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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.

Saturday 28 October 2006

Thailand to build vaccine plant
The Thai government has given its approval for the construction of a vaccine plant to produce both influenza and bird-flu vaccines for humans in case of a global pandemic of either diseases (Source: The Nation).

Thursday 26 October 2006

Virus detected in sparrows in China
Chinese scientists have said they found the H5N1 bird flu virus in sparrows two years ago, the first time it has been detected in non-migratory birds in China (Source: Xinhua).

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Vietnam's success 'may offer blueprint for others'
Vietnam has controlled the bird flu virus more successfully than any other country in which the disease has become endemic, leading international health authorities to ask whether the country's success can be replicated elsewhere (Source: CIDRAP).

Scientists determine risky behaviour for human infections
A study of patients in Vietnam infected with H5N1 virus shows that common factors associated with becoming infected were preparing sick or dead poultry for consumption, having sick or dead poultry in the household, and the lack of an indoor water source (Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases).

Quarantine lifted in Inner Mongolia
The quarantine imposed on an area in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which was hit by an outbreak of bird flu last month, has been lifted, with no new outbreaks of bird flu since the last poultry cull 21 days ago (Source: Xinhua).

S. Korea takes tough measures to prevent winter outbreak
South Korea's agriculture ministry has announced tough measures to prevent a winter outbreak of bird flu, including various steps to prevent imports of infected birds (Source: Associated Foreign Press).

Tuesday 24 October 2006

Global vigilance still needed, says UN official
Although the bird flu virus had not spread as widely as feared in Africa, vigilance is still needed across the world to counter its advance, according to a senior UN official (Source: Xinhua).

Zanzibar destroys eggs to keep bird flu at bay
Authorities in Zanzibar have incinerated a consignment of chicken eggs smuggled from mainland Tanzania, in the hope of keeping their islands free of avian flu (Source: Reuters).

Monday 23 October 2006

WHO calls for greater vaccine capacity
The WHO called for a multi-billion-dollar drive to make more pandemic flu vaccines, saying bird flu still threatened a global pandemic (Source: Reuters).

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