Thursday, February 09, 2006

February 9 Flu Update

Greece has announced that H5 has been found in its border, the first case in the EU.

Recombinomics on Greece.

As everywhere, bird flu is proving hard to control in Iraq.

Some Iraqi farmers are letting their birds loose rather than slaughter them and the lack of a proper shipping container has kept the tissue sample of a man suspected of dying of bird flu sitting in Baghdad despite reports it was being tested abroad.
Experts are worried about the bird flu in Nigeria. (Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa).

The African case is, indeed, hitting the news around the world.

Nations neighboring Nigeria are preparing as well.

Helen Branswell is on the scene to write on Nigeria.

Dr. Joseph Domenech of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization answered "Nigeria" when asked which African country he had least wanted to see this virus pop up in. "Oh, yes," Domenech, head of the FAO's animal health service, said from Rome. "In Nigeria you have a lot of commercial farms ... (And) Nigeria as a whole is a heavily populated country."
ProMed on the Nigerian situation, as the virus has spread to four farms. From the mod comment:

It may be assumed that none of the 4 outbreaks -- the one in Kaduna confirmed yesterday and the other 3, currently under investigation --are primary outbreaks in Nigeria. Backyard poultry might have been their source of infection. The crucial questions are how far and how long has the virus been circulating in Nigeria. As remarked by Dr Karesh, for whose observations we are grateful, there are at least 3 possible introduction routes; all may have taken place earlier this year or even since fall 2005. In addition, as he rightly states, without good epidemiologic investigation in addition to genetic analyses, any conclusion is just speculation.

If widespread, surveillance and culling might not be feasible; mass vaccination should be considered.
More from ProMed and WHO on Nigeria, noting two new human cases in Indonesia, too.

Recombinomics has a report that says two children could be sick in Nigeria near the area of the sick birds. To be monitored.

Note, via Crofsblog, there is an external link on this.

Finally, ProMed cites the New Scientist on the subject of flyways.

The article was posted before we found out the strain in Nigeria is apparently Qinghai, that is, the same one found in wild birds at Qinghai Lake, then across Siberia, then in Turkey and around the Black Sea coast. That is exactly what one expects for wild bird spread. (The probability of that spread was also strongly supported by a PNAS paper this week, Chen et al.) This might theoretically be down to people shipping infected meat or poultry waste to the affected areas, but I can't see why that would all be exactly the same strain of H5N1 every time, and never the Z genotype that has dominated east Asian outbreaks.

Vietnam is testing its vaccination program, and 80% of the vaccinated birds are showing bird flu immunity.

Meanwhile, Vietnam notes 90 days as bird flu free.

Bulgaria continues to be a concern--two new H5 cases have been found.

A Dutch expert warned EU Nations not to underestimate the risk of bird flu.

Guus Koch, senior avian flu scientist at the Dutch Central Institute for Animal Disease Control, told Reuters he expected many EU countries to order their poultry indoors from March to prevent contact with migrating birds returning ck from Africa. The deadly H5N1 avian flu strain arrived in Nigeria this week in what is Africa's first bird flu outbreak. Wild birds have been blamed for spreading the disease westwards from east Asia into eastern Europe and Turkey. "There might still be some member states which are not convinced about the risk," Koch said. " Let say that there is an outbreak tomorrow in a free range farm -- how can a minister of agriculture defend himself when he didn't do everything possible to prevent the outbreak." "We have to do everything possible to try to reduce the risk," Koch said, "The lesson to others from the Dutch experience is to be prepared."
China is reporting its 11th case. It is a 26F farmer from Fujian.

The day Roche never thought they would see. Thailand has produced the first generic Tamiflu.

Dr. Gleeson sums up yesterday's news and says while still "yellow" his concern is increasing.

Recombinomics has evidence of another family cluster--this time in Southern Iraq.

Via Crofsblogs, the final verdict on the Lithuanian sailor is negative.


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