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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.

27 August – 3 September 2007

Statistics 'prove' human-to-human transmission of bird flu
Scientists say evidence from a statistical model proves that a cluster of bird flu cases in Sumatra, Indonesia in 2006 was caused by human-to-human transmission (source: Reuters).

The Philippines gets more bird flu diagnostic labs
The Philippines is setting up three new bird flu diagnostic laboratories, with funding from the Japanese government (source: Bayanihan News).

WHO confirms five Vietnamese bird flu cases
The WHO has confirmed that five people in Vietnam — four deaths between 21 June and 3 August and a man who recovered — were infected with the H5N1 virus (source: Reuters).

20–26 August 2007

Second bird flu death in Bali
A 28-year-old woman has become the second death from bird flu in Bali, Indonesia, the WHO has confirmed (source: Reuters).

Indonesia and Japan collaborate on bird flu
Indonesia has offered to collaborate with Japan to create an H5N1 vaccine based on the Indonesian stain of the virus. Japan has also donated US$14.8 million to fight bird flu in Indonesia (source: Xinhua).

Italy donates US$1.5 million to Vietnamese centre
Italy has donated almost US$1.5 million towards a bird flu and SARS facility, to be built in Vietnam's Thua Thien Hue province. The institute aims to offer respiratory care and carry out research into both diseases (source: Thanh Nien News).

Method 'extends' stockpile of bird flu vaccine
Scientists have designed a method to extend current stockpiles of bird flu vaccine, meaning more people could be vaccinated in an outbreak.

Scientists pinpoint differences between human flu and bird flu
Experts have identified key differences between human and avian influenza viruses, which, they say, could be used to monitor changes in H5N1 that indicate development toward a pandemic strain (source: Reuters).
Thai H5N1 'not mutated'
Thailand's Disease Control Department says it has tested the H5N1 virus and it has not mutated to an extent that suggests it could cause a pandemic (source: The Nation).

13–19 August 2007

Bird flu death in Bali
A 29-year-old woman from Bali, Indonesia, has died from bird flu, the WHO has confirmed (source: Reuters).

Indonesian teenager dies from bird flu
A 17-year-old Indonesian girl from Tangerang, west of Jakarta, has died from bird flu, the WHO has confirmed. She is the country's eighty-third bird flu death (source: Reuters).

Indonesia shares Bali sample for 'diagnostic purposes'
Indonesia has sent a sample of H5N1 virus, which killed a 29-year-old woman, to the WHO's collaborator, the US Centers for Disease Control. The health ministry says the sample is for diagnostic, not commercial, use (source: Reuters).

Egypt battles with avian influenza*
The situation in Egypt, as the government struggles to contain bird flu in domestic birds, is reported on in this Lancet article (source: The Lancet).
*requires free registration

6–12 August 2007

Vietnamese teenager dies from bird flu
A 15-year-old has died in Vietnam from bird flu, while on the way to a Hanoi hospital from the northern province of Thanh Hoa, state media has quoted health officials as saying (source: Reuters).

Scientists mutate H5N1 in vaccine search
Scientists have mutated an H5N1 protein to identify variants that could one day pass between humans, and be used as vaccines.

Indonesia won't share virus until 'fair mechanism' is agreed
An Indonesian health official has denied sending unusable samples to the WHO and says the country will not resume full cooperation with the WHO until a fair mechanism for virus sharing is in place (source: Reuters).

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