Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feburary 17 Flu Update

Bird flu continues to spread in Vietnam.

Vietnam is strengthening its bird flu activities.

People are still skittish about poultry in India.

Flu is now in the capital of Bangladesh.

Gulf States are meeting on bird flu.

Another bird in Hong Kong with bird flu.

Jackson County, OR, says, "not if, when"

ProMed looks at the World Wildlife Fund report on migratory birds. Interesting mod comment....

The good news is that the initial concern that the global spread of H5N1 was dependent on and a result of migratory birds has proven to be a false alarm -- now that thousands of such have been sampled over the past few years -- and it is now clear that any H5N1-infected wild birds were infected essentially incidentally.

There was no global biological conspiracy of that virus in nature, though the events are not without interest within the greater epidemiology of avian influenza viruses. This is not to say that it cannot go from wild birds to domestic birds, but that is the exception, not the rule.

The bad news is that H5N1 seems to be well embedded in the commercial and domestic poultry in various parts of the world and will probably remain so for some time to come. There are a total of 79 postings on this topic. For earlier reports beyond those cited below, see the ProMED-mail archives. - Mod.MHJ


At 5:17 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Bangladesh is in very serious trouble. The densest populated country in the world is at risk of losing their entire poultry industry to collapse and the majority of their population may face starvation. Their poultry industry (prior to the current bird flu outbreak) was one of their fastest growing industries, created mainly as a source of income for the jobless rural youths and rural women. It produces up to 1.6 percent, or $ 1.5 Billion, of their entire GNP and has been growing at an astounding annual rate of 20 percent.

Up to now, their poultry industry has been the single biggest contributor in reducing poverty, malnutrition and unemployment in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh poultry industry in 2007 employed 20 percent of their half-educated and unemployed, through 130 commercial hatcheries and 160,000 commercial farms. The number does not even include over 7.5 million additional back yard coops, run mainly by impoverished women, which actually produces almost 70 percent of the country’s total annual chicken output.

Here’s the problem: H5N1 appears to be endemic throughout all 64 district. There are an estimated 270 million chickens and ducks raised annually in Bangladesh. According to their own government news articles and veterinarians, Bangladesh has only culled 600,000 birds since February of 2007, and this represents only a tiny fraction of the poultry population, in fact only 2/10ths of one percent. And they do not have a vaccination program, like Vietnam for example. This means to me that they will face the collapse of their poultry industry as more birds die from infection. It also means potential starvation and social unrest, as there is no remedial solution in the works to replace this cheap source of protein and employment.

Now, if this scenario isn’t bad enough, ponder on this for awhile: some of their poultry growers have been exporting products to the Middle Eastern and European countries, India and Nepal, at least up to now. In fact, the national air carrier of Bangladesh, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, owns the following interesting subsidiaries: Biman Flight Catering Center (BFCC) and Biman Poultry Complex (BPC). They both regularly supply food to British Airways, Qatar Airways, Dragonair, Uzbekistan Airways and Iran Air (in addition to Bangladesh Airlines).

Chicken is their specialty on transatlantic flights, I hear. (but don’t worry, I am quite sure they will cook all chicken above 160 degrees to kill all viruses).

This is what I call “putting all your eggs in one basket”.



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