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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 2 July 2006

Bird flu hits young people hardest, says WHO
An analysis of more than 200 human cases of bird flu shows that the virus tends to kill younger people, with the median age of victims being 20 years (Source: San Francisco Chronicle).

Saturday 1 July 2006

Australian researchers to test bird flu vaccine
Researchers have begun a human trial to test the effectiveness of a vaccine to protect people from bird flu (Source: Medical News Today).

H5N1 found in birds in China's northwest
China has found the H5N1 virus in birds in the northwestern region of Ningxia, the agriculture ministry said (Source: Reuters).

Friday 30 June 2006

Bird flu in 53 nations
Outbreaks of the H5N1 avian flu virus have been confirmed in 53 countries, with 16 announcing cases within three months, notes a report released by the US Department of Health and Human Services (Source: Bangkok Post).

Bird flu vaccine '10 years away'
Bird flu experts meeting in Paris have been told that a viable vaccine against the human form of the disease could take ten years to develop (Source: BBC Online).

Bird flu spreads to new state in Nigeria
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has appeared in the remote Taraba state in eastern Nigeria, officials said (Source: Reuters).

Thursday 29 June 2006

Ethiopia: avian flu contingency plan approved
Ethiopia's national avian flu coordination committee has approved a US$124 million contingency plan that includes the creation of surveillance systems, stockpiling of essential medical supplies and equipment, and systems for building response capacity (Source: Reuters).

Flu pandemic could cost up to US$2 trillion — World Bank
A flu outbreak killing 70 million people worldwide could cause global economic losses of up to US$2 trillion, says a World Bank official (Source: Bloomberg).

Wednesday 28 June 2006

Bird flu fatalities almost triple, spurring need for drugs
Human fatalities from bird flu have almost tripled this year, prompting calls for increased supplies of drugs to fight the virus (Source: Bloomberg).

Economic impact of bird flu hinges on panic
The severity of a global economic slowdown caused by a bird flu pandemic would largely depend on how people and governments react, say economists (Source: Reuters).

Probe continues into 'first bird flu death'
China's Ministry of Health will organise an investigation into the death of a man in 2003 — researchers claim it was due to H5N1, not SARS as first reported (Source: China Daily).

Thai minister denies new case of bird flu found
Thailand's health minister has assured the public that no new cases of avian flu have been identified since early this year, and that a suspected outbreak in Sukhothai was not bird flu (Source: Thai News Agency).

Tuesday 27 June 2006

Experts call for computer imaging to halt outbreaks
Experts called for the use of geographic information systems to produce detailed maps showing locations of residential and office buildings, markets, chicken farms and any other sites where infections might have occurred (Source: Reuters).

Bangladesh: emergency programme for bird flu
The government of Bangladesh has approved a US$61 million emergency programme to prevent the spread of bird flu (Source: Xinhua).