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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 19 December 2005

Brewing company reports new antibody to fight bird flu
Researchers have developed an antibody that may be effective in fighting against bird flu viruses including H5N1, according to Gemini Science, a US branch of Japan's second largest brewery Kirin (Source: Reuters).
Link to related story on Japan Today.

Vietnam bird flu readiness dress rehearsal
On Sunday, about 1,000 representatives from Vietnam's Ministry of Health, Ho Chi Minh City and 20 other southern provinces took part in a bird flu preparedness exercise observed by international organisations (Source: The Saigon Times Daily).

World losing bird flu fight, says UN
The risk of a global bird flu pandemic is increasing, a United Nations official has said (Source: Bloomberg).

Indonesian boy could be country's 11th fatality
An eight-year-old Indonesian boy who died in Jakarta last Thursday is thought to have had bird flu (Source: BBC News Online).

Farmer compensation 'key to bird flu fight'
Compensation for poultry farmers whose stock are culled must be set at a level that will encourage them to report the disease but not so high as to incite false claims, a top veterinary official has warned (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu virus found in South Korean bird droppings
South Korea has discovered a version of the H5 bird flu strain in migratory bird droppings in a city west of Seoul (Source: Bloomberg).

Ukraine to impose bird flu quarantine in Crimea
With new bird flu outbreaks continuing to occur, Ukraine today announced plans to impose a bird flu quarantine throughout the Crimean peninsula this week (Source: Russian News and Information Agency Novosti).

Sunday 18 December 2005

Bird flu edges closer still to Romanian capital
Romania has reported bird flu outbreaks in a village about 80 kilometers east of Bucharest (Source: Xinhua).

Saturday 17 December 2005

Bird flu vaccine may be sufficient to treat pandemic after all
A human vaccine against H5N1 has proved effective at one-third the dose used in the only previous successful trial, raising hopes that mass immunisations would be feasible in the event of a pandemic, reports French drug maker Sanofi (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald).
Link to related story on

Nasal spray to deliver bird flu vaccine
Up to 30 volunteers in the US will test a nasal spray containing live but weakened bird flu virus (Source: Associated Press).

Friday 16 December 2005

Cambodia 'needs US$18m to fight bird flu'
The United Nations has said Cambodia will need US$18m over the next 6-18 months to boost bird flu defences (Source: Reuters).

Australian drug maker has ambitious plans for bird flu vaccine
An Australian company hopes to apply for local regulatory approval for a prototype vaccine against H5N1 bird flu by August 2006 at the latest (Source: Reuters).

Another Indonesian has died of bird flu
A 39-year-old man has died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu according to local tests; confirmation from the World Health Organization is awaited (Source: Reuters).

Developing countries being left behind in fight against bird flu
Unilateral strategies to prepare for a bird flu pandemic risk leaving poor countries short of drugs and vaccines, says a top health official (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu virus 'is mutating'
Subtle changes in the genetic make up of the H5N1 bird flu virus indicate that the world is increasingly under threat from a pandemic, the United Nations' coordinator on bird flu said today (Source:

Thousands of dead birds found in Malawi
Malawi has sent blood and tissue samples to neighbouring South Africa to be tested for bird flu after thousands of migratory birds were found dead (Source: Mail and Guardian).

Thursday 15 December 2005

China reports sixth human bird flu case
Today China's health ministry confirmed the country's sixth human bird flu case (Source: Xinhua).

Romania warns that bird flu could spread to Bulgaria
Romania today confirmed bird flu outbreaks in five more villages in and around the Danube delta and warned that migratory birds could carry the virus south to Bulgaria (Source: Reuters).

Vietnam toddler did not die of bird flu
A doctor has confirmed that a three-year-old Vietnamese boy died of a lung infection, not bird flu as previously suspected (Source: Reuters).

China gives tax breaks to poultry industry
Companies involved in rearing and processing poultry will be exempt from corporate income tax this year and maybe next year, say Chinese authorities (Source: Xinhua).

East Asian nations pledge cooperation to fight bird flu
The 16 countries taking part in the first East Asia Summit have pledged to cooperate fully to overcome the threat of bird flu.

Wednesday 14 December 2005

Bird flu in Taiwan
Two mild forms of bird flu — H7N3 and H5N2 — have been found in migratory bird droppings just outside the capital Taipei (Source: Reuters).

UN to help Indonesia combat bird flu
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization is to send over experts to assist the Indonesian agricultural ministry combat the spread of bird flu (Source: Xinhua).

Bird flu spreads further in Ukraine
New bird flu outbreaks are reported in the Crimean peninsula; 25 villages have been affected to date, 11 of these with H5N1 (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu risk to increase in China
China has warned that more bird flu outbreaks could occur as the transport of live poultry increases over the Lunar New year holidays (Source: Reuters).

Russian scientist says culling will not prevent bird flu spread
A Russian scientist has said that eggs, frozen meat, feathers, farm yards and water bodies could all harbour the bird flu virus even after infected birds have been removed (Source: Russian News and Information Agency Novosti).

China's forestry watchdog launches special bird flu unit
The Chinese government's division responsible for forestry is launching a special arm to monitor bird and animal-derived epidemics (Source: Xinhua).

Vietnam poultry farmers face bankruptcy
Vietnamese farmers are reportedly losing more than US$71 million a month as bird flu fears hit poultry and egg sales (Source: ABC Asia Pacific).

Vietnam and Indonesia to take on bird flu together
The leaders of Vietnam and Indonesia have announced their intention to cooperate more closely in fighting bird flu, including working together to secure a supply of antivirals (Source: Nhan Dan).

Tuesday 13 December 2005

New WHO rules 'may help fight bird flu'
New regulations aimed at making it easier for countries to share information about disease outbreaks will make it easier to fight bird flu, says a senior World Health Organization official (Source: Reuters).

Monday 12 December 2005

Bird flu 'may hit western Europe next spring'
Western Europe may be hit by bird flu next spring if migratory birds spending the winter in Africa pick up the disease there, a leading veterinary official has warned (Source: Reuters).

Southeast Asian nations to create stockpile of bird flu drugs
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) today agreed to create a stockpile of anti-bird flu drugs that would be available to any member nation needing them (Source: Reuters).

China to help ASEAN fight bird flu
The Chinese prime minister today called on Asia to strengthen regional cooperation to fight bird flu and said China is ready to provide assistance to ASEAN nations affected by the disease (Source: Xinhua).

Chinese pharmaceutical to produce anti bird-flu drug
The Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group has reached a deal with drug maker Roche to produce Tamiflu, the drug of choice to combat bird flu, in China (Source: Xinhua).

Another quarantine lifted in northern China
A bird flu-hit village in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was released from quarantine today (Source: Xinhua).

WHO experts arrive in the Ukraine to monitor bird flu
Experts from the World Health Organisation today arrived in the Ukraine to study the latest bird flu outbreak in the Crimean peninsula and review measures to curb its spread (Source: Russian News and Information Agency Novosti).

Bird flu spreads in Indonesia
The Indonesian Agriculture Ministry confirmed today that the bird flu virus has reached the Riau province, west of Sumatra; the H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found in 24 of the country's 33 provinces so far (Source: Prensa Latina).

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