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Bird Flu News (H5N1)

This page provides news and comments about the bird flu, sometimes referred to as avian bird flu, Asian bird flu, and avian influenza A (H5N1).

Bird Flu News on October 22, 2005

According to a Hong Kong newspaper, China announced that it would close its borders if it finds a single case of human-to-human transmission of bird flu there.

In Croatia, the H5 virus was confirmed and authorities prepare to cull 10,000 poultry and wild birds in about 1000 rural households around a pond where the country's first bird flu case was found (in swans).

Bosnia has banned the import of poultry from Croatia. They have also forbid the transport, slaughter and sale of fowl and poultry in outdoor markets.

Another sign that panic demand is growing; Taiwan announced that, patent or not, it will copy antiviral drugs.
British officials are scrambling to pinpoint where a parrot was captured in Suriname before it was shipped to Britain where it died of the bird flu. The parrot is known to have had the H5 strain of the virus but official confirmation of the N-type has not yet been made.

Surinamese Health Minister Celsius Waterberg said that they are currently trying to find out about this bird, its background and the shipment. As soon as they know the area where the bird was captured, authorities will go to that area to investigate.

The bird was one of 148 that arrived in the Britain on September 16, 2005. It was being held in a quarantine unit alongside a consignment of birds from Taiwan. Another parrot also died, but the cause of that death is not yet known.

Because the parrot died in quarantine, the UK still considers itself disease-free.

EU foreign ministers have declared the bird flu a "global threat" requiring international action.

Australia has imposed an immediate ban on importing live bird from Canada after a group of pigeons was found to have been exposed to bird flu.

Bird Flu News on October 23, 2005

The Australian Federal Government's pandemic flu plan proposes the following measures to deal with the bird flu:

Emergency powers to be invoked when the bird flu pandemic strikes Australia.

Several major hospitals will be designated as "influenza-only" facilities.

All non-flu patients would be transferred to other hospitals.

Retired doctors and medical students would be drafted to cope with the emergency.

To ease the load on emergency departments, "Fever" clinics will be set up to test people for the virus. Staging posts to monitor post-treatment patients will be established outside hospitals.

Warehouses near airports may be rented as quarantine centers for airline passengers suspected of being exposed to the bird flu virus. Overseas passengers would be thermally scanned to check their body temperature and if they showed signs of flu, they would be quarantined for up to six days.

People may be quarantined in their homes or in other facilities. In most cases, quarantine is voluntary; however, governments have the authority to compel a quarantine to protect the public.

Those quarantined would be monitored by telephone or by visiting health workers. Others in the household would have to wear masks and use separate dining, bathing, laundry and toilet facilities whenever possible.

In the early stages of an outbreak, the most effective way to restrict the spread of virus would be to prevent sufferers from leaving their homes for several days even if they show no symptoms. This would include anybody suspected of coming into contact with the virus.

When SARS was in Canada, similar home quarantine orders were issued. One employee ignored the home quarantine order and went to work anyway and it cost the life of a coworker.

Talks are also underway with funeral directors about how to cope with the increased death toll from a pandemic including facilities for cremation.

Because of possible infection, bodies may not be permitted to be buried in coffins and grieving relatives may be denied viewings of the deceased.

To test Australia's readiness to cope with the bird flu, next month exercise Eleusis will be conducted over a three day period. The scenario will assume a chicken farm in NSW becomes infected and several people contract bird flu. It is planned to involve up to 300 people in several states.

An outbreak of bird flu in Australia's $6 billion poultry industry could have devastating results.

Some doctors and medical workers have devised "exit strategies" to flee their homes if human-to-human bird flu takes hold.

China has now admitted that the antiviral drug, amantadine was put in the drinking water of millions of chickens starting in the late 1990's. This was in defiance of international livestock guidelines on health. Adding amantadine to the drinking water actually *caused* the virus to mutate and become the deadly H5N1 version we now call the bird flu.

AskDocWeb: We have long suspected a connection between the rise in the number of diseases resistant to antibiotics and the use of "medicated" feed in the poultry industry. Doctors continue to caution against the use of antibiotics when there is no need, and yet the poultry industry continues to feed chickens antibiotics in every meal.

Now we have a new virus called H5N1 that can be traced back to someone feeding antiviral medication to chickens. Do you see any similarity between A and B?

A. New virus results from antiviral medication fed to chickens.

B. New germs result from antibiotic medication fed to chickens.

Bird Flu News on October 24, 2005

Contrary to the World Health Organization's guidelines, Canada's CTV is telling people that they can't get the virus by eating chicken or other poultry. That is only true if the meat is cooked properly. People in the food preperation industry need to know that raw and under-cooked meat is a possible source of infection.

Bird Flu News on October 25, 2005

German sources report that the EU is about to issue advice against eating raw eggs.

Officials in Germany say that at least a dozen dead birds have tested positive for the bird flu.

Health regulators from 30 countries are meeting in Canada at a ministerial conference about the bird flu. They are considering "loosening" patent laws so that manufactures can disregard patents to produce antiviral drugs. Although it seems that no representative of the U.S.A. was in attendance, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters she was briefed on it.

It seems that someone at Reuters news service has started referring to Tamiflu as "the antivial avian flu drug." In our opinion, this is misinformation because the H5N1 bird flu virus is resistant to Tamiflu. Too many countries are already depending on this false hope as their main line of defense against the bird flu.

More than 1,000 birds were found dead in West Bengal, India.

Update on the bird flue in Britain, a second parrot has died in quarantine of the bird flu. Officials insist that because the birds died in quarantine, the bird flu is not "officially" in Britain.

On the lighter side, we finally found a virus that can't be spread through Microsoft's Outlook email program.

Bird Flu News on October 26, 2005

The demand for Tamiflu is growing at an alarming rate. Drug maker Roche has halted shipments of Tamiflu to private suppliers in the United States and Canada in an effort to stop hoarding by consumers. Shipments are not scheduled to resume until sometime in November or December.

A WHO representative in Sri Lanka said that the virus seems to be becoming increasingly aggressive, pathogenic and that more types of wild and domestic birds are becoming infected.

Bird Flu News on October 27, 2005

If you are thinking of getting a mask of some kind to prevent infection, the WHO recommends N95 or better for airborne diseases like SARS and Avian Bird Flu. These masks block the particles that carry the virus. For better protection, respirators fit tighter than surgical masks and are made to filter out smaller particles.

Bird Flu News on October 28, 2005

The federal government has awarded a $62.5 million contract to Chiron Corporation to manufacture a bird flu vaccine. Chiron has reported spot shortages of vaccine already for this season.

Australia seems to have learned of the bird flu's resistance to Tamiflu and is now looking into buying more Relenza.

Noting that, in the event of a pandemic, boarders may be closed and airlines services halted, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has warned citizens living or travelling overseas to evacuate as soon as a flu alert is sounded. If you don't leave when first advised to do so, you may find yourself quarantined a short time later. This is good advice for anyone traveling abroad.

The most frightening thing about this bird flu is the 55% mortality rate. This is why people get upset and panic continues to grow.

Bird Flu News on October 29, 2005

Signs of bird flu craziness: In Latin and South America, when Colombia notified world health authorities that they found chickens infected with a mild type of bird flu, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela responded by banning imports of poultry from Colombia. That was a panic reaction, not based on medical facts. There are several varieties of bird flu but the one found in Colombia was not the deadly H5N1 virus. Colombia responded by banning rice from Bolivia and Ecuador. These import bans are based on panic not medical facts. Such unnecessary bans raise political tensions and hurt commerce. Experts are worried that these mini-commerce battles involving bird flu could mushroom.

Signs of bird flu craziness: An African country, Senegal, has banned all poultry imports across its borders, no matter where they came from. Don't be surprised if more countries follow suit.

Bird Flu News on October 30, 2005

For those who want to research the H5N1 virus in more detail: The "H" stands for hemagglutinin which governs the ability of the virus to bind to and enter cells. The "N" stands for neuraminidase which governs the release of newly formed virus from the infected cell.

Drug companies have recently increased their production of neuraminidase inhibitors by four times. At this manufacturing capacity, it will take a 10 years to produce enough to treat 20% of the world's population.

To prevent the spread of the bird flu virus, several African countries have banned poultry imports from European countries where the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been reported. These include Cameroon, Mauritius, Mozambique, Angola, Congo and Togo.

Beijing has banned the sale of all wild birds because there is no guarantee they haven't come from bird-flu infected areas.

If you work in the poultry industry or a related business, get prepared to take a financial loss. Businesses that will be affected by this bird flu pandemic include:
  • Poultry farmers/workers
  • Egg factories
  • Pet shops
  • Restaurants that sell poultry (Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc.)
  • Airlines
  • The whole tourist and travel industry
  • Trucking companies (carriers)
  • Investors in these industries
  • Respirator mask makers
  • Surgical glove makers
  • Drug companies involved with vaccines and antiviral meds
  • Wild bird hunting industry
  • The whole medical industry
  • Funeral services
  • Security forces

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