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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.

Sunday 11 February 2007

Bird flu virus kills Indonesian
Indonesian health officials confirmed that a 20-year-old woman who tested positive for the H5N1 virus has died, becoming the country's 64th victim of bird flu (Source: BBC).

Most bird flu victims under 40, WHO analysis finds
Ninety per cent of the people infected with bird flu have been under the age of 40, and 60 per cent of them have died, according to analysis by the World Health Organization (Source: Reuters).

Saturday 10 February 2007

Third bird flu outbreak in poultry confirmed in Pakistan
Pakistan confirmed its third outbreak of bird flu in poultry in about a week, the country's first spate of outbreaks of the disease in seven months, an agriculture ministry official said (Source: Associated Press).

Poultry trade spreads bird flu says UN
Bird flu is increasingly spread through the poultry trade, said the UN coordinator for avian and human flu (Source: Reuters).

Friday 9 February 2007

Combination of drugs should be stockpiled to fight flu pandemic
A combination of antiviral drugs should be stockpiled for use in an influenza pandemic, as combining two types of drugs may reduce side effects and the risk of resistance, say researchers (Source: News-medical.Net).

Link to full paper in the British Medical Journal

Thursday 8 February 2007

Africa's bird flu preparations must involve the media
The media must be involved in African preparations for a possible bird flu outbreak (Source: SciDev.Net).

Avian influenza in cats should be closely monitored
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has recommended that in areas where the H5N1 virus has been found in poultry or wild birds, cats should be separated from infected birds until the danger has passed (Source: FAO).

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Indonesia stops sharing bird flu samples
Indonesia has stopped sharing samples of the H5N1 virus with the rest of the world and will instead send them exclusively to a US drug manufacturer Baxter in return for technical assistance in producing a vaccine (Source: SciDev.Net).

Tuesday 6 February 2007

WHO confirms Egyptian girl died of bird flu
A 17-year-old girl from Fayyoum, Egypt has died of bird flu, bringing the number of confirmed deaths in Egypt to 12, the World Health Organization said (Source: Reuters).

Two more Indonesians have bird flu
Two more Indonesians were confirmed to have bird flu: a 15-year-old girl from Jakarta and a 30-year-old man from West Java who lived in an area where many poultry had died (Source: CIPRAP).

Monday 5 February 2007

Philippine government budgets US$2.5 million to fight bird flu
The Philippine government has earmarked US$2.5 million to fight bird flu in 2007 by monitoring the risk of infection from migratory birds, upgrading laboratories and building up rapid-action capability in case of an outbreak (Source: Associated Press).

Friday 2 February 2007

Experts: don't ignore less virulent strains
Experts have called for closer study of less lethal strains of the H5N1 bird flu virus because they might be more likely to spark an influenza pandemic (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu can infect people via upper airway
Scientists have found that the H5N1 bird flu virus can infect cells in humans' upper airway, and that they don't have to penetrate deep into the lungs to cause an infection (Source: Reuters).

New H5N1 outbreak confirmed in chickens in central Thailand
The H5N1 bird-flu virus has re-appeared in a third Thai province, the country's third outbreak this year after a six-month lull, the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday (Source: Associated Press).

Thursday 1 February 2007

Nigeria confirms first human bird flu death
Nigeria has recorded the first human death due to bird flu in sub-Saharan Africa in a 22-year-old woman, the government confirmed (Source: SciDev.Net).

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