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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 6 November

Australian vets help Indonesian labs diagnose bird flu
Veterinarians from Australia and Indonesia are participating in a two-year exchange programme to build Indonesia's capacity for diagnosing bird flu (Source: World Poultry News).

Nigeria to embark on bird flu surveillance project
Nigeria will launch a national active surveillance project to determine the status of bird flu in the country, following recent outbreaks of infections (Source: Tide News).

Uganda gets new bird flu test kits
Uganda's Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has acquired bird flu test kits, as part of the government's measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza (Source: New Vision).

Friday 3 November

WHO: No proof that new H5N1 strain more transmissible
There are no indications that the new strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the Fujian strain, could be more easily transmissible among people, says the WHO (Source: Reuters). 

Jamaica ready to handle possible bird flu outbreak
Jamaica is assessing how prepared it is to deal with an outbreak of avian influenza and training health and veterinary workers in best practice during an outbreak (Source: The Jamaica Observer). 

Thursday 2 November 2006

Dog in Thailand died of H5N1 after eating infected duck
Bird flu infected the organs of a dog in Thailand after it ate an infected duck and later died of the infection, highlighting the need for monitoring domestic animals during outbreaks, researchers said (Source: Bloomberg).
Link to paper in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

East China reinstates bird flu monitoring
The Shandong Province in eastern China has reinstated round-the-clock surveillance of bird flu to prevent possible outbreaks as migratory birds fly over the province (Source: Xinhua).

Migratory birds are not the main cause of bird flu spread
Migratory birds play only a minor role in the long-distance spread of the H5N1 bird flu virus, instead the main causes are the poultry trade, highly concentrated poultry production systems, and the virus' constantly evolving nature, said UN officials (Source: Xinhua).

China rebuffs US report on Fujian strain of bird flu
China's Foreign Ministry rejected a US-study on the Fujian strain of bird flu, saying that no evidence of major mutations to the virus has been found in southern China (Source: Xinhua).

Bird flu sentinel flocks expanded in Malaysia
Malaysia is expanding its use of sentinel flocks of poultry to detect the presence of the bird flu virus in migratory birds; the method will be applied in three more districts (Source: Daily Express News).

Some people might have genetic disposition to bird flu
Some people might be genetically disposed for bird flu infection, which may explain why some get it and others don't, and why it remains relatively rare, the WHO said (Source: Reuters).
Full WHO report

Vaccination may have kept Fujian strain out of Vietnam
Vietnam's deputy Health minister said that the country's vaccination programme of more than 100 million poultry may have prevented the new strain of H5N1 bird flu, the Fujian strain, from entering Vietnam (Source: ThanNienNews).

Wednesday 1 November 2006

China hampers fight against avian flu, says WHO
China's Agriculture Ministry is hampering efforts to tackle the spread of avian flu, said the WHO, which criticised China for not sharing samples of the Fujian-like virus, a newly discovered strain of bird flu (Source: Associated Press).

International partnership to help Vietnam fight bird flu
International donors and organisations have agreed to coordinate their support of Vietnam's fight against avian and human influenza and help the country implement its 2006-2010 plans for controlling H5N1 (Source: Saigon Times).

Tuesday 31 October 2006

New strain of bird flu found in China's poultry markets
A previously unknown strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus has emerged in southern China, casting doubts over China's poultry vaccination programme (Source: SciDev.Net).

Information on bird flu too inaccurate and vague, say scientists
Information on bird flu cases is often incorrect and vague, leading to errors in data about wild birds and hampering efforts to track the disease, say scientists (Source: World Poultry Net).

Youth and children more susceptible to avian flu
A study by the WHO of ten of the 12 confirmed avian flu cases in Turkey suggests that children and youth are particularly susceptible to the disease (Source: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy). 

Monday 30 October 2006

Seventh Egyptian dies of bird flu
A 39-year old woman from the Nile Delta town of Samanoud became the seventh human victim to die from bird flu in Egypt according to the state news agency MENA (Source: Reuters).

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