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Below is a round-up 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 26 March 2007

Virus sample rules 'could slow vaccine development', says WHO
Rules to restrict how the international community uses virus samples would slow down global efforts to develop vaccines, warned the World Health Organization (Source: Reuters).

Indonesian government reacted too slowly to bird flu
The scientist who discovered the H5N1 bird flu virus in Indonesia says the government did not act fast enough to stop the virus (Source: New Straits Times).

Sunday 25 March 2007

Egyptian girl diagnosed with bird flu
A three-year-old girl in the southern Egyptian town of Aswan has contracted the H5N1 strain of bird flu — the WHO has not yet confirmed the case (Source: Reuters).

Saturday 24 March 2007

Bangladesh farm workers protest poultry cull
Workers at a state-run poultry farm near the Bangladesh capital have protested the mass poultry cull in the vicinity of six farms where avian flu has been detected. The government called in the army to slaughter infected chickens (Source: Reuters).

Experts see double threat from flu strains
Thai scientists say the two different genotypes of the H5N1 virus found in Thailand could merge into an unknown and unpredictable form (Source: The Nation).

Friday 23 March 2007

Bird flu detected in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has detected the H5N1 strain of bird flu for first time; the virus was detected in turkeys, parrots, peacocks and ostriches in the east of the country (Source: Associated Press).

Asia to test human bird flu vaccine this year
An experimental H5N1 bird flu vaccine for humans will be tested in people in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand this year (Source: Reuters).

Projects 'in final stages' to improve vaccine access for developing countries
Up to six projects to establish in-country manufacturing capacity of vaccine are in the final stage of approval in two Latin American and four Asian countries (Source: UN News Centre).

Tamiflu concerns not affecting stockpiling efforts, says WHO
Concerns about the safety of Tamiflu — that it may induce psychiatric problems — are not affecting efforts to stockpile the drug (Source: Reuters).

Micronesian leaders ask for help against bird flu
The leaders of Western Micronesia have asked the United States for more support in improving the islands' capability to respond to an outbreak of H5N1 (Source: Saipan Tribune).

Thursday 22 March 2007

Bangladesh confirms first bird flu case
Bangladesh announced that the H5N1 bird flu virus had been detected in poultry near the capital Dhaka (Source: Reuters).

Poultry vaccines key to bird flu control, say experts
Vaccinating poultry is an important tool in the battle against the H5N1 virus, say bird flu experts (Source: World Organization for Animal Health).

Pakistan finds H5N1 bird flu in Islamabad crows
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found in dead crows in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, agriculture authorities confirmed. Several outbreaks have been detected in chickens in small poultry farms this year  (Source: Reuters).

Wednesday 21 March 2007

Egypt allocates fund for poultry vaccination against bird flu
The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture has allocated about US$21 million for poultry vaccinations in the fight against H5N1 bird flu (Source: Xinhua).

Tuesday 20 March 2007

Indonesia suffers 66th bird flu death
A 21-year-old woman from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, has died of bird flu, the health ministry confirmed (Source: Reuters).

Thai bird flu strain found to be resistant to drug
Scientists have found that a strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus circulating in Thailand is resistant to the flu drug amantadine, and called for rigorous study of H5N1 strains for treatment of the disease (Source: Reuters).

WHO confirms bird flu in two-year-old Egyptian boy
The World Health Organization has confirmed that a two-year old boy from Aswan, Egypt, has bird flu (Source: WHO).

Monday 19 March 2007

Scientists to develop portable lab for bird flu detection
Scientists are developing portable kits for faster diagnosis of bird flu and other livestock diseases, allowing a much faster response to outbreaks (Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization).

Health experts back developing countries' call for vaccine access
Health experts at a bird flu meeting in Turkey have supported Indonesia's calls to give developing nations access to pandemic flu vaccines (Source: Reuters).

Taiwan's non-participation in WHO poses health risks
China's veto of any Taiwanese participation in the World Health Organization leaves a dangerous gap in the global network as it faces the threat of bird flu and other diseases, said Taiwan's medical authorities (Source: Reuters).

UAE to set up bird flu task force
A permanent task force for emergency health cases related to bird flu will be set up in the United Arab Emirates (Source: Emirates News Agency).