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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.

Monday 12 December 2005

Indian government requests drugs from pharmaceuticals
The Indian government has approached the local arms of Roche and GlaxoSmithKline to ask them to build up stocks of their bird flu drugs in the country (Source: Times News Network).

Japan commits US$135m to fight bird flu
Japan has announced a package of measures totalling US$135 million to help Asian nations combat bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Turkey clear of bird flu
On Friday Turkey's Agriculture Ministry said the country was free of bird flu after imposing a quarantine and killing more than 10,000 birds at the site where the H5N1 strain was originally found (Source: Hurriyet).

Saudi Arabia takes bird flu measures ahead of hajj
Saudi Arabia says it has taken adequate measures to protect pilgrims and prevent bird flu outbreaks during the annual hajj, when more than two million pilgrims gather in Mecca (Source: Arab News).

Thailand health budget cuts could jeopardise bird flu plans
A cut of almost US$72m in Thailand's Public Health Ministry budget could hamper efforts to combat a potential bird flu pandemic, a senior official has warned (Source: Bangkok Post).

Sunday 11 December 2005

Bird flu on ASEAN agenda
The annual two-day ASEAN summit starting in Malaysia on Monday (12 December) will culminate in the inaugural East Summit on Wednesday, when 16 country leaders will pledge to fight bird flu in a joint declaration (Source: Press Association).

Canadian bird flu quarantine lifted in British Columbia
A quarantine on dozens of poultry farms in Canada's western province of British Columbia was lifted on Saturday after 21 days of isolation (Source: Canadian Press).

US conducts bird flu drill
On Saturday top White House officials carried out a four-hour tabletop drill to assess federal preparedness for a possible bird flu pandemic; the biggest lesson learned was the central role state and local governments would have to play in such an event, say officials (Source: News-Medical.Net)

Five new suspected cases of bird flu in Romania
Today Romania detected five new suspected cases of bird flu in poultry in the Buzau county west of the Danube delta where the virus was first detected in October; British tests will confirm whether it is the deadly H5N1 strain (Source: Reuters).

Saturday 10 December 2005

Belgium to ease bird flu measures
Belgium is to relax its bird flu control measures next week with the ending of the autumn migration of birds, a local newsletter reports (Source: Xinhua).

Thailand urges caution after 14th fatality
Thailand's prime minister asked health officials and citizens to be more alert to bird flu after it emerged that relatives of the latest victim had failed to inform doctors that some of the chickens in their house had died (Source: Bloomberg).

Zambia on bird flu alert
Zambia was put on a high alert to bird flu after a strain of the virus was found at two ostrich farms in neighbouring Zimbabwe (Source: Xinhua).

Bird flu threat growing in Ukraine
Bird flu has been detected in 19 Crimean villages so far and is of a strain unlike any found to date that is extremely dangerous to humans, Ukrainian TV channel NTN has reported (Source: Russian News and Information Agency Novisti).

Indonesia to vaccinate people against bird flu
The Indonesian government planned to vaccinate 47 million people who had been in contact with poultry, but has been stopped from doing so by insufficient funding (Source: Xinhua).

Japan to cull 19,000 birds
Japan will cull 19,000 chickens at a farm north of Tokyo after tests showed they had been exposed to the H5 strain of the bird flu virus (Source: Reuters).

Friday 9 December 2005

Bird flu claims 70th human victim
A five-year-old Thai boy has become Asia's latest bird flu casualty, taking Thailand's bird flu death toll to 14 out of 22 known cases (Source: Reuters).

WHO may investigate Chinese bird flu measures
The World Health Organization has announced it may investigate bird flu control measures in China's northeastern Liaoning province, where the country's fifth human case was reported yesterday (Source: Reuters).

International coalition to fight bird flu formed
India has joined 15 other Asian nations and six international organisations in an agreement to exchange information, develop new vaccines and increase investment in joint efforts to combat bird flu (Source: The Hindu).

Bird flu quarantine lifted in northwest China
Chinese authorities have lifted the quarantine in the bird flu-hit areas of Xinjiang and Ningxiam after 21 days isolation and monitoring (Source: Xinhua).

China again accused of bird flu cover up
A leading Hong Kong virologist, who has analysed nearly 100,000 bird flu virus samples from across China, claims the country has concealed bird flu outbreaks in several provinces for many months this year (Source: Globe and Mail).

Romanian turkey had H5N1
British tests on a Romanian turkey from Braila County have confirmed that the potentially fatal strain of bird flu H5N1 has spread west, outside the Danube delta area where it was first detected in October (Source: Reuters).

'More bird flu drug needed'
Bird flu patients may need a higher dose of Tamiflu, the drug of choice to treat bird flu, than recommended by pharmaceutical company Roche, World Health Organization officials have said (Source: Bloomberg).

Thursday 8 December 2005

Bird flu not spread by wild birds
A conservation group has said there is little evidence to support the theory that migratory birds are spreading bird flu; it suggests poultry imports are to blame for bird flu outbreaks in eastern Europe (Source: Reuters).

Ukraine confirms Crimea bird flu outbreak was H5N1
Preliminary tests results from Russia confirm that the birds that died in Ukraine last weekend had the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which can be fatal to humans (Source: Reuters).

Avian vaccine 'must meet international standards'
International standards, like those that exist for human vaccines, should be set for avian vaccines to combat the spread of H5N1, a leading virologist has said (Source: Reuters).

Outbreak of mild bird flu strain in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has imposed a quarantine on ostrich farms after an outbreak of the H5H2 strain of bird flu was reported; this version poses little threat to humans (Source: Reuters).

China reports fifth bird flu infection
A 31-year-old woman from China's northeastern Liaoning province is the country's fifth person to be diagnosed with bird flu, although she has since recovered from the disease (Source: Reuters).

Roche agrees to generic bird flu drug
Pharmaceutical Roche has reached agreements with two US drug makers and 13 other drug producers to allow production of a generic version of Tamiflu, the drug of choice against bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Wednesday 7 December 2005

Parts of Africa 'unprepared for bird flu'
Some African countries, like Somalia which is embroiled in a civil war, have no defences at all against the possible arrival of bird flu, the World Organisation for Animal Health has said (Source: Reuters).

No poultry outbreak in village where Chinese girl fell ill
China's latest bird flu victim, a 10-year-old girl in Guangxi, comes from a village which had not reported any bird flu outbreaks, suggesting the virus has been going undetected or unreported, the World Health Organization has warned (Source: Reuters).

Ukraine: more bird flu and a state of emergency
New suspected cases of bird flu have been discovered in a village in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula; on Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament endorsed a decision by President Viktor Yushchenko to declare a state of emergency to combat bird flu (Source: Xinhua).

World Bank to provide bird flu aid by mid-January
The World Bank is likely to approve US$300-500 million in aid to help countries combat bird flu before a global summit in Beijing in mid-January, a senior official has said (Source: Reuters).

Tuesday 6 December 2005

China reports fourth human bird flu victim
A ten-year old girl from China's southern province of Guangxi becomes the country's fourth person to be infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus (Source: BBC News).

Public must be better informed, says WHO
Heath experts say governments must do more to inform the public and media about bird flu, emphasising also the limitations of current antiviral drugs to combat the disease (Source: Reuters).

1,000 dead ducks in Mexico not killed by bird flu, officials claim
The Mexican government denies that bird flu is responsible for the sudden death of 1,000 ducks in a Mexican lake, but scientists have yet to find out why the birds died (Source: Reuters).

Myanmar promises openness on bird flu
Myanmar's secretive government has promised to participate in global efforts to avoid a bird flu pandemic by providing full information on any outbreaks inside its border (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu hits another Vietnamese province
Vietnam's northern Ha Giang province has been hit by bird flu, raising the total number of affected areas in the country to 14 (Source: Xinhua).

Monday 5 December 2005

UN publishes food safety recommendations
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have issued guidelines on handling and eating poultry to reduce exposure to the bird flu virus in affected areas; the UN has also confirmed that properly cooked poultry and eggs are safe to eat (Source: Reuters).

Vietnam reports 4 bird flu outbreaks near Chinese border
Four bird flu outbreaks have killed more than 900 ducks and chickens in a northern province on the border with China (Source: Reuters).

Indonesian baby tests positive for H5N1
Preliminary tests have indicated that an eight-month-old baby is Indonesia's latest bird flu victim (Source: ABC News Online).

China distributes bird flu information to rural areas
China has distributed almost one million booklets with information about bird flu to rural areas in a bid to raise awareness about preventing and controlling the disease (Source: Xinhua).

Two possible human infections in Romania
Two men have been hospitalised in eastern Romania over fears that they made be infected with the H5 strain of the bird flu virus (Source: Sofia News Agency).

Korean delicacy may be used to fight bird flu
Korean researchers have said a bacterium in traditional Korean sauerkraut, Kimchi, can be used to treat birds infected with avian flu by boosting their immune system; there is no evidence so far the bacterium can similarly help humans (Source:

Bird flu 'to harm poor nations' economies'
A World Bank official has drawn attention to the potential economic impact of a bird flu pandemic on developing countries (Source: Washington File).

Microchip to fight bird flu
A microchip that monitors the body temperature of poultry could be used to detect outbreaks of bird flu before other symptoms appear (Source: United Press International).

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