Monday, March 12, 2007

Public Interest Drops, But Bird Flu Continues To Spread Across The Planet

We've been well away from all computers for a couple of weeks, travelling through outback and coastal Western Australia. If you're interested enough in bird flu to check this blog, then you're probably well aware of the major stories that have broken during the time we've not been updating. For the historical aspect of this blog, here's a list of the stories we missed that we think need to be included :

On March 11, Egypt announced that a 4 year old boy was its 24th victim of bird flu.

Vietnam announced that bird flu had infected five provinces, killing thousands of poultry birds.

On March 8, South Korea announced yet another outbreak of the bird flu virus. Officials ordered the culling of more than 55,000 birds within a three kilometre radius of the infected farm. By the next day, at least human was believed to have become infected by the virus.

On March 7, like an incident straight out of Stephen King's The Stand, it was announced that at least three researchers in an Australian lab were "accidentally" exposed to the virus.

Vietnam announced that the avian influenza has reached the capital, Hanoi, after weeks of outbreaks throughout the country.

In Laos, officials confirmed that at least one person had died from the virus, following dozens of outbreaks across the country since early February.

On March 5, Kuwait announced more than 50 locations were now confirmed as being infected with the bird flu virus.

China announced it intended to vaccinate billions of birds against the virus in the coming months.

US researchers claimed the Guandong province, in Southern China, was the area from which the current H5N1 strain of avian influenza originated. Chinese officials swiftly denied the US researchers theory.

On March 1, a group of experts announced it was forming a "prediction" market table aimed at more accurately prophetising future outbreaks of the bird flu virus, which could also beat the World Health Organisation to eventually announcing the beginning of the long-feared worldwide H5N1 pandemic.

On February 27, Laos confirmed it had its first human bird flu infection case, a 15 year old girl.

The EU announced it was forming a 'swat team' to provide a fast response to bird flu outbreaks.

On February 26, Kuwait announced that it had confirmed some 20 cases of bird flu infection in falcons, turkeys and chickens.

General public concern about the spread of the H5N1 virus seems to have peaked in mid-2006 and has not yet shot back up, at least not on a worldwide scale of relevance. But this may soon change, as the frequency of bird flu outbreaks amongst human and avian populations grows by the month.

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