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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 5 June 2006

WHO test confirms another bird flu death in Indonesia
The WHO has confirmed that a 15-year-old Indonesian boy from Tasikmalaya in West Java died last week from bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Sunday 4 June 2006

Local tests show Indonesian nurse did not have bird flu
Local tests came back negative for an Indonesian nurse who fell ill after treating two siblings infected with bird flu (Source: Associated Press).

Quake victims not at increased bird flu risk: WHO
Survivors of last week's earthquake in Indonesia are not at any increased risk of contracting bird flu, the WHO has said (Source: Associated Foreign Press).

Countries slow to spend flu donations
Less than one-sixth of the US$1.9 billion pledged by donor countries in January to prepare developing nations for a flu pandemic has been spent, but only US$1 billion of the pledges have been formally "committed" by donors (Source: Financial Times).

Donors pledge over US$60m for bird flu in Vietnam
Donors pledged over US$60 million for the 2006-2008 period of a five-year Vietnamese programme to fight bird flu (Source: Xinhua).

Human-to-human infection 'may be underestimated'
A WHO spokesperson recently said there were "probably about half a dozen" cases of human-to-human transmission of H5N1, but others say the difficulty of detecting them could mean there have been more (Source: International Herald Tribune).

Friday 2 June 2006

New bird flu outbreak in Niger
Scientists in Europe have confirmed a new outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in southern Niger, a local government official said (Source: Reuters).

Local tests show Indonesian girl dies of bird flu
An Indonesian girl from the outskirts of Jakarta died on Thursday; local tests indicate she was infected with bird flu (Source: Reuters).

Nurse with bird flu-like symptoms hospitalised in West Java
A 25-year old nurse identified is being treated in West Java, Indonesia, for bird flu-like symptoms (Source: Antara news).

Thursday 1 June 2006

Pandemic 'dry run' is cause for concern
The cluster of avian flu cases in Indonesia last month showed how ill-prepared the international community was to respond to the threat of a pandemic (Source:).

Thailand to go it alone on bird-flu vaccine
Thailand will conduct its own bird-flu vaccine trial as talks with Japan on a joint project have recently broken down, the Public Health Ministry said (Source: The Nation).

Indonesia begins slaughtering poultry
Officials slaughtered more than 1,000 poultry in an Indonesian village in the Tasikmalaya district of West Java province where preliminary tests suggest a 15-year-old boy died from bird flu (Source: Associated Press).

First international influenza journal to be launched
The first international scientific journal dedicated to bird flu will be launched by Blackwell Publishing; it will be called Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses (Source: PharmaLive).

Wednesday 31 May 2006

Wild bird role in flu 'unclear'
The role of swans and other wild birds in spreading bird flu is still unclear, according to some scientists who say assumptions about the part they play do not stand up to analysis (Source: BBC Online).

Africa, China, Indonesia under-report bird flu
African nations, China and Indonesia do not give international bodies full reports on bird flu outbreaks because they lack funds to monitor the disease, a World Animal Health Organisation has expert said (Source: Reuters).

Azerbaijanis likely caught H5N1 from swans
Experts who investigated two clusters of human cases of H5N1 avian influenza in Azerbaijan in March say one cluster marked the first time humans probably contracted the disease from wild birds — in this case, dead swans (Source: CIDRAP).
Link to paper in Eurosurveillance

Tuesday 30 May 2006

WHO issues plan to limit bird flu outbreak in humans
The WHO has issued a step-by-step plan, including the rapid mass use of the antiviral Tamiflu, for containing a bird flu outbreak if the virus starts to spread rapidly among humans (Source: Reuters).

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