treatment or both.
If there is another outbreak of SARS or some other new virus, the group recommended coordinated efforts from the beginning to assess which treatment works best.
No treatments helped SARS victims, study finds
The maker of a new hand gel says the product kills the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. ...Dermasalve Sciences says it tested the gel and found it had a 99.99 percent success rate in killing the avian flu virus within 30 seconds of a single application. ...The company says the gel's active ingredient will continue working for 30 minutes.
Financial markets have failed to price in the risk that any one of a host of threats to economic stability could materialise and deliver a massive shock to the world economy, the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday. ...The world's chief financial watchdog said the financial system had so far proved resilient in the face of recent price falls but warned the risk of a crash had increased. And when it comes to worrying about a crash in the financial markets that could deliver a body blow to the world economy, it seems that all roads lead to the US.
The IMF highlighted five major risks, all but one of which can be attributed to a greater or lesser extent to the economy and foreign policies of the US administration. Not that the politically savvy IMF phrases it exactly like that. ...Its message coincided with a stark warning from HSBC, one of the world's largest investment banks, that it had put the US on alert for "recession risk".
Other dangers included: ...A mutation in the avian flu virus that would lead to a "sharp decline in economic activity". ..."In these circumstances it is reasonable to wonder whether financial markets might react to less favourable developments in a way that would amplify - rather than dampen - the emerging risks." The trigger for a shock to asset prices can come out of the blue, perhaps a natural disaster or a health epidemic such as bird flu. ...The IMF reiterated its fears that an outbreak would reduce investors' appetite for risky investments, cut capital flows between companies and weaken financial systems as absenteeism rose.
IMF: risk of global crash is increasing
Indonesian Bird Flu Case May Have Spread Among People
A 27-year-old Indonesian man with bird flu may have caught it after spending six days caring for a sister hospitalized with the disease, the World Health Organization said, cited by Bloomberg.com.
The case brings the country''s infections to 65 people, including 49 deaths, the United Nations health agency said on its Web site. The man, from Solok in West Sumatra, developed mild symptoms in May and recovered in a few days.
An investigation "determined he had exposure to his sister during her hospital stay, and that human-to-human transmission could not be ruled out as the source of his infection," the agency said in a statement Thursday
The United Nations bird flu coordinator on Friday urged donors to make good on their pledges to help Indonesia fight bird flu, saying he was frustrated by the slow flow of funds.
David Nabarro told a news conference he was disappointed Indonesia was not getting the resources to enable it to fight against bird flu "with all the energy that is necessary".
UN says bird flu aid Indonesia too slow
Cornell University researchers are developing a napkin that will be able to detect bacteria, viruses and other dangerous substances with a mere swipe. ...The napkins, made with special nanofabrics, could have commercial use in food preparation or health care, said Margaret Frey, a professor of fibre science and apparel design at Cornell.
"It's very inexpensive, it wouldn't require that someone be highly trained to use it and it could be activated for whatever you want to find," Frey said.
"Using this method, we should, in theory, be able to quickly activate the fabric to detect whatever is the hazard of the week, whether it is bird flu, mad cow disease or anthrax."
Napkin to detect hazards
Also see: Napkin to detect hazards
A severe flu pandemic could cost the global economy up to $2 trillion or 4.8 percent of the world's gross domestic product, the World Bank said on Sunday. ...'We estimate that a severe pandemic could now cost over 3 percent of the global economy's gross national product because of its impact on trade and economic activity,' Jim Adams, head of the World Bank Avian Flu Taskforce, said.
In a worst-case scenario, 70 million people, or 1 percent of those infected, could die from the virus that had spread beyond East Asia to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
...Fifty-five countries have reported outbreaks of the H5N1 virus, mostly since January. ...About 80 percent of the 240 human cases and 141 deaths took place in Asia, the bank said.
Flu pandemic could cost global economy $2 trillion
The risk of a flu pandemic remains high despite possible public fatigue with the issue, but the World Health Organization is hopeful the bird flu virus will do less damage than in past years during Asia's upcoming colder months, an official said Sunday.
"The virus seems to be very embedded in the environment and, in our view, the risk of a pandemic continues unabated," Richard Nesbit, WHO's acting regional director for the Western Pacific, told reporters prior to a weeklong meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. ..."Recently, we've seen new outbreaks in poultry in Cambodia and also in Thailand, besides seeing continuing outbreaks in Indonesia," he said.
The H5N1 virus has killed at least 144 people since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003, and experts worry more fatalities will emerge as the cooler months approach. ..."The scientists are telling us that the risk is just as present as ever. ...We are seeing continuing evolution of these viruses and that's been very well documented now both in humans but as well also in poultry," he said. "After three years now, I'm sure that many journalists and the public are starting to get tired of the same message that there's a potential global pandemic around the corner, but we have a responsibility to continue to give this message."
WHO: Bird Flu Pandemic Risk Still High
Preparing to Survive a Bird Flu Pandemic
Avian Bird Flu has the potential to cause a major pandemic around the world, estimates are that up to 150 million people would die. The Spanish flu of 1918 killed 50 million. Most scientists now say that the question is not if but when this will occur. If Avian Bird Flu mutates so that it can be transmitted from human to human, it will probably spread rapidly. This will trigger a massive rush to secure flu vaccines, protective masks and other essential supplies.
Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure you are prepared:
1. Stock up on Flu Antiviral Drugs
2. Purchase N95 Masks
3. Get your Emergency Supplies in Order
Planning ahead of time will allow you to reduce your risk of exposure to the bird flu and to take better measures at protecting yourself and your family.
"The only difference between now and six months ago is not that the problem doesn't exist, it is perhaps headline writers have got used to it," he told reporters when asked if bird flu had turned into the Y2K of the viral world.
World Bank: Bird Flu Could Cost $2 Trillion
A severe bird flu pandemic among humans could cost the global economy up to $2 trillion (about 1 trillion pounds), the World Bank said on Sunday, sharply raising earlier estimates. ...a senior World Health Organisation official said the threat from the H5N1 avian flu virus was just as real today as it was six months ago, even if the headlines were not as scary.
"We estimate this could cost certainly over $1 trillion and perhaps as high as $2 trillion in a worst-case scenario. So the threat, the economic threat, remains real and substantial," he told reporters at the annual IMF-World Bank meetings in Singapore. ...He said earlier estimates last year of about $800 billion in economic costs were basically written on the back of an envelope. But more recent financial modelling had revealed a sharper threat should the virus mutate and pass easily among people.
He said it was crucial to develop strong anti-bird flu programmes around the world to strengthen health and veterinarian services as well as improve public education and transparency.
Bird flu pandemic could cost $2 trillion - World Bank
Bird flu has killed nearly 50 people in Indonesia, the world's highest national toll, and the virus is endemic in poultry in most provinces of the southeast Asian nation.
David Nabarro, the WHO's avian flu coordinator, said one only had to look at the resurgence of bird flu in Thailand and Laos in past months to understand the risks posed by H5N1.
Bird flu risk to world economy
Recent reports from South Korea and Indonesia of after-the-fact discovery of a handful of mild human cases of H5N1 avian flu have again raised questions about whether the disease's extraordinarily high death rate is being inflated because mild cases are being missed. ...it is important to continue to search for mild cases. Understanding the true number of human infections and the range of symptoms experienced could help scientists better assess the pandemic risk posed by the virus.
As well, tracking mild cases over time could provide an early warning if important changes to H5N1 occur, they suggest. Climbing rates of mild cases might signal the virus was adapting to become a human flu strain, moving closer to triggering a flu pandemic. ..."We need to keep monitoring it," Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, said Sunday. ..."Because frankly, one of the indications that there may be a changing epidemiology (disease pattern) with this is in fact if we start seeing larger and larger percentages of individuals who are asymptomatic or only mildly ill that we can clearly confirm as having H5N1 infection."
...there has always been a suspicion in some quarters that a significant number of mild cases are being missed - a theory these new reports may fuel. ...Many - though not all - diseases cause a spectrum of illness ranging from undetectable to life-threatening infection. ...If the confirmed H5N1 cases were the proverbial tip of the iceberg, the death rate attributed to the virus would tumble. That in turn might ease worries about the threat posed by H5N1 - though a flu virus that killed even 10 or 20 per cent of its victims would still be a source of serious concern.
Reports of missed mild bird flu cases raise questions about scope of spread
In a matter of months, bird flu will probably show up somewhere the United States. A few wild geese will test positive for the H5N1 strain, along with a farm cat or two. Grave precautions will be issued, followed by a flurry of safety assurances from the White House and Tyson farms. CNN and Leno will make a great day of it. Poultry sales will fall off for a few months. It won't mean much.
The real disaster, if it happens, will unfold more quietly at first. A sick farmer in China's Guangdong province will sneeze at dinner. He'll turn out to have been simultaneously infected with the new strain and the more conventional flu bug. Out of his nose a nasty new viral hybrid will hurtle through the air and get unluckily sucked into the lungs of his niece, who will breed it for a day or two and hand it off to the postman, who will hand it off to a truck driver, who will deliver it to a big city saloon. From there, a small army of sneezable new H5N1 bugs will hitch on a few plane passengers to Europe and the United States, and the nightmare will begin. ...This is the great fear of world health officials, stoked by the fact that H5N1 is an entirely new strain of flu; no one has any immunity against it, and no traditional vaccine can be prepared in advance.
Avian flu is not, of course, the only looming biological threat. There is also the very real possibility of terrorist attack with agents that cause smallpox, plague, tularemia, or viral hemorrhagic fever. Once introduced, any of these agents could spread widely and cause mass casualties and social disruption. ...Here's how to survive a severe pandemic: Prepare to become self-sufficient for several months; stockpile nonperishable food, water, disinfectants, prescription medication, office supplies, batteries and generators, air-filter masks, cash (small bills), portable gas cookware, entertainment for the kids, and so on. If you happen to be shopping for an air purifier anyway, make sure it has a UV component like these—that's the only type that will actually kill a virus. Consider having to take care of a sick family member if a hospital is out of the question; this would require the antivirals Tamiflu or Relenza (Relenza is likely to be more effective, since Tamiflu more quickly provokes resistance), as well as drugs for nausea, fever, pain, and muscle aches; basic medical supplies like gloves, masks, and a blood pressure monitor would also be prudent.
How To Survive the Avian Flu, Smallpox, or Plague
Recent reports from South Korea and Indonesia of after-the-fact discovery of a handful of mild human cases of H5N1 avian ’flu again have raised questions about whether the disease’s extraordinarily high death rate is being inflated because mild cases are being missed.
And South Korean officials revealed that testing of blood samples from more than 2,000 workers who culled diseased poultry in late 2003 and early 2004 showed five had developed antibodies to the virus - a sign they had been infected. ...An earlier round of testing in South Korea turned up four cullers with antibodies.
None of these people had serious illness at the time; none has yet been added to the WHO’s official case list.
Mild bird 'flu cases being missed
"The Ministry of Health in Iraq has retrospectively confirmed the country's third case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus," the WHO said in a statement.
Initial testing on samples taken from the boy had been inconclusive, possibly due to their deterioration during shipment, but repeated tests using different methods has confirmed the presence of the virus, according to the United Nations health agency.
Iraqi officials said in March that the H5N1 virus had been found in poultry in Baghdad, but to date there had been no human case confirmed in the war-ravaged capital. ...An Iraqi teenage girl and her uncle, both of whom died in January in the northern province of Sulaimaniya, were the country's first known human cases.
On Tuesday, delegates also tackled the topic of chronic ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which are the world's No. 1 killers, causing 35 million deaths a year - 60 percent of all deaths worldwide. Globally, 1 billion people are overweight or obese, according to the WHO.
"What we have before us is an overwhelming pandemic of chronic diseases," said Robert Beaglehole, director of the WHO's Geneva-based chronic diseases department. "It used to be thought that these were conditions of rich people and rich countries, but now we know in fact that 80 percent of all deaths from chronic disease occur in low- and middle-income countries."
WHO Regional Committee Meeting for the Western Pacific in Auckland, New Zealand
The World Health Organization still lacks half the funds it needs to help countries fight bird flu as more human cases are expected in the coming months, the acting director-general said Tuesday.
WHO needs $90 million to $100 million over a two-year period, but has only received about half that amount, Anders Nordstrom told The Associated Press. ..."We have still not been able to fill the gap. There's still a shortfall," Nordstrom said. "We still are able to respond when there are outbreaks, but to be able to really work with countries to build up good surveillance systems and information systems, we do need more resources."
International donors in January pledged $1.9 billion in Beijing to help fight bird flu and prepare for a pandemic, but only a portion of that money has been disbursed.
Also see: WHO still short half the funding needed to fight bird flu
As the fear of an impending avian flu pandemic is compelling hospitals, businesses and cities to develop preparedness plans, one of the most potentially dangerous breeding grounds of disease is woefully ill-prepared for a crisis, according to a new study being presented today by researchers at Saint LouisUniversity.
“There’s a real failure to recognize how important the health status of inmates is to the public health of all of us,” says Rachel Schwartz, PhD, a researcher at the Institute for Biosecurity at Saint Louis University School of Public Health. “Nearly 85 percent of those in jails and prisons will be released within a year. So even if we as a society don’t think protecting them from disease is a priority, prisoners released into the general population pose a real threat to society.”
There are more than 2 million prisoners in the United States, making up what Schwartz calls “a highly vulnerable population.” ...“There’s a much higher level of disease among prisoners – people with HIV, drug-resistant tuberculosis, hepatitis C and other diseases,” she says. ...She adds that 80 percent of inmates come to prison with some sort of illness. ...“And once they’re incarcerated, they’re more likely to get other diseases. It makes correctional facilities into ticking time bombs. Many people crowded together, often suffering from diseases that weaken their immune systems, form a potential breeding ground and reservoir for diseases.”
Evolution is entirely neutral on the question of the existence of a higher power, and it fits with many of the differing views of creation. While many opponents see belief in evolution as somehow “anti-God,” it is no more anti-God than belief in gravity. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, you should believe in evolution, because to do otherwise is to deny the evidence all around us.
Evolution isn’t part of some distant past, discernible only in ancient bones. It is a critically important biological mechanism that all Americans need to understand. From a public health perspective, we need to understand evolution because it plays a role in the generation of drug-resistant bacteria. Evolution is what could trigger bird flu to make the leap to a more contagious human form. In agriculture, evolution has allowed insects to develop widespread resistence to many pesticides. These are real things, not speculation from God-hating scientists, as evolution opponents would have us believe.
Evolution debate shows future of science is tenuous in the U.S.
Worldwide Bird Flu Death Toll is Rising
The H5N1 version of bird flu is the deadliest flu in recent history. Indonesia has now recorded its 49th human bird flu death according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This surpasses that of neighboring Vietnam with 42 bird flu deaths. ...This makes 2006 the deadliest year since the H5N1 virus started spreading rapidly amongst the world’s bird population. And it brings this year’s worldwide human death toll to 66, out of the 100 reported cases (66%). This death rate far exceeds that of the most deadly pandemic of the century, the 1918 Spanish flu, which had a death rate approximated at 2.5%. Even with this much lower death rate, the 1918 pandemic took a large toll on the worlds population with somewhere between 50-100 million deaths.
The H5N1 bird flu numbers however, are only for confirmed cases. The actual death toll and extent of illness are likely to be higher. The World Health Organization’s situation reports indicate that other likely cases have remained unconfirmed, due to the inability to collect samples prior to death and disposal of the remains.
The more opportunities H5N1 has to mix with the typical human seasonal flu, the greater the likelihood it will acquire the mutations that allow it to spread easily amongst humans. Experts agree that if this happens within 6 weeks the worldwide population will be fighting a pandemic battle that will be one for the history books.
"As long as avian influenza is endemic in the environment, there is a risk of a human pandemic."
In the US: ...bird flu... has already exhibited two of the three benchmarks for a pandemic: It’s a new virus strain with no immunity and causes a virulent illness once it infects humans. The only factor missing is it is not yet easily transmittable person to person.
“There’s not a real threat at this time,” he said. “It’s something for the government to be concerned, something for health departments to monitor (and) individuals don’t have to worry about it.”
The international community is not bearing enough of the burden of combating H5N1 avian flu, leaving too much of the work to some of the world's poorer countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's outgoing flu czar said Wednesday. ...Dr. Jim LeDuc said countries like Vietnam have paid a huge price to try to lower the risk that the virus will spark a human flu pandemic, without adequate compensation from developing countries in the form of guarantees of access to antiviral drugs or vaccines that might be created to protect against the virus.
"We as a global community have asked the least developed nations of the world to bear the brunt of controlling this," LeDuc told participants at a conference on the legal and ethical issues of mitigating pandemic disease hosted by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.
LeDuc admitted the gap between what is being asked and what is being offered troubles him deeply. ..."It's not a national issue. It's not a bilateral issue. It's something that I think we need to rely on the World Health Organization to set the stage and we need to have buy-in from nations around the world."
Global community not sharing enough of bird flu battle burden: CDC flu czar
* Influenza researchers are being hindered in their work by the United States' disease control agency's reluctance to share data, according to the journal Nature.
* Its Thursday edition reports widespread concerns that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was not making enough flu data available.
* "Many in the influenza field are displeased with the CDC's practice of refusing to deposit sequences of most of the strains that they sequence," Michael Deem of Rice University in Houston, who works on predicting flu vaccine efficiency, was quoted as saying.
* Policy decisions, such as which vaccine to produce ahead of each flu season, are being made without the data being available to the scientific community, he added.
* One evolutionary ecologist, who declined to be named, said: "Getting data from them has been somewhere between extremely difficult and impossible."
* Nature said that of about 15,000 influenza A sequences in the gene database Genbank and the influenza sequence database at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, fewer than a tenth were deposited by the CDC.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and UCLA will be developing a high-volume lab that will use robots to quickly test samples for infectious diseases. ...Test results would be cut from a month to a couple of days or a week at most, the scientists said.
The $22 million project is called the High Speed, High Volume Laboratory Network for Infectious Diseases. ...The lab will conduct surveillance of animal populations, specifically looking for bird flu... Machines will figure out DNA sequencing of a pathogen to identify a disease.
The lab is slated to be completed within a year. It will be moved to California and operated by UCLA. ...Similar labs will work together in a worldwide network to characterize large numbers of samples...
Scientists at Los Alamos, UCLA to develop an infectious disease lab
US begins building treaty-breaching germ war defence centre 31 Jul 2006 Construction work has begun near Washington on a vast germ warfare laboratory intended to help protect the US against an attack with biological weapon, but critics say the laboratory's work will violate international law and its extreme secrecy will exacerbate a biological arms race. The centre will have to produce and stockpile the world's most lethal bacteria and viruses, which is forbidden by the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
U.S. biodefense lab raises concerns 30 Jul 2006 The Bush regime is building a massive biodefense laboratory in Maryland that will simulate [stimulate?] calamitous bioterrorism attacks, it was reported Sunday. But much of what the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center in Fort Detrick, Md., does may never be publicly known because the White House intends to operate the facility largely in secret, the Washington Post reported. In an unusual arrangement, the building itself will be classified as "highly restricted space," the newspaper said. Not even nuclear labs operate with such secrecy.
The Secretive Fight Against (For) Bioterror --The government is building a highly classified facility to research biological weapons, but its closed-door approach has raised concerns. 30 Jul 2006 On the grounds of a military base an hour's drive from the capital, the Bush regime is building a massive biodefense laboratory unlike any seen since biological weapons were banned 34 years ago.
Poultry farmers who participate in a program to prevent the spread of diseases would be fully compensated for loss of birds and equipment if low-pathogenic strains of avian influenza are found, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday.
The NPIP, a voluntary measure among federal and state governments and the poultry industry, was created in the 1930s to certify flocks as free of poultry diseases.
Under the expansion, participating producers would be reimbursed for 100 percent of their costs associated with the cleanup of low-pathogenic H5 and H7 subtypes. ...Facilities that do not actively survey their flock as required by the program will have 25 percent of their eradication costs covered by USDA.
USDA expands compensation for bird flu cleanup
A new study indicates that H5N1 avian influenza viruses are becoming less deadly to ducks, permitting them to carry the viruses for days or weeks and spread them to more susceptible birds and potentially to humans. ...The findings "suggest that the duck has become the 'Trojan horse' of Asian H5N1 influenza viruses," ..."The ducks that are unaffected by infection with these viruses continue to circulate these viruses, presenting a pandemic threat."
The reported symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms:
1. fever (usually high)
3. extreme tiredness
4. dry cough
5. sore throat
6. runny or stuffy nose
7. muscle aches
8. Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults
9. Conjunctivitis is seen in some patients
Life threatening complications like viral pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes and multi organ failure may result in the death of the patient.
Bird flu: A threat to humanity
Bird flu 'may strike' in winter
Such an outbreak, which would hit poultry and human beings, would probably take place as common flu cases reach their peak, said Zeng Guang, chief epidemiology scientist at China's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. ...the three major bird flu outbreaks over the past three years had all taken place during the winter or spring.
It remains difficult to determine how the H5N1 virus will develop, said Zeng, but he noted there was a possibility it may form a hybrid with other flu viruses. ...Possible crossbreeding may result in a new form of virus which could be transmitted between humans, he noted. ...The H5N1 strain is of particular concern because it mutates rapidly and can acquire genes from viruses infecting other animal species. This highly pathogenic strain is now known to cause severe disease and death in humans.
As the disease increases among birds and humans, the likelihood also increases that a human concurrently infected with human and bird flu strains will serve as the "mixing vessel" for a new influenza subtype that can be transmitted easily from person to person, thus sparking a flu pandemic, according to the WHO.
In the past year, the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus moved rapidly outside of Southeast Asia and spread into Europe, Eurasia, and Africa. ...The disease has been detected in 53 countries and threatens to derail the significant progress we have made in international development.
Globally, the disease has borne a tremendous toll. It has already cost governments and private industries billions of dollars, and caused the death or destruction of at least 220 million birds, hurting agribusiness, trade, and opportunities for economic growth. To date, it has also infected 247 humans in 10 countries; almost 60 per cent of these cases have been fatal.
In addition to loss of life, avian influenza and the risk of a pandemic pose enormous challenges to global stability. Without aggressive measures to help build preparedness and response capacity in developing countries, the disease could proliferate into a pandemic capable of overwhelming even the most sophisticated healthcare and governmental systems.
USAID Administrator Randall Tobias on bird flu spread
Episcopal leader: “Where do people go if you can’t go to a hospital, if you can’t get 911 to answer? They go to their faith facility,” he said
A TEAM of international scientists ...has formed a 'rapid response' network to fight against bird flu.
So far scientists like Prof von Itzstein, who won the Australian Prize in 1996 for developing the world's first anti-flu drug Relenza, have not yet been able to study the bird flu virus. ..."The problem is that the flu viruses that have either recently emerged or are emerging in Asia haven't been well studied,"...
Prof von Itzstein will visit the Institut Pasteur of Cambodia before the end of the year to test not only Relenza and new drug compounds he has developed, but also the flu drug Tamiflu which governments including Australia's have stockpiled. ...He said it would be the first time the drugs would be tested on the strains of bird flu collected and he would know within two to three weeks of testing what effect they had, if any. ..."Already it is known that certain sub-strains or mutants of the H5N1 bird flu virus have developed a resistance to Tamiflu, (so) if any of these strains do become a pandemic flu, billion-dollar stockpiles of Tamiflu will become useless," said the professor.
Africa must intensify fight against bird flu
...outbreaks have been confirmed in eight countries in Africa. Nigeria was the first country to be hit in February 2006. Consequently, the outbreak has spread to Niger, Egypt, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Cote d'vore and Djibouti.
Her message was crystal clear. "The entire world, Africa continent being more vulnerable, is at risk in view of the current outbreak of the deadly bird flu disease that also affects humans", she said.
Indonesian health officials said on Tuesday that they were examining possible person-to-person transmission of bird flu after three brothers developed symptoms of the virus, one of whom has died.
So-called cluster cases, where the H5N1 virus is spread from human to human rather than from poultry, increase the chance of the virus mutating to become easily transmissible between people.
Indonesia is investigating a possible cluster of bird flu cases
Indonesia probes possible bird flu cluster in family
'What we have done so far on bird flu may not be enough'
Since bird flu broke out in poultry we have adopted measures that meet WHO and FAO standards to cope with the disease. We have culled fowl within a radius of one kilometer of any outbreak and vaccinated birds within a three-kilometer radius.
Why do these measures appear to have been ineffective, as we see the virus continue to spread to other areas?
People here have gradually begun to understand the danger of this virus, thanks to media coverage and local health campaigns. But there is also another aspect that is completely foreign to other countries. I remember quite well how a poultry farmer in Karo, North Sumatra, Pak Simbolon, who was so cooperative with us when we told him that his chickens must be culled. He was willing to take the Rp 12,500 compensation, but then he asked an honest question: What will I do to feed my family if you cull all my chickens? We were confronted with a tough question on the economic survival of these farmers. Here, there are a lot of human dynamics which are very delicate and unique. These aspects are not as simple as people think.
...As long as disease management is the sole burden of the government, it will never be enough. When we attended a meeting in Vienna earlier this year to discuss avian influenza, many experts agreed that dealing with this virus is like flying an airplane while making the plane. No one ever comes to totally correct and accurate decisions when dealing with something completely new.
Thai man who bred fighting cocks dies of bird flu; country's human toll 17
The man, from Nong Bua Lamphu province, had been treating his sick fighting cocks with herbal medicines when he was exposed to the disease, said Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of the Department of Communicable Disease Control.
He became ill on July 14 with fever and aches, and died on Aug. 10, said a statement from the Health Ministry.
"He didn't give his full history to the doctor - that he raised chickens, that they were sick, and that they had died," Thawat told The Associated Press. "He was scared that the agriculture officials would kills his birds."
Colleges won't get bird-flu aid
Health experts warn that the world is overdue for a flu pandemic, which means everyone, including officials at colleges and universities, must make preparations. ...More than 100 representatives of Virginia's colleges and universities were told yesterday that their institutions should not expect state assistance if a pandemic flu strikes their campuses.
"The populations you represent are not well-supported. Be aware of it," said Gordon Barwell, division director of field services for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. ...John Sheffield, director of safety and risk management at UR, said college officials faced with a pandemic would have to consider preparations they've never imagined, such as setting up morgues.
Sheffield said experts estimate that during a pandemic, 30 percent of students would become ill, a large portion of those would have to be hospitalized and some would die.
If there was a pandemic in several years' time we may not be ready
In a poll of 1,061 GPs and hospital doctors for Hospital Doctor magazine, more than a third said the government was badly prepared
Over half said they had not received any information about combating an outbreak.
Flu Wiki: H5N1 Clusters
* China - 2003
* Viet Nam - 2005 (Olsen cluster 11)
* Turkey - January 2006
* Azerbaijan - March 2006
* Indonesia - April 2006
* Indonesia - August 2006
H5N1 virus 'did mutate' in Indonesian family cluster
THE avian flu virus that infected eight members of the same family in Indonesia last month - killing seven of them - underwent a small mutation as it swept through the family, the World Health Organisation has concluded.
What happened in Sumatra has not, of itself, brought the prospect of a deadly pandemic strain of H5N1 any nearer. But if the experience is repeated often enough, the random rearrangement of genes will one day create a deadly strain. This could happen tomorrow, next year, or never.
The only way of making sure it is never is by eliminating H5N1 avian flu, which at present seems to be beyond governments and the WHO
Nine tests failed to detect H5N1, doctors reveal
When the man was initially taken in for treatment, he was tested for H5N1 even though it was not known at that stage whether he had been in contact with sick poultry, Department of Medical Sciences chief Dr Paijit Warachit said.
The first advanced Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test detected no signs of the H5N1 virus, nor did several repeat PCRs conducted later after the man's wife finally said that her husband had been in contact with sick chickens, Paijit said.
He was the first person to undergo nine PCR tests, yet the virus was still not detected until an autopsy was conducted on tissue taken from his lungs and faeces, he said.