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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.

Sunday 4 December 2005

Romania continues to detect new bird flu cases
Cioacile has become the fourth village in eastern Romania's Braila county to be quarantined in a week after three chickens test positive for the bird flu H5 virus; further tests will determine whether any of these outbreaks are the lethal H5N1 strain of the virus (Source: The Press Association).

Doctor says bird flu drug does not work
A Vietnamese doctor who has treated 41 H5N1 victims with Tamiflu has concluded it does not work (Source: The Sunday Times).

Saturday 3 December 2005

Ukraine confirms first outbreak of bird flu
Over 1,600 dead birds in southern Ukraine's Crimea peninsula have tested positive for the H5 strain of the bird flu virus; test results this Thursday will indicate whether the lethal strain was H5N1 (Source: Associated Press).

Indonesia confirms eighth human bird flu death
World Health Organization tests have confirmed that a 25-year-old Indonesian woman who died last week was the country's eighth bird flu victim (Source: United Press International).

China launches new bird flu research programme
On Friday, China announced a new research programme that will seek to combine Chinese traditional medicine and Western knowledge to discover new treatments for bird flu patients (Source:

Pan-American bird flu combat plan approved in Brazil
On Friday, experts and authorities from across the Americas announced their intention to work together to prevent bird flu outbreaks and collaborate if the disease hits Latin America; the announcement was made at the end of a three-day Pan-American conference on bird flu organised by Brazil (Source: Xinhua).

Vietnam reports more bird flu outbreaks
Fresh bird flu outbreaks have killed more chickens and ducks in Vietnam's two northern provinces and birds are dying in a third area, reports the country's agriculture ministry (Source: Reuters).

Friday 2 December 2005

X-rays can predict survival in bird flu patients
Chest X-rays performed on 14 Vietnamese bird flu patients have revealed abnormalities that can be used to predict whether the disease will be fatal (Source: Reuters).

Indonesia prepares grass roots warning system
Indonesia is getting local governments to set up health posts in all villages in an attempt to create an early bird flu warning system to reach even the remotest corners of the country (Source: Reuters).

China to set up 300 monitoring stations to combat threat of epidemic
At least 300 monitoring stations will be erected across China to form a long-term monitoring network and help prevent a possible outbreak of wildlife diseases, including bird flu from migratory birds (Source: China Daily).

Ethiopia investigates potential bird flu deaths
Health officials in Ethiopia are carrying out tests on hundreds of dead pigeons; there have been no confirmed cases of bird flu in Africa so far (Source: BBC News).

Fake vaccines hinder efforts to curb bird flu spread
China's plan to vaccinate 14 billion fowl may be undermined by the sale of fake vaccines (Source: Bloomberg).

Vietnamese minister warns of more virulent bird flu strain
The finding that some pneumonia patients have inexplicably developed serious lung damage in a short space of time has raised fears of a new, more virulent strain of bird flu in Vietnam (Source: Viet Nam News).

More evidence of human-to-human transmission
The latest two bird flu cases in Thailand might be due to transmission from human to human, a senior health official has reported (Source: Xinhua).

Experts doubt number of reported human bird flu deaths
International health experts are warning that the official numbers of bird flu deaths may greatly underestimate the problem in China and elsewhere (Source: New York Times).

Thursday 1 December 2005

North Africa prepares for bird flu
Morocco and Algeria have drawn up plans to combat bird flu, which experts believe could reach North Africa early next year with the return of migratory birds from other parts of the continent (Source: Reuters).

Romania reports new bird flu cases in chickens
Eight new cases of bird flu have been reported in a remote village where the deadly H5N1 virus was detected in October (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu fears hit poultry demand across the Arab world
As poultry sales plummet by as much as 50 per cent in countries from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, small-scale farmers are threatened with economic ruin (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu vaccines prevent viral transmission
Dutch researchers demonstrate that bird flu vaccines are effective not only in helping birds survive the disease but also in preventing transmission of the virus from one bird to another (Source: SciDev.Net).

Bird flu quarantine lifted in northeast China
After 21 days of isolation, the quarantine of places hit by bird flu in China's northeastern Liaoning province has been lifted, the local government has announced (Source: Xinhua).

India procuring emergency bird flu drug supplies
As bird flu infiltrates neighbouring China, the Indian government has announced plans to create an emergency stockpile of one million doses of anti-flu drugs to combat the disease (Source: Times of India).

Wednesday 30 November 2005

Regulators to work together to speed up vaccine approval
Regulatory bodies like the US Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization plan to meet early next year to discuss how to speed up production of a bird flu vaccine (Source: Reuters).

Vietnam sets out national bird flu prevention plan
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Vietnam has announced it will not cull the country's entire poultry stock; instead it will destroy only poultry in infected areas, cordon off such areas and disinfect poultry farms (Source: Viet Nam News).

Thailand soon to be bird flu-free
There remains only one area in Thailand which is under close surveillance for a potential bird flu outbreak, according to a report in the Thai News Agency (Source: Xinhua).

China defends bird flu data
The Chinese government is honestly reporting the country's bird flu situation, but doctors and hospitals in rural areas may not always be capable of diagnosing the disease, says health minister Gao Qiang (Source: Shanghai Daily).

Culling wild birds not the answer
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that culling wild birds in urban areas in countries affected by bird flu will not help prevent a pandemic (Source: Xinhua).

Tuesday 29 November 2005

China reports two more flu outbreaks
Two more outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus have been confirmed in poultry in China's northwestern Xinjiang region and in the central Hunan province (Source: Reuters).

Thailand and the Philippines 'free to produce own Tamiflu'
Thailand and the Philippines are not bound by patent restrictions on Tamiflu, the drug of choice to combat a bird flu pandemic, leaving them free to make their own versions of the drug, said manufacturer Roche yesterday (Source: Bangkok Post).

Indonesia takes pro-active bird flu approach
The Indonesian government has started carrying out random checks on birds in several areas to complement tip-offs as a system to detect bird flu outbreaks early (Source: Xinhua).

Only two Russian villages remain infected
Two villages in Russia, one in the Kurgen region and one in the Astrakhan region, are the only ones still infected by bird flu, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture has announced (Source: Novosti).

Monday 28 November 2005

Virus mutation found in China's human bird flu cases
The H5N1 virus that caused China's human cases of bird flu was a mutated version of the strain found in Vietnam's human cases, said the Chinese Ministry of Health (Source: Xinhua).

Indonesian boy recovers from bird flu
The 16-year-old boy who tested positive for bird flu in Indonesia's 12th human case of the disease is said to be on the road to recovery (Source: Revolution Health News).

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