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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 20 March 2006

China says bird flu vaccinations effective
China's bird flu vaccines are the best in the world and no healthy-looking poultry has been confirmed infected with the H5N1 strain of the disease, the agriculture minister said following reports that seemingly healthy but infected chickens were on sale in poultry markets (Source: Reuters).

African leaders meet to tackle bird flu
Farming and health experts from dozens of African countries, donor organisations and top UN officials are meeting in Gabon for three days of talks to decide a continental response to bird flu (Source: Independent Online).

Sunday 19 March 2006

Israel confirms H5N1 in poultry
Tests show that the avian flu virus that infected poultry in the south of the country is the lethal H5N1 strain, according to the Agriculture Ministry (Source: Reuters).

Egyptian man recovers from suspected bird flu
An Egyptian man has apparently recovered from a suspected case of bird flu, Egypt's health ministry said, making it the second human case of the virus in the country (Source: Reuters).

Saturday 18 March 2006

Vietnam urges greater bird flu vigilance
Vietnam's prime minister ordered all local governments and ministries to heighten vigilance against bird flu out of fear that some provinces have dropped their guard in the fight against the disease, state-controlled media reported (Source: Ireland Online).

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu
A 30-year-old Egyptian woman has died of bird flu; the country's first human victim of the H5N1 virus was announced following tests at the ministry of health laboratories, and further tests are underway (Source: Reuters).

Friday 17 March 2006

Malawi asks for international aid to deal with bird flu
Malawi has requested US$400,000 from its international donors to help prepare for a possible bird flu outbreak (Source: Xinhua).

Roche hands over Tamiflu blueprint
Swiss company Roche agreed to hand blueprints to key parts of the Tamiflu manufacturing process to a number of rivals to increase output of the antiviral by a third to about 400 million doses by the end of the year (Source: Times Online).

China H5N1 outbreak puts vaccines under spotlight
The discovery in southern China of healthy-looking chickens that are infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has raised fears among experts that vaccines used in the country are substandard (Source: Reuters).

WHO calls for urgent studies on best use of Tamiflu
The WHO called for studies of flu drug Tamiflu, saying it should be used to treat suspected cases of H5N1 in humans, but that clinical trials were lacking to show any effectiveness against the H5N1 virus (Source: Reuters).

WHO: bird flu database should be public
The UN health agency, under criticism for keeping its database on bird flu research out of public view, said some countries and scientists that have contributed their samples and research have yet to agree to share the information (Source: Associated Press).

Thursday 16 March 2006

Key potential mutations identified for H5N1
The H5N1 virus could get better at infecting people if it undergoes key genetic changes described today; the research could be used to monitor changes in the virus as new outbreaks occur (Source: SciDev.Net).

Pakistan sends fresh samples to UK for bird flu tests
Pakistan has sent fresh samples of infected chickens to a UK laboratory to test the presence of bird flu after detecting a mild avian flu strain in some flocks last month, said a top farming official (Source: Reuters).

Tests confirm H5N1 in Afganistan
The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been confirmed in Afghanistan in six samples from birds tested at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's laboratories in Italy (Source: Reuters).

Tests confirm H5N1 in Myanmar
Independent tests have confirmed an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus in central Myanmar, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said (Source: Reuters).

Deadly bird flu found in Denmark
The first case of the bird flu strain H5N1 has been confirmed in a wild buzzard in Denmark (Source: BBC Online).

Wednesday 15 March 2006

Old drug may become new bird flu weapon
Amantadine, a generic drug created in the 1970s to treat seasonal flu, could become a weapon to fight a flu pandemic, as virus strains from China, Indonesia and Turkey show sensitivity to the drug says the WHO (Source: Science Daily).

Hungary to produce bird flu vaccine for humans
A Hungarian drug producer has been given a license to distribute a vaccine it is developing to protect people against the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Sweden confirms first cases of H5N1 bird flu
Swedish authorities confirmed that two wild ducks found on its east coast near the Baltic port city of Oskarshamn carried the H5N1 strain of bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Tuesday 14 March 2006

West African body seeks funds to battle bird flu
The West African Economic and Monetary Union called for US$2.3 million to finance an emergency plan against bird flu in its eight member states (Source: Agence France Presse).

International agencies rush to help Myanmar
International agencies are sending protection suits and testing kits to Myanmar after it announced its first outbreak of bird flu on Tuesday (Source: Reuters).

Azerbaijan says three people killed by bird flu
Azerbaijan said on Monday that bird flu had killed three people, the country's first known human cases; tests in the UK are being done to confirm the result (Source: Reuters).

India reports new bird flu cases in western state
The Indian government says a fresh outbreak of H5 avian influenza has been detected among chickens in the western state of Maharashtra; tests are underway to check for the H5N1 strain (Source: Reuters).

Monday 13 March 2006

Bolivia begins anti-bird flu campaign
Bolivia has launched an eight million bolivars (US$1 million) anti-bird flu campaign (Source: Xinhua).

Japan and Vietnam cooperate on avian flu lab
Nagasaki University and Vietnam's epidemiological research institute will set up a research laboratory in Hanoi to look into the mechanisms of bird flu and other infectious diseases (Source: Thanh Nien Daily).

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