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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 November

United States and ASEAN will cooperate on bird flu
The United States and has signed a joint statement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in which it promises to help the region combat emerging infectious diseases, such as bird flu (Source: Associated Foreign Press).

Friday 17 November

New bird flu-infected area reported in northern Egypt 
A new area in the north of Egypt — the Manshyat Sultan district 65 kilometres north of Cairo — is infected with bird flu, said the health ministry (Source: Xinhua).

Egypt changes its bird flu policy
Egypt says that it is unlikely to repeat last year's strategy of banning domestic poultry breeding as a way to fight the spread of bird flu (Source: The Daily Star).

Seven stand trial in China over fake bird flu vaccines
Seven managers and workers from a biopharmaceuticals factory in north China and its parent company stood trial in Inner Mongolia, accused of producing and selling fake bird flu vaccines in 2004 and 2005 (Source: Xinhua).

World Bank funds second bird flu programme in Vietnam
A new World Bank programme to help Vietnam control a reoccurrence of bird flu will focus more on consolidating disease control than on short term responses, and will fund a targeted vaccination campaign in about 33 provinces (Source: Bernama).

Optimise vaccination measures, says Indonesian official 
An Indonesian official has criticised how the country is tackling bird flu, saying that better quality vaccines should be used, and vaccinations must be followed up to identify any new virus strains (Source: Xinhua).

Thursday 16 November
Scientists find clues to how bird flu spreads to humans
International scientists have identified two genetic mutations that could allow the bird flu virus to spread between humans; they say their findings could help detect pandemic strains (Source: BBC).

Link to full research paper in Nature

Tuesday 14 November

Bird flu expert urges China and Hong Kong to cooperate
A top Chinese health expert has called on scientists in Hong Kong and China to cooperate and conduct joint research on bird flu, a Beijing-based newspaper reported (Source: Reuters).

Monday 13 November

Scientists make faster, cheaper test to identify human bird flu infection
Researchers in the United States have developed an inexpensive 'gene chip' test for bird flu that could cut the time it takes to identify an infection in a patient from up to two weeks to seven hours (Source: Reuters).

WHO confirms latest Indonesian bird flu victims 
The World Health Organization has confirmed that a two-year old boy and a 35-year old woman were infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus in Indonesia (Source: WHO).

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