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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 22 May 2006

Coordination 'too poor' to contain bird flu virus in Indonesia
A senior Indonesian official has said the lack of coordination among government agencies and international partners partly contributed to the rapid spread of H5N1 across 27 of the country's 33 provinces (Source: Jakarta Post).

Cash boost for bird flu research
The UK Medical Research Council has launched a major research project into the threat of bird flu; US$19 million will go to studies on the virus's source and spread, and treatments for the disease (Source: Yahoo News).

Sunday 21 May 2006

China's ability to detect bird flu outbreak in poultry still too weak - WHO
China's ability to detect H5N1 in poultry flocks across the country remains a weak link in efforts to contain the global spread of the virus, a WHO official has said (Source: The Canadian Press).

USAID to provide Pakistan with bird flu detection equipment
The American aid agency, USAID, announced it was purchasing equipment for Pakistan to enable it to test samples for bird flu within six hours (Source: Daily Times).

Indonesia finds new bird flu case - health official
An 18-year-old boy from East Java has been diagnosed with bird flu, according to local tests; a sample has been sent to Hong Kong for further analysis (Source: Reuters).

Suspected bird flu patient dies in Indonesia
A 20-year man died on Saturday in Surabaya, the capital of East Java; his symptoms suggest he might have suffered from bird flu, though tests have yet to confirm this (Source: Antara News).

Bird flu found at three more sites in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso confirmed the presence of H5N1 at three more sites including in Ouagadougou, the capital (Source: AFP).

Saturday 20 May 2006

Two bird flu patients in China fully recover
Two boys aged nine and six in central-south China's Hunan Province have recovered fully from bird flu, said a hospital president (Source: Xinhua).

Nigeria investigates suspected bird flu outbreaks
Officials in the northern Nigerian city of Kano are investigating reports of a fresh outbreak of bird flu; 16,000 chickens were found be infected a few days ago, one month after the area was declared free of the virus (Source: VOA News).

Bird flu fatality rate in humans climbs to 64% as virus spreads
Bird flu has killed 64 per cent of those people known to be infected with the virus this year, according to WHO statistics, and fatalities since 1 January have surpassed 2005 levels (Source: Bloomberg).

Friday 19 May 2006

Indonesia bird flu family case baffles experts
Experts have not been able to trace the source of infection that sparked an outbreak of bird flu in an Indonesian family on Sumatra; limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out says the WHO (Source: Reuters).

Indonesian pigs test negative for bird flu
Fresh tests on pigs from Indonesia's Sumatra island did not show any trace of the H5N1 virus, but flu antibodies showed they had been exposed to the virus (Source: Reuters).

Avian flu an expensive long-term emergency
The current avian flu crisis is not only an immediate, short-term problem, it is likely to be a continuing emergency that will last several years, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's chief veterinary officer (Source: FAO).

WHO backs dual antiviral therapy for some bird flu cases
Bird flu patients should receive Tamiflu as a frontline treatment, but doctors may also consider combining it with an older class of effective flu drugs, the WHO has said (Source: Reuters).

UN calls for US$300 million more to tackle bird flu
Saying that donors have been slow to release money pledged at the start of the year, the United Nations will make an emergency appeal to governments for US$300 million to tackle bird flu (Source: Financial Times).

Another Indonesian H5N1 death confirmed, not part of cluster
The WHO has confirmed that a 12-year-old boy from East Jakarta died of avian influenza; he was not part of the extended family cluster in northern Sumatra (Source: CIDRAP).

Thursday 18 May 2006

WHO confirms sixth Egyptian bird flu death
A 75-year-old woman from Minya in southern Egypt died of bird flu, a WHO official has said (Source: Reuters).

Gear up rural areas to fight bird flu says the WHO
Health services are sorely lacking in rural areas of many countries and these must be reinforced, the WHO said on Thursday (Source: Reuters).

China rules out bird flu in 30,000 chicken deaths
China ruled out bird flu as the cause of death of 30,000 chickens in the northeast city of Dalian last month, blaming badly administered vaccinations by unskilled workers (Source: Reuters).

Russia finds H5N1 strain of bird flu in Siberia
Russia has found H5N1 in six dead chickens in Omsk region, a regional health official said (Source: Reuters).

Situation in Indonesia – WHO update
The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has confirmed an additional seven cases of human infection with H5N1; six of the cases were fatal (Source: WHO).

Bird flu fight must focus on animal infection – FAO
The fight against the bird flu virus should focus on preventing infection in animals to prevent transmission of the disease to humans, a senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization official said (Source: Reuters).

Thailand seeks Japanese partnership to jointly research bird flu cure
A team of Thai officials visited Japan's Riken Science Research Institute to seek cooperation in conducting research on drugs to combat bird flu (Source: Thai News Agency).

Blogger reveals China's migratory goose farms near site of outbreak
It has emerged that a key migratory species affected by bird flu, the bar-headed goose, has been artificially reared near Qinghai Lake in western China, raising the possibility that farmed birds were the source of the 2005 outbreak there (Source: ).

Wednesday 17 May 2006

Residents halt Djibouti bird flu chicken slaughter
Djibouti, which has confirmed the first human bird flu case in sub-Saharan Africa, has stopped slaughtering poultry after residents refused to cooperate unless they received immediate compensation, an official has said (Source: Reuters).

Laos finds first bird flu case since 2004
H5N1 has been found in a duck on a farm 20 km south of the Lao capital of Vientiane but there is no sign that the virus is spreading, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said (Source: Reuters).

African generic company to provide Tamiflu to Africa
Africa's biggest generic drugs maker, Aspen Pharmacare, said yesterday that it had secured a non-exclusive license from Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche to supply the continent with generic oseltamivir (Source:

Romania sacks chief vet over bird flu outbreaks
Romania sacked its chief veterinarian, accusing him of negligence for failing to prevent a series of bird flu outbreaks in the past few days (Source: Reuters).

Tuesday 16 May 2006

Bird flu infects Indonesia's Papua province as virus moves east
Bird flu was found in fowl in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, evidence that the lethal virus is moving closer to the South Pacific (Source: Bloomberg).

Monday 15 May 2006

Djibouti appeals for US$4.4 million to help fight bird flu
The health minister of Djibouti has asked the international community for help to halt the spread of bird flu, saying the country needs more than US$4.4 million to train medical staff, put in surveillance networks and get laboratory equipment and drugs (Source: Reuters).

Cambodia seeks more village vets to fight bird flu
Cambodia needs an additional 5,300 village vets to help wage a public information campaign against bird flu, a senior official said (Source: Reuters).

'Avian flu not confirmed' - Kenya
Veterinary authorities in Kenya said that bird flu has not been diagnosed and confirmed in the country despite the discovery of dead domestic and wild birds (Source: Mail & Guardian).

UN expert praises Egypt's bird flu response
Egypt's quick response to bird flu shows that even developing countries can cope with limited outbreaks if they follow guidelines, the United Nations' chief bird flu expert has said (Source: Reuters).

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