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  • Bird flu update: 15 May 2006

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Below is a roundup of the key developments on the spread of the bird flu virus (H5N1) and the threat it poses to human health. Each title is a link to the full article.

Click here to see the latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures of confirmed human cases.

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Monday 15 May 2006
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Indonesia confirms five more human deaths from bird flu
Five people from the same family have died of bird flu in the Karo district of North Sumatra according to local tests, a health official said (Source: Vietnam News Agency).

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Sunday 14 May 2006
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Thailand, Vietnam get bird flu praise
The UN's top bird flu expert has told the BBC he is encouraged by successful efforts in Thailand and Vietnam to reduce the threat posed by the disease (Source: BBC Online).

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Saturday 13 May 2006
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Romania detects more bird flu in poultry
Romania has detected a new outbreak of H5N1 in poultry, just a month after the strain was said to have been eradicated there (Source: Reuters).

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Friday 12 May 2006
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Bird flu not spreading among wild fowl, study shows
Fears that H5N1 would move through Africa and Europe in flocks of wild birds have so far proven unfounded, say researchers (Source: Associated Press).

China sacks officials for ignoring bird flu reports
A local government in southwestern China's Sichuan province has sacked five officials for ignoring reports of suspected bird flu outbreaks and then dealing with the crisis incompetently (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu strikes in Djibouti
Tests have confirmed bird flu in poultry and a 2-year-old girl in Dijbouti; three of the girl's siblings are also being tested (Source: WHO).

Japan reports 16 people of suspected H5N2 infection
Tests suggest that 16 people in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture have been infected with the less virulent H5N2 strain of bird flu (Source: English.eastday.com).

Multiple pandemic outbreaks 'a real possibility'
Bird flu researchers write in Science to reiterate their concern that an initial outbreak of a pandemic flu strain could be followed shortly by additional outbreaks —  with implications for efforts to prepare for a pandemic and prevent it spreading (Source: ).

Study suggests older drugs could help fight H5N1
An analysis of more than 600 H5N1 viruses collected from several Asian countries suggests that two older antiviral drugs could be more useful in fighting a flu pandemic triggered by H5N1 than previously thought (Source: CIDRAP).

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Thursday 11 May 2006
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Mixed success for Sanofi Pasteur's bird flu vaccine
Preliminary tests of a vaccine to protect people from the H5N1 bird flu virus indicate that a highly efficient vaccine remains elusive (Source: SciDev.Net).

Morocco says market worker death was not bird flu
Tests on a poultry worker suspected of dying from bird flu show that he actually died from pulmonary bleeding (Source: Reuters).

Young 'should get pandemic jab'
The young should be prioritised for vaccination over the elderly, ill and disabled in the event of a flu pandemic, US researchers suggest (Source: BBC Online).

Cote D'Ivoire: bird flu 'under control'
Cote d'Ivoire's government says its rapid reaction programmes to contain an outbreak of bird flu virus are going well after a mass poultry cull (Source: Reuters).

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Wednesday 10 May 2006
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Skin patch could strengthen flu vaccine
A skin patch designed to boost the immune response could help stretch out scarce supplies of influenza vaccine at the start of a pandemic, say researchers (Source: Reuters).

H5N1 in blood could open way for new test
The discovery that the H5N1 virus can be detected in blood could lead to a safer way of diagnosing the disease, which at present requires collection of respiratory secretions and can lead to further infections (Source: Reuters).

Caribbean bird flu centre planned
Plans for a regional facility to diagnose the H5N1 virus are being discussed among the Pan American Health Organisation, the Caribbean Epidemiology Department, the University of the West Indies and Trinidad's Ministry of Health (Source: Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation).

Spread of bird flu slows in Nigeria, officials say
Nigerian officials say the spread of H5N1 bird flu is slowing, three months after the disease was first detected in Africa's most populous country (Source: Reuters).

Yemen: Poultry sector loses US$1 million a day
Yemen's poultry industry is losing about US$1 million a day due to fears over bird flu, say officials at the agriculture ministry (Source: Reuters).

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Tuesday 9 May 2006
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Asia-Pacific cooperation planned to cut flu costs
Countries from the Asia-Pacific region last week agreed a plan to limit the economic impacts of a human flu pandemic (Source: SciDev.Net).

Bird flu may infect people through the gut, virologist says
The H5N1 bird flu virus might be able to infect people through the gut, not just the respiratory system, says a virologist working in Vietnam (Source: Bloomberg).

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Monday 8 May 2006
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Test confirms 25th bird flu death in Indonesia
International tests have confirmed that a 30-year-old Indonesian man who died last month had bird flu, taking the country's death toll from the virus to 25 (Source: Reuters).

Egypt: bird-flu deaths linked to household chickens
Human deaths caused by the H5N1 virus have resulted mostly from exposure to household chickens, rather than working on poultry farms, says the Egyptian health ministry (Source: Reuters).

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