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BANGKOK, Oct. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- A man suspected of having infected with bird flu virus in central Thailand has been cleared of the deadly disease, according to local press reports Wednesday.
Laboratory tests by the Medical Sciences Department confirmed that the man, who fell ill after contacting with dead chickens in Kanchanaburi, has not been infected with H5N1.
The 48 year-old villager in Phanom Thuan district developed bird flu-like symptoms and was sent to local hospital several daysafter slaughtering chickens for his neighbors.
"We found he developed a lung infection with symptoms that werevery similar to bird flu. But I would like to confirm that at the moment there is no confirmed human case of bird flu," the Medical Sciences Department chief Paijit Warachit was quoted by Bangkok Post as saying.
The patient was transferred to a provincial hospital on Monday since his condition did not improve through treatment.
The suspicious case came as vigilance over bird flu heightened following the spread of the H5N1 strain of the virus to Europe last week, with confirmed cases in Romania and Turkey for the first time.
On Monday, livestock officials destroyed 364 free-range chickens raised by villagers in the district after many were foundto have died of bird flu.
The area was hit by the virus last year and it was the locationof the first confirmed case in humans in Thailand.
Vietnam Reports New cases of Bird Flu
According to tests by the Regional Animal Health Center in Can Tho city, the fowl were infected with a type A bird flu virus strain," said Nguyen Phuc Tai, director of the provincial Animal Health Department.
Some 400 out of over 500 ducks raised by a local farmer in Hong Dan district died by Monday, he said, adding that the whole flock, which had yet to be vaccinated against bird flu, was culled Tuesday morning.
Bac Lieu had vaccinated more than 400,000 fowls out of its poultry population of over 1.1 million, said Lam Tri Thong, deputy head of the provincial Animal Health Department.
Bird flu - the global impact
Countries around the world are beginning to brace themselves to deal with the spread of avian flu, which is beginning to break away from its original "hotspot" of South East Asia.
Outbreaks of the latest H5N1 strain among birds were first spotted in Vietnam and Thailand in 2003. It spread to several other countries in the region, and has now established a foothold in western Turkey and Romania.
The World Health Organization's count of the number of human deaths currently stands at 60.
Fresh bird flu outbreak in China
China has announced a fresh outbreak of bird flu, saying 2,600 birds have died from the disease in Inner Mongolia.
The deaths, at a farm near the region's capital of Hohhot, were due to the H5N1 strain, which is potentially lethal to humans, the Xinhua news agency said.
China has previously suffered outbreaks of bird flu in Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Tibet, all this year. Thousands of affected fowl have been slaughtered.
Bird flu has killed at least 60 people in Asia since December 2003.
Xinhua said the latest outbreak, in Tengjiaying village near Hohhot, was now under control, though it did not say when it had taken place.
China's national bird flu laboratory confirmed it was the H5N1 strain, Xinhua said.
Bird flu in Europe 'doesn't make pandemic inevitable
Telegraph Co UK
Meanwhile, Macedonian authorities have said that one dead chicken found among hundreds in a village north of the Greek border had raised suspicions and samples were being sent to Britain for tests for possible bird flu.
"We had one sample which was suspicious. It could be any kind of flu, not only bird flu. But to be sure we decided to send the sample to the UK for tests," said Sloboden Cokrevski, Macedonia's chief veteranarian official.
Meanwhile, Taiwan said it has found birds infected with H5N1 in a container smuggled from China, in the first case of the strain in Taiwan found since late 2003.
Taiwan coast guards seized the Panama-registered cargo on October 14, and on Thursday confirmed that about 1,000 birds on it were infected.
The birds have been destroyed.
Vietnam, which has suffered the most bird flu human deaths, this week saw its first outbreak in poultry since June.
On Wednesday China said a flock of some 2,600 fowl succumbed to the virus at a farm in Inner Mongolia
And on the same day in Europe, fresh outbreaks were reported in Romania and Russia.
Scientists and health professionals fear H5N1 may mutate and acquire genes from the human flu virus that would make it highly infectious as well as lethal — possibly killing millions worldwide as the influenza pandemic of 1918 did.
Taiwanese authorities on Thursday confirmed the island's first case of bird flu, the Agricultural Commission said.
Birds taken from a Panama-registered freighter that was stopped by the Taiwanese coast guard on Oct. 14 tested positive for the H5N1 virus, the commission said.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed 60 people in Asia. While most human cases have been traced to direct contact with infected birds, scientists fear the virus will mutate into a virulent form that can spread easily from person to person, possibly killing millions worldwide.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian officials covered up and then neglected a spreading bird-flu epidemic for two years until it began to sicken humans this summer, posing a grave threat to people well beyond the country's borders, according to Indonesian and international health experts.
Health experts say the Indonesian epidemic started in commercial poultry farms, spread among the tens of millions of free-range chickens raised in back yards and finally infected people. At each step, the Indonesian government failed to take measures that could have broken the chain, while discouraging research into the outbreak.
As a result, specialists are concerned that the Indonesia cases pose a worldwide threat if the bird-flu virus changes and becomes contagious among humans.
Thailand has had a new human death from bird flu, taking its national total to 13, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says.
"Lab test results came out about midnight last night and came out as positive," Mr Thaksin said.
Health officials say the victim was a 48-year-old man in Kanchanburi province, around 100 kilometres west of the capital, Bangkok.
Bangkok has recently reported fresh outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus in poultry.
"The first lab results came out negative, but we tested it several times and it confirmed it was positive," Thawat Suntrajarn, the director general at the Department of Disease Control, said.
He says that the victim's son, who has a history of contact with chickens, had so far not tested positive for the disease.
A provincial health official says the victim had been slaughtering chickens near his house before falling ill.
Thailand's Thaksin Urges Calm After Bird Flu Death
Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra urged Thais not to panic after a resurgence of the deadliest strain of bird flu killed a 13th person in the kingdom -- the first this year.
``The second test on a dead person came out last night and found that the man in Kanchanaburi province had died from the bird flu,'' Thaksin said during his weekly televised press conference today. ``He has a track record of contact with chickens. But don't panic, the health minister this afternoon will go to the area to supervise the cleaning.''
Avian flu has the ability to pass from bird to bird. There is no evidence that the virus has mutated into a form allowing it to pass from person to person, David Nabarro, the United Nations coordinator for avian influenza said on Oct. 11. Indonesia's health minister today warned of the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus after a father and son were suspected of having contracted bird flu, Agence France-Presse reported.
A 48-year-old man, who died earlier this week after cooking and eating sick chickens, had bird flu, making him the 13th person killed by the disease in Thailand.
Initially, authorities said the man, who died yesterday, had tested negative for the disease.
But Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said lab results released early today confirmed the bird flu diagnosis.
The villager, Bang-on Benphat, died in western Thailand after suffering from pneumonia-like symptoms.
His seven-year-old son, who also had contact with the chicken, has been hospitalised in Bangkok and is also suspected of contracting bird flu since he has a fever and a lung infection, said Dr Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of the Department of Communicable Disease Control.
Originally posted by FredT
Interesting to say the least. I doubt that it was a deliberate attack, but it does raise some eyebrows. China is home to 25% of the worlds domesticated chickens and a huge chunk of ducks and geese (90% in the case of domesticated geese) so it stands to reason that they could have a higer percentage of infected birds.
China has lied and covered up the extent of its problems with H5N1 as it tried to do with SARS so Im not surprised. If it were proven that this was done on purpose it would cause more problems for China that it would gain them I think.
Originally posted by Mayet
It just seems strange that 14 chickens on a freighter that was smuggled to and intercepted by Taiwan. Who smuggled the chickens and why? its pretty well known that chickens aren't supposed to cross borders now, especially dead.
Originally posted by Mayet
A fresh wave of reports on new Bird Flu outbreaks has the world in fear that we are beginning the global pandemic outbreak that has been so widely forecast and predicted.
Originally posted by hands
Originally posted by Mayet
A fresh wave of reports on new Bird Flu outbreaks has the world in fear that we are beginning the global pandemic outbreak that has been so widely forecast and predicted.
Can I be pedantic here?
The 'avian flu' is already acknowledged as pandemic in BIRDS. There is as yet no firm evidence that the virus has changed (it won't be strictly h5 n1 when it gets into humans) to one that is easily transmissable between human beings.
You have voted Mayet for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.
THE threat posed by bird flu may just have receded a little.
The Indian company Cipla says it will begin marketing a generic version of the antiviral drug oseltamivir, better known as Tamiflu, by December and will be able to make a million 10-capsule courses of treatment per month by next July. The drug is one of the few that can block replication of the H5N1 virus, potentially preventing the illness from becoming fatal.
The move had been opposed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, which holds the patent on Tamiflu. But this week, in a dramatic turnaround, Roche said it would not oppose companies that want to strike a licensing deal.
If a pandemic of H5N1 flu arrives soon, antivirals are the best hope of saving lives. A potential vaccine against H5N1 has been available since early 2004, but trials in humans are only now beginning (New Scientist, 15 October, p 6)
While some strains of H5N1 are resistant even to Tamiflu, they are thought to be too weak to pose a serious threat. But H5N1 is so virulent that the drug may not save the patient. In experiments published in July, the equivalent of the 10-capsule course of treatment used in humans saved only half of infected mice, and even 16 capsules saved only 80 per cent.
The main problem, however, is supply (see "Why so little Tamiflu?"). Roche, the only company now making Tamiflu, says it doubled production in 2004, doubled it again this year and will double it again by 2007. Though Roche will not say how much drug that amounts to, its annual report suggests it could be of the order of 40 million courses a year.
Adults in the prime of life could be most at risk of deadly bird flu, the Government's top medical adviser warned last night.
Sir Liam Donaldson said that men and women aged 20 to 40 could be the main target of the human form of the disease.
He said a similar flu hit exactly that group almost 100 years ago.
Sir Liam also cautioned that the bug could strike more than once, re-emerging again and again to sweep through the population in 'waves'.
The second wave could be even more lethal than the first, he said.
The Government believes one in four people will be infected and around 50,000 will die if the flu strikes.
The same day China and Romania reported fresh outbreaks of a deadly avian flu strain, Britain announced plans to inoculate its entire population once a vaccine is found.
So far, Britain has not recorded any cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu. But as the disease continues to spread across Europe, British authorities unveiled their defence plan Wednesday.
Acknowledging that it is virtually impossible to stop the virus from mutating into a virulent form easily spread among humans, Britain's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said he nevertheless hopes to reduce its impact.
"One of the most effective counter-measures we can take against a flu pandemic is to make sure we develop and manufacture a vaccine as quickly as possible," he said.
i would just like to say one thing..... Just how much money is Roche making out of all this. How many million doses at $50.00 dollars a course approx.
Three pigeons will be destroyed in Melbourne after testing positive to avian flu antibodies.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) says the birds were part of a consignment of 102 pigeons imported to Melbourne from Canada last month.
A spokesman for AQIS says the birds do not actually have the bird flu virus, but have been in contact with the virus at some point.
He says there is absolutely no risk to the public.
The spokesman says as a precaution talks are under way with Canadian authorities to return the remaining birds.
A preliminary test on a bird from the Greek islands has showed no evidence of the potentially deadly strain of the bird flu virus.
A single turkey from a poultry farm near the island of Chios was diagnosed with the H5 strain of the virus earlier this week.
Initial tests by a British laboratory have not identified the H5N1 strain that is responsible for more than 60 deaths in Asia.
The European Commission says it cannot yet rule out the presence of bird flu in Greece
The Australian Government may ban all live bird imports after three pigeons imported from Canada tested positive to bird flu antibodies.
A dispute has broken out between the two countries about testing regimes.
A consignment of 102 birds from Canada was found to have three pigeons which had bird flu antibodies and four with newcastle disease antibodies.
Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran says Canada's testing regime is faulty and the Government has banned bird imports from that country.
It is also considering a ban on live bird imports from other nations "because that's of course where the avian influenza virus would be spread".
Jim Clark from Canada's Food Inspection Agency says his organisation does not have to test for antibodies if Canada has already been declared free of the disease.
"In Canada's case we are free of the avian influenza virus and have been since May 2004," Dr Clark said.
THE strain of avian flu antibodies found in three pigeons shipped from Canada could already be present in Australia, a quarantine service spokesman said.
The birds were discovered by Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officers in a consignment of 102 breeding pigeons that arrived in Melbourne from Canada.
Three tested positive for the antibodies of a strain of avian flu, indicating they had been exposed to the virus in the past.
A further four birds were found to have antibodies for Newcastle disease, another deadly avian illness.
AQIS spokesman David Finlayson said it was possible the strain of antibodies and others could already be present in local bird populations.
"It may be possible that some strains may be present, but the point is that we are not wanting to introduce anything that could be of additional concern to our native birdlife or to commercial bird production," he told ABC Radio today.
"We don't know what particular strain of virus was present. Our testing can't show that from these antibody results. We're not prepared to take risks."
POSSIBLE cases of bird flu among family members in Indonesia do not mean the deadly virus is mutating but could be caused by close contact normal in families, the World Health Organisation said today.
"It doesn't mean mutation," Georg Petersen, WHO's Indonesia representative, said today.
Concern about the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu centres on scientists' fears it may mutate into a form that passes easily among humans, sparking a pandemic that may kill millions.
Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari yesterday said the possibility bird flu was infecting more than one member of a family could mean the virus had changed and was possibly spreading from human to human in Indonesia.
She was referring to a father and son being treated in Jakarta who both had symptoms of the virus.
Mr Petersen said preliminary tests showed they had influenza, but the type was unclear. The Health Ministry said it might announce test results later today.
"What we know is that from one clear case in Thailand and probably in other cases there has been close family contact and this is why it could have gone from one person to another," Mr Petersen said.
"It's not what we call extensive human-to-human transmission ... it doesn't mean mutation."
China has reported no human cases of bird flu, but scientists say it is a huge incubator for the disease because of its large poultry industry and vast territory.
Nabarro warned that more outbreaks were likely.
"The possibility of more incidents of H5N1 bird flu identification is really quite possible given that the migrating season is approaching," he said.
He urged countries to be prepared to identify and stamp out the disease at source to prevent it spreading.
The China Daily newspaper reported that Beijing was considering the feasibility of stockpiling the anti-flu drug Tamiflu, which it doesn't currently produce. (AP)
LONDON (Reuters) - Drug industry executives are working overtime to prevent what could be a positive news story on bird flu from turning into a public relations disaster.
In contrast to previous flu pandemics in 1918, 1957 and 1968, the world now has an armoury of antiviral drugs to help contain an outbreak, if the H5N1 virus circulating in birds mutates and starts to spread easily between people.
Yet Switzerland's Roche Holding, which makes the best of the products, Tamiflu, finds itself on the defensive as critics demand it allow production of generic versions, in a row echoing past patent controversies over AIDS.
"Patents will not stand in the way of producing the drug for mankind," the company's chief executive, Franz Humer, insisted in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
But just how far his company will go in issuing licences to generic producers is not yet clear.
Roche says it can satisfy current levels of demand for a normal flu season and deliver on stockpiling orders it has received from governments around the world.
HONG KONG, China -- One of Asia's busiest borders might be sealed if the deadly H5N1 bird flu starts spreading from human to human, according to a media report.
Hong Kong's cross-over points with mainland China might be sealed in the event of such an outbreak, the South China Morning Post reported Friday.
"If it is proven to be human-to-human transmission, then we have to be very careful and we might have to close the border" with the mainland, Hong Kong Secretary for Health York Chow was reported as saying.
The ailing seven-year-old son of a Thai farmer who died of bird flu is still undergoing tests in a Bangkok hospital to determine whether he has the deadly virus, the health minister has said.
"Sometimes testing for the virus takes time," said the minister, Suchai Chareonratanakul. "If the results are not clear, many tests are required so that our analysis is unambiguous.
"Siriraj Hospital will clarify the test results later."
The minister visited the boy in hospital and later told reporters: "His condition has greatly improved, and now he has no pneumonia and a lower fever."
The boy's father, 48-year-old farmer Bang-on Benpad, caught the disease while he and his son slaughtered sick chicken. Bang-on died early Wednesday, and concern has mounted over the fate of his son.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- As migrating waterfowl begin winging their way toward the warmth of the Mideast, the United Arab Emirates -- with a coastline and wetlands that host millions of wintering birds -- is bracing for the arrival of ducks and geese carrying the dreaded bird flu virus.
"We can't sleep, I'm telling you," Majid Al Mansouri, who heads the nation's bird flu campaign, said Thursday.
Across the Mideast, countries are stockpiling vaccine and medication, banning poultry and live bird imports and going on alert.
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has devastated poultry stocks and killed 61 people in Asia, where another death from the disease was confirmed Thursday in Thailand. The disease has spread to birds in Europe, where it's been confirmed in Turkey and Romania in recent weeks, as well as in Russia.
Now the birds blamed for bringing H5N1 to Turkey are headed across the Mideast, where half a million birds, from eagles to warblers, winter every year. Others pass through on their way from Siberia and central Asia to southern Africa.
Emirates government inspectors have fanned out to check poultry farms, halt sale of live chickens and force people who own a few chickens or ducks to kill them now or hand them over for destruction.
THE seven-year-old son of a Thai farmer who died of bird flu two days ago has also contracted the disease, according to a hospital statement Friday.
"Two different tests, performed at two different laboratories, have produced a positive result. So the boy has the bird flu virus," Siriraj Hospital said in a statement.
The confirmation makes the boy, Ronnarit Benpad, the 19th confirmed case of bird flu in Thailand since the first human case was detected here in January 2004.
The boy and his father, 48-year-old farmer Bang-on Benpad, caught the disease while he and his son slaughtered a sick chicken in their village in the western province of Kanchanaburi.