Sunday, July 29, 2007

India : Deeply Troubling Bird Flu Outbreaks Far Worse Than Headlines Reveal

Are we getting the full story on the extent of the H5N1 outbreak in India? Some argue that we are not. But the level of damage and economic impact from the outbreak is rising rapidly.

Sri Lanka has just banned poultry imports from India, and Indian authorities are culling tens of thousands of birds, and shutting down markets, in a growing circle out from the confirmed point of outbreak in the Manipur district :

Hundreds of health workers will fan out in Manipur state to check on the health of some 450,000 people in and around the affected poultry farm in the village of Chingmeirong on the outskirts of Imphal, the state capital.

It plans to slaughter some 150,000 poultry in a 5 km (3 mile) radius around the affected farm.

Neighboring Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan have also witnessed outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu this year.

India declared itself bird flu free last August.

From the Bird Flu News Flash :
The Bird-Flu outbreak in the North East state of Manipur is creating havoc with the lives of the residents of the state as the Government launches emergency measures to fight the H5N1 Virus.
Then follows a solid roundup of news on India's H5N1 outbreak.

Chicken, Egg Prices Tumble In India After Outbreak Confirmed

Mass Culling At India's Bird Flu Farm

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Egypt : 25 Year Old Woman Infected With H5N1

The official number of human infections by the bird flu virus in Egypt has rise to 38 :

The woman, identified as Naema Abdo Gamil, 25, was admitted in a government hospital Saturday and has since been transferred to a hospital in Cairo, the Health Ministry said in a statement carried by the official news agency, MENA.

She was in stable condition Sunday, said health ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman.

Gamil contracted the lethal H5N1 virus after coming into contact with dead chicken in the Mediterranean province of Damietta, about 175 kilometers (108 miles) northeast of Cairo.

Most of the fatalities have been women or girls whose families raise poultry in backyards and who had daily contact with chickens or turkeys.

The human mortality rate in Egypt for the bird flu virus is around 46%. Officially, 15 people have died of the virus in Egypt, but the total number of fatalities may be higher, due to the widespread contact with poultry in crowded markets.

The World Health Organisation's official world death toll stands at 191 people since early 2003.

H5N1 Returns To Vietnam's Central Region - Pig Virus Kills Two

Vietnam To Test Human Bird Flu Vaccine

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Indonesia : Bird Claims The Life Of Another Child

An Indonesian boy, six and a half years old, died of bird flu last weekend. The death toll in the Indonesian archipelago from the H5N1 virus now stands at 81, or 82, depending on which 'official' fatality count you rely. The real toll is likely to be much higher.

From the Bangkok Post :
The six-and-a-half-year-old boy, identified only by his initials SZ, is from Cilegon Municipality of West Java's Banten province.

He died on Sunday afternoon at Jakarta's Sulianti Saroso Hospital, designated to treat bird flu patients in Indonesia, said Joko Suyanto, an official at the Health Ministry's Bird Flu Information Centre.

Suyanto said the victim began showing symptoms of bird flu on July 1 and was admitted to Siloan Glen Eagle Hospital in Tanggerang, west of Jakarta, four days later. On July 5, he was transferred to the infectious disease Sulianti Saroso Hospital in North Jakarta with fever, cough, pneumonia and breathing problems.

There was no report on how the boy came to be infected with the virus.

Dutch Airport Uses Two 'Bird Flu' Dogs To Screen International Flights For Poultry

Vietnam : Bird Flu Still Plagues Southern Region

But Vietnam Northern Province 'Squashes' Bird Flu Outbreaks

Bird Flu Halts Pigeon Racing In Europe

Friday, July 06, 2007

French Farms Sealed Off After Bird Flu Virus Kills Swans
American Pandemic Preparations Slow To A Crawl

News about the dangers of a bird flu pandemic in the human population of the United States has dropped out the news cycle in the past few months, so the vast majority of Americans, and their community, city and state leaders have lost interest in planning for such an eventuality :
Last November, Gartner Inc. analyst Ken McGee gave a presentation on the risk of an avian flu pandemic to an audience of IT professionals at a conference in Las Vegas. He concluded with this recommendation: Complete your pandemic planning by Q2 of 2007.

This year's second quarter ended on Saturday. But despite his admonition, McGee believes that few IT organizations are ready for a possible pandemic.

"Most clients would not be prepared if this descended upon the world tomorrow -- they just simply would not be ready," he said. "I think it's just part of the human condition: You don't put the stop sign up until after the traffic accident."

McGee is as concerned as ever about the threat of a pandemic, but he's worried that fears are waning in the U.S. And, he said, he's afraid "that people will learn the hard way that they cannot respond to a pandemic situation once it has been declared, because everyone will be trying to do that and nothing will get done."

The declining level of concern cited by McGee was backed up by poll results released Monday by Ipsos Public Affairs, a research organization that has offices in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities.

Ipsos conducted an online survey of 1,438 U.S. residents who are over the age of 18. When asked about the issue of avian flu in the U.S., 27% of the respondents said they were "concerned" -- down from 35% in a similar survey last year. Forty-one percent said they were "not concerned," compared with 31% a year ago.

The Ipsos poll received almost no news coverage, according to a Google News search. Indeed, one of the poll questions asked, "How much have you read, heard or seen about bird flu?" In 2006, 74% of the people who were surveyed answered "a lot/some." This year, the percentage of respondents who chose that answer fell to 56%.

Scott McPherson, CIO of the Florida House of Representatives and head of the Florida CIO Pandemic Preparedness Committee, tracks news about the avian flu on a daily basis. He can quickly cite the most recent mortality rates or list recent incidents, such as the death of five swans and a goose in Germany due to the H5N1 bird-flu virus. McPherson said he's mystified by the lack of attention that the threat is getting in the U.S.

He contrasted that with the level of interest that the avian flu gets in countries such as Indonesia. "If you live in Jakarta, this is all you think about it," McPherson said. "If you live in the United States, all you think about is Paris Hilton. What the heck has happened to us?"

Australia : Three Young Children Die From Mysterious 'Instant' Flu

Virus Caused "Serious Illness Within 24 Hours"

In three days, three children younger than five years old have died in Perth, Western Australia from a severe 'instant' flu, which causes serious illness within 24 hours :

The department is urging parents to quickly see a doctor if their children show signs of respiratory illness.

Director of communicable disease control, Dr Paul Van Buynder, said the speed at which the three children fell ill was a concern.

"While we do not want to create unnecessary panic, it is important for parents to be aware that the disease can cause serious illness within 24 hours..."

"Parents whose children have cold or flu like symptoms, including a cough and a fever, should see their general practitioner."

No official word on which strain of flu virus this is, but we'll let you know more tomorrow, if details become available.

France, Germany Battle Fresh Outbreaks Of Bird Flu In Swans, Poultry

Bird Flu Returns To Western Europe

France, Germany Raise Bird Flu Risk Levels After Outbreaks

Monday, July 02, 2007

Official : Bird Flu Has 80% Human Fatality Rate In Indonesia

We've been writing this fact up on this blog for a few months now, but it's still alarming to see it in print.

From the Jakarta Post :
Around 80 percent of the total 111 bird flu (Avian Influenza) patients in Indonesia, between 2005 and June 2007 have died, an official said.

During the period, some 90 people died of bird flu virus in the country, head of the respiratory disease of the Health Ministry's Community and Environmental Disease Eradication Fonny Silvanus said over the weekend.

The majority of the fatalities were recorded in West Java Province with 29 deaths, and the least fatalities were in South Sulawesi with only one bird flu patient died, Silvanus said when launching a public awareness campaign on animal quarantine.

"At the average, bird flu virus has affected mostly Indonesia's western regions, because the regions are quite humid, which is an ideal condition for bird flu virus to breed well," Silvanus said.

The bird flu patients ranged from one year old babies to 67 year-old adults

It should be noted that the 67 year old victim was the anomaly statistic out of all the human bird flu deaths in Indonesia.

The vast majority of all human deaths in Indonesia have been in people under 40 years old. At least 30 of those deaths have been children under 10 years old.