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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 26 June 2006

First cases found of bird flu caught from wild swans
Four people from a village in Azerbaijan mark the first confirmed cases of the H5N1 virus being passed to humans from wild birds, say scientists (Source: The Guardian).

Sunday 25 June 2006

West African ministers formulate plan to combat bird flu
Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States have agreed on a seven-point action plan to curb bird flu in West Africa (Source: Xinhua).

Saturday 24 June 2006

H5N1 mutation 'shows human transmission in Indonesia' — WHO
A mutation in the H5N1 virus found in the Indonesian family cluster shows that human-to-human transmission did occur, the WHO said; the mutation has not made the virus more transmissible however (Source: CIDRAP).

Friday 23 June 2006

Fear of bird flu panics Zambians
Following on the news of potential bird flu infections in wild birds, people in Zambia have stopped buying chickens; the WHO has appealed for calm while tests are conducted (Source: Reuters).

Indonesia to upgrade labs for bird flu tests
Indonesia plans to upgrade its national health laboratory to meet WHO standards so it can conduct definitive tests at home, a leading scientist said (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu cases may be harder to detect in China, Indonesia
Human bird flu cases may be harder to detect in China and Indonesia because vaccination programmes mask the virus in poultry, so there is no warning sign from deaths in birds, say scientists (Source: Bloomberg).

Thursday 22 June 2006

GSK may seek bird flu vaccine approval this year
GlaxoSmithKline may seek regulatory approval this year for its vaccine against bird flu in humans (Source: Bloomberg).

Malaysia declares itself free of bird flu
Malaysia has declared itself free of bird flu and asked Singapore to lift restrictions on imports of Malaysian chickens and ducks (Source: Reuters).

Indonesia admits it can't cope with bird flu
During a three-day meeting of international experts in Jakarta, officials have admitted that the country lacks the manpower and money to battle the H5N1 virus following a series of natural disasters (Source: News-Medical.Net).

Chinese H5N1 trial points to whole-virus formula as way to stretch vaccine
A Chinese-made H5N1 flu vaccine made using whole viruses, rather than viruses broken into particles, provokes good immune responses at significantly lower doses than those made by most Western vaccine manufacturers (Source: Canadian Press).

WHO asks China for information on first bird flu case
The WHO is asking China's Ministry of Health for information about a reported case of bird flu two years before the country disclosed its first human infection from the lethal virus (Source: Bloomberg).

Wednesday 21 June 2006

Heart drugs might provide bird flu weapon
The world's top-selling cholesterol-lowering statin drugs might provide a way to treat bird flu, according to a doctor who is trying to get researchers to study the possibility (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu makes Vietnam change poultry production
Vietnam has re-structured its poultry sector with a focus on establishing large concentrated farms, slaughterhouses and markets far from towns and cities (Source: Xinhua).

ASEAN health ministers meet to boost bird flu fight
Southeast Asian health ministers gathered in Myanmar to better coordinate their fight against bird flu and other pandemic threats to the region (Source:Reuters).

Ignorance a key factor in Indonesian H5N1 infections say experts
Many people who contracted the H5N1 virus in Indonesia were ignorant and never warned about the disease, medical experts said (Source: Reuters).

China had bird flu case two years earlier than Beijing admits say researchers
Chinese researchers have contradicted Beijing's official version of the country's H5N1 human infection timeline, revealing that a Chinese man died of H5N1 two years before China reported its first human case to the WHO in November 2005 (Source: Canadian Press).

Tuesday 20 June 2006

Experts call for scientific bird flu task force
Bird flu experts at a meeting last week said an international task force is needed to coordinate research on bird flu in developing countries (Source: SciDev.Net).

Pakistan, India agree to collaborate to control bird flu

India and Pakistan discussed joint steps to control bird flu and polio as they seek to cooperate in tackling regional health concerns (Source: Associated Press).

Canadian bird flu case not highly pathogenic H5N1
A case of H5 bird flu in the eastern Canadian province of Prince Edward Island was not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, a Canadian source said (Source: Reuters).

Indonesian teenager died of bird flu
The WHO has confirmed Indonesia's 51st case of human infection with the H5N1 virus in a 13-year-old boy from South Jakarta who died on 14 June (Source: WHO).

Abidjan poultry markets reopen as bird flu scare abates
Ivory Coast has authorised the reopening of its capital's poultry markets, shut since early May due to an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu (Source: Today Online).

Zambia investigates death of wild birds
Zambian veterinary and health authorities are investigating the possible presence of bird flu in the country after 40 wild birds were found dead in Livingstone (Source: IOL).

Monday 19 June 2006

New bird flu outbreak in China's Shanxi province
A new outbreak of H5N1 in poultry has been detected in north China's Shanxi province after samples of dead poultry were sent to the national bird flu laboratory (Source: Xinhua).

Anti-H5N1 bird flu battle in disarray
Indonesia is failing to control an ongoing H5N1 outbreak as a result of a lack of political will and poor coordination between the ministries of health and agriculture, said a key government bird flu expert (Source: Dow Jones).

Animal health group: France no longer afflicted by bird flu
The World Organization for Animal Health has removed France from its list of bird-flu afflicted countries, nearly four months after the deadly H5N1 virus hit a commercial poultry farm in the southeast of the country (Source: Associated Press).