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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.

Monday 16 October 2006

Bird flu kills 150th person; may have infected victim's brain
Bird flu may have infected a 67-year-old Indonesian woman's brain before it killed her yesterday, marking the 150th fatality caused by the virus worldwide since late 2003 (Source: Bloomberg).

Sunday 15 October 2006

Eleven-year-old boy dies of bird flu in Indonesia
An 11-year-old Indonesian boy has died of bird flu, marking the country's 53rd death from the virus, an official at the Health Ministry's bird flu centre said (Source: Reuters).

Thursday 12 October 2006

Study supports concept of 2-stage H5N1 vaccination
The human immune system may respond better to a vaccine for a new strain of H5N1 avian influenza if it is prepared in advance with a vaccine based on an existing strain, a study's preliminary results suggest (Source: CIDRAP).

China to start second trial for bird flu vaccine soon
A Chinese company that is developing an H5N1 vaccine for humans plans to kick off a second clinical trial before the end of the year and will have its production capacity expanded ten-fold by mid-2007 (Source: Reuters).

Fiji warned about bird flu risks
A leading bird flu expert has warned Fiji that if the bird flu virus hits the country, it could kill 5,000 people; he said the island has been so occupied with reported outbreaks of diseases this year that there has been little time to prepare for a flu pandemic (Source: Xinhua).

New crisis management centre launched by FAO
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has opened a centre to manage responses to bird flu outbreaks that will monitor disease information from around the globe continuously, and dispatch experts anywhere within 48 hours (Source: FAO).

WHO candidate for director-general vows to make bird flu priority if elected
Shigeru Omi of Japan, currently the WHO's Western Pacific regional director, is among 13 candidates nominated to fill the top job at the WHO; he says pandemic preparedness is his "first commitment" (Source: Associated Press).

Wednesday 11 October 2006

Hospitalised Indonesian woman has bird flu
A 67-year-old woman living in the Cisarua area of Bandung who is being treated in hospital has tested positive for bird flu, a health official said (Source: Reuters).

China reinstates daily bird flu reports
China has reinstated daily reporting on the results of bird flu monitoring, state media said, after two outbreaks in the country's northwest earlier this month; the reports are published by the Xinhua news agency (Source: Reuters).

UNICEF helps Thailand with preventive education in schools
The UN's children's fund UNICEF is helping Thailand with a nationwide school-based campaign to protect children and their families from the spread of bird flu (Source: UN News Centre).

Tuesday 10 October 2006

Thai researchers develop fast test for bird flu resistance
Thai researchers have successfully developed a new method to quickly and accurately detect whether a bird flu virus is resistant to the anti-viral drug oseltamivir (Source: The Nation).

Pigs, cats in Indonesia infected with H5N1
Pigs and stray cats have been found infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus in Indonesia, adding to the few previous reports of such cases, according to news services (Source: CIDRAP).

Egypt detects new human H5N1 bird flu case
Egypt has detected its first human case of H5N1 since May in a woman who raised ducks in her home, a WHO official said (Source: Reuters).

Monday 9 October 2006

Exercises lead to changes in Singapore's bird flu tactics
Singapore has made three key changes to its plan of action in the event of a possible bird flu pandemic, based on lessons learnt from preparedness exercises conducted earlier this year (Source: Channel NewsAsia).

Researchers seek to block bird flu virus
Scientists have discovered a protein that prevents flu viruses from entering cells, which could lead to anti-viral medications to fight a number of flu strains, including bird flu (Source: Associated Press).

Bird flu found in pigs in Bali, Indonesia
H5N1 has infected pigs on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, a senior agriculture ministry official said (Source: Reuters).

Instant flu protection offered by "protecting virus"
British scientists are developing a new method for protecting people against flu by altering a flu virus so that it acts as a vaccine against its unaltered form (Source: University of Warwick).

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