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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.

Tuesday 30 May 2006

Russia starts testing bird flu vaccine on humans
Clinical tests of bird flu vaccine are starting in Russia on 240 human volunteers; they are expected to take five weeks (Source: MosNews).

Indonesia's human bird flu death toll rises to 37
The death toll of human bird flu in Indonesia increased to 37 on Monday after the WHO confirmed that a boy had the H5N1 virus (Source: Xinhua).

Monday 29 May 2006

WHO confirms six bird flu cases in Indonesia
The WHO has confirmed six new human cases of bird flu in Indonesia; three of the infected people had died but none were associated with the family cluster in Sumatra (Source: Reuters).

New WHO website on H5N1 in Indonesia launched
The WHO has a new website devoted to H5N1 bird flu in Indonesia, with updates and maps of bird and human outbreaks (Source: Recombinomics).

Indonesia reactivates 1984 epidemic law
The Indonesian government has reactivated a 1984 epidemic law which states that those convicted of blocking government efforts to eradicate bird flu are punishable by a one-year jail term (Source: Xinhua).

Donors to give Bangladesh US$2m as bird flu aid
The World Bank and other international donor agencies will give Bangladesh US$2 million to help the nation prepare to fight any bird flu outbreak (Source: Reuters).

Sunday 28 May 2006

WHO to rewrite pandemic staging descriptions
The WHO plans to redraft the descriptions of its pandemic phases, a task triggered by the confusion provoked by the recent large cluster of human cases of H5N1 avian flu in Indonesia (Source: cnews).

Saturday 27 May 2006

WHO puts Roche on Tamiflu alert for Indonesia
The WHO has asked Swiss drug manufacturer Roche to prepare to ship Tamiflu to Indonesia but has not requested that any of the flu drug be sent; this is standard procedure, according to a spokesperson (Source: Reuters).

Friday 26 May 2006

No sign of bird flu mutation in Indonesian family
Initial tests on an Indonesian family who lost six members to bird flu suggest the virus has not mutated (Source: SciDev.Net).

Nigeria confirms fresh outbreak of bird flu
The Nigerian Veterinary Research Institute confirmed another outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in Kakara village in the northern state of Kano (Source: Xinhua).

Another H5N1 case cited in Java; Sumatra quarantine grows
Indonesian tests have shown that two siblings who died earlier this week in West Java — a 10-year-old girl and her 18-year-old brother — were infected by H5N1; in Sumatra, 54 people have been quarantined (Source: CIDRAP).

Countries opt to speed up bird flu reporting rules
The WHO's 192 member states have committed themselves to promptly report any human cases of bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Chinese avian flu patient released from hospital
An eight-year-old girl in southwest China's Sichuan Province was discharged from hospital today, five weeks after being diagnosed with H5N1 (Source: Xinhua).

Poultry dying in Indonesian village likely flu source
Chickens are dying in unusually large numbers in a remote area of Indonesia where bird flu killed several members of a family; experts say the first victim in the cluster was probably infected by a diseased chicken (Source: Reuters).

Thursday 25 May 2006

WHO supports move to encourage sharing of H5N1 genetic data
Health ministers from around the world may adopt a resolution requiring scientists to share H5N1 genetic data "in a timely manner" (Source: Washington Post).

WHO has sought details on Iran bird flu tests
A report from an Iranian medical officer that a brother and sister had died of bird flu was denied by the Iranian health minister, who insisted the tests were negative; the WHO has asked Iran for details on the tests (Source: Reuters).

Wednesday 24 May 2006

New bird flu outbreak found in China: Qinghai province
China has confirmed a "recent" outbreak of H5N1 bird flu among about 400 wild birds in the far-western Qinghai province and in Tibet (Source: Reuters).

WHO says no plans to raise bird flu alert level
The WHO said it had no immediate plans to call a meeting of experts to discuss raising its global bird flu alert in the face of the Indonesian family cluster (Source: Reuters).

Tuesday 23 May 2006

Indonesia's bird flu fight riddled with problems
Indonesia lacks trained personnel and equipment to detect outbreaks of bird flu; many people are ignorant about the disease and suspicious of government workers trying to control the virus, according to this Reuters report (Source: Reuters).

Vietnam plans to do human tests on bird flu vaccine
A Vietnamese bird flu vaccine is expected to be tested on humans in August, the health ministry has said (Source: Thanh Nien

Late WHO chief warned of bird flu 'blind spots'
Bird flu threatens human lives in hundreds and possibly thousands of "disease blind spots" around the globe, the late head of the WHO said in remarks prepared before his death (Source: Reuters).

Monday 22 May 2006

Indonesia struggles to track H5N1 source, 2 more die
Health officials in Indonesia are still struggling to track down the source of a worrying family cluster of H5N1 infections as tests showed two more people have died of the disease (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu in Africa 'more from trade than migration'
The failure of H5N1 to take hold in wild birds in Africa points to trade not migration as the major factor in spreading the disease on the continent, says an official from the World Animal Health Organisation (Source: Reuters).

Vaccine to protect birds from bird flu
A bird flu vaccine combined with a widely used vaccine against another bird virus could be a quick and easy way to protect poultry against H5N1, researchers say (Source: Reuters).

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