Saturday, December 20, 2008
NAMAKKAL : The bird flu scare in north east India has once again hit egg exports in south India’s poultry hub of Namakkal, as Gulf countries have re-imposed a ban on poultry products from India.
Barely a fortnight after lifting the ban on egg shipments from Namakkal, Oman has once again imposed curbs following the fresh outbreak of avian flu in Assam. Shipments of 15 lakh eggs to Oman daily from Namakkal have come to halt.
Every time bird flu hits north east India, it has an echo on the egg baskets of south India, as Gulf countries, which used to import over five million eggs daily from Namakkal, would clamp down on poultry consignments from India. In January this year, a bird flu outbreak in West Bengal brought egg imports to Gulf countries to a standstill.
After 10 months, the WHO had declared India free from bird-flu. And the Gulf countries began to ease curbs. However, once again, bird flu is sweeping poultry farms in Assam and distant Namakkal is feeling the adverse impact, says the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) official, Balasubramaniam. However, west African countries, Afghanistan and a few former Soviet countries continued to pick up eggs from Namakkal. But Christmas has handed a Santa Claus bonanza to Tamil Nadu’s egg land as the demand from domestic buyers is on the upswing once again.
Last week, egg stocks had piled up at the 800 poultry farms and the prices too fell steeply by 15 paise in Namakkal However, Christmas and New Year are round the corner, and it is time to make egg pastries and cakes. So, the egg stocks are fast clearing and the price of eggs fixed by the NECC in Namakkal has gone up to 1.95 paise up by five paise.
About 1.5 crore of eggs from Namakkal are now headed for Kerala and the rest of Tamil Nadu
MALADA, (West Bengal): Over 20,000 chicken have been culled in West Bengal's Malda district where culling operation was continuing in some new areas while mopping up operation had started in those areas where culling has been completed, a top district official said on Saturday.
District Magistrate Sreedhar Ghosh said that around 20,875 chicken have been culled in 24 villages under Narhatta and Kotwali gram panchayat of English Bazar Block of the
district till last night.
New culling operations were being carried out in some villages under Mahispathani gram panchayat area under Old Malda Block of the district on Saturday, the DM said.
Mopping up operation was being carried out in the 24 villages under Narhatta and Kotwali gram panchayat of English Bazar Block where culling had been completed, he said.
Asked about media reports of death of a large number of birds and chicken in Alinagar area under Bargachi I gram panchayat of Gajole Block of the district, Ghosh said "I have not received any fresh report of any deaths of large number of birds and chicken."
The DM was hopeful that the culling operation in the district would be over by Saturday nigh.
Guwahati: The spread of bird flu to new areas has led to the need to revise deadlines for the completion of culling operations in Assam.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday informed that seven districts, including 120 villages and 47 municipality wards, had been affected by the disease, so far.
Culling of four lakh poultries had been completed, while 1.55 lakh eggs and 1.23 lakh farm feeds were destroyed, Mr Gogoi added.
It had been targeted to cull five lakh chickens and ducks after the first outbreak of bird flu was detected in Hajo area of Kamrup (rural) district towards the last week of November.
Mr Gogoi said an expert committee had been formed to study the reason of the outbreak, with preliminary findings indicating that migratory birds, which arrived in the state in flocks due to wetlands here, were the carriers of the virus.
He added that another committee would be constituted to suggest ways to ensure that recurrence of such a major outbreak did not happen.
The avian influenza had spread with alarming rapidity across the state within a fortnight, with the state government having to go on an overdrive to ensure that no infection occured in humans.
Although no infection had been detected in human beings so far, the Health Department was closely monitoring for Upper Respiratory Infections (URI), the first symptom of the H5N1 virus entering the human body.
Besides the seven confirmed bird flu-affected districts of Kamrup (both rural and metro), Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigain, Chirang and Dibrugarh, preventive culling was ordered in Lakhimpur, Sivsagar and Baksa districts following the unnatural death of poultries.
Though the state government hiked the compensation rates and announced interest subsidy for the poultry farmers, cries of ''inadequate'' compensation were being raised by the All Assam Poultry Farmers Association.
The farmers' body said the poultry industry was incurring loss to the tune of Rs 2.25 crore daily, with the business being exclusively small-entrepreneur-based in Assam. (UNI)
- Last Updated: December 21. 2008 12:21AM UAE / December 20. 2008 8:21PM GMT
ABU DHABI // Gulf states plan to create an alert system to help isolate outbreaks of infectious disease.
Gulf health ministers are meeting today in Riyadh to discuss the creation of a database of infectious disease incidence to help plan strategies on shared public-health issues. The database would also help in the event of bioterrorism.
Nasser Khalifa al Budoor, the director of foreign affairs and international organisations at the Ministry of Health, said the ministers would discuss “a regional electronic alert system” which would increase the “speed of co-ordinated data exchange between member states” in cases of epidemic.
“When you have good statistics and can transfer information through the network, you will know what you need to do to combat the problem,” Mr al Budoor said.
Details of the system are not final and while it is expected to be operational soon, a timetable has not been agreed.
Similar systems in other parts the world use “syndromic surveillance” to look for patterns of illness, in the hope that their spread is caught early enough to prevent epidemics.
Dr John Bartlett, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: “Pandemic influenza is the big scare now. The people that die of influenza are usually very young or very old, so if the people dying are in their 30s then I think people would say that is alarming.
“These diseases can travel quickly. Pandemic flu can take two months to go through a geographical region and six months to travel around the world. The key to limiting its spread is early government intervention.
“The sooner the government knows about the problem the more likely they are to be able to limit it.”
Dr Idris Elhaj, a consultant at Al Noor Hospital, said: “With the borders between the countries in this area – things can easily cross from one area to another – what is going on in one country helps others to take precautions.”
He said the alert system could help prevent the spread of diseases such as Sars and bird flu.
However, such a system would require standardised medical training across the GCC, a problem for the Middle East where different countries have widely differing medical standards.
“There are differences in training but the fact remains that to control epidemics you need information from all these countries.”
The system would also be useful to track other public health concerns such as diabetes and tobacco-related diseases.
“It will help us keep track of diseases – especially diabetes,” Mr al Budoor said. “Diabetes is a big problem in this country. It will list everything about diabetes. ... It will be a wealth of information for the GCC.”
Diabetes will be discussed at the meeting of the ministers along with plans for a Gulf-wide healthy-heart campaign. One-third of deaths in the region are caused by heart disease.
Ministers will also discuss whether to require warnings on cigarette boxes to reduce smoking and decide whether alternative medicines should be regulated.
Statesman News Service
SURI, Dec. 20: Following reports of poultry deaths from Birbhum's Rampurhat and Bolpur block areas, the Animal Resources Development department (ARD) has started a mass vaccination programme in the entire district. Household poultry birds will be vaccinated under the programme.
ARD authorities have directed all block livestock development officers (BLDO) to start the programmes immediately. All birds are to be vaccinated within seven days. At least 18 per cent of the vaccinations are supposed to be completed by this evening.
Officials said that currently the vaccination programme has been carried out in 20 mouzas of Nalhati I and 15 mouzas of Rampurhat I block area. A final report in this regard is expected to come by Monday. “Birds that are 45 days old or younger will be vaccinated by using the RDF1 vaccine that prevents the outbreak of Ranikhet disease. Birds that have crossed 45 days will be administered the R2B vaccine,” a senior ARD official said.
While the district administration assured that there were no new death reports from anywhere in the district today, surveillance work in the two blocks from where poultry death reports were received have been initiated by the ARD. Teams have already started collecting blood samples of birds as a part of their routine surveillance. “There have been no reports of bird deaths today. Other than the ARD's surveillance, the state health department has also started surveillance work. The three sub-divisional hospitals of the district have been asked to prepare isolation wards like last year when there was a bird flu outbreak here,” said Mr Bisheswar Maity, district magistrate, Birbhum.
Meanwhile, in Malda, poultry culling began in six moujas of Old Malda block today. Located within a three km radius of Satgharia village, epicentre of the recent bird flu outbreak in the district, the six moujas were included in the culling map on Friday. “At least 5,000 birds would have to be culled in the six left out moujas of Old Malda,” said Mr NK Shit, deputy director, ARD, Malda. But concern has spread following reports that evading culling teams, some villagers had brought poultry to the Nawabganj Haat in Old Malda block on Wednesday from the affected villages such as Durgapur and Anandipur and had sold them. The administration is investigating the matter.
Kaohsiung, a chicken farm was infected with avian flu Taiwan authorities: the case of low pathogenic
2008-12-21 07:40:39 华夏经纬网 Jingwei Website 2008-12-21 07:40:39
|The bird flu virus has struck 120 villages in seven districts; strict vigil in other districts|
Sad end: Thousands of chicks are abandoned in hatcheries in Guwahati on Saturday due to bird flu. The sale and purchase of poultry products have been banned throughout the northeast.
GUWAHATI: Culling operations in four bird flu affected districts of Assam continued on Saturday with more than 4.25 lakh birds exterminated so far.
The H5N1 virus has struck 120 villages in seven districts and the State government disbursed Rs. 1,27,85,216 as compensation to the poultry farmers, official sources said.
The government has decided to set up an expert committee to take appropriate measures to prevent similar outbreak among the avian population in future.
The State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department along with the district authorities launched cleanliness drive and awareness campaign in the affected districts.
The department was also maintaining a strict vigil in other districts with the authorities directed to alert any unusual death among the avian population.
The State forest department has also directed forest personnel to monitor the migratory birds visiting the State during winter.
The seven districts affected by the avian flu are Barpeta, Chirang, Dibrugarh, Bongaigaon, Kamrup (rural), Kamrup (metro) and Nalbari with culling already completed in the last three districts. —
December 19, 2008 11:30am
THE dengue fever count in Cairns has soared to 45 cases, with up to five more people awaiting test results as doctors warn of an outbreak.Doctors have today made an urgent plea for people to see their GP if they feel sick over the Christmas and New Year period in a bid to curb the outbreak.
Symptoms can include intense headaches, muscle and joint pain, unpleasant metallic taste in mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea and extreme fatigue.
The last outbreak of dengue in Cairns was in 2006, when 29 people were infected with dengue type 2.
The current outbreak started in early December, when just two cases were confirmed at Manoora and Portsmith.
The outbreak is centred on Cairns North but it has rapidly spread to other suburbs such as Parramatta Park, Manunda, Mooroobool, Edge Hill, Whitfield, Trinity Park, Kewarra Beach and Clifton Beach.
District Medical Inspector Edmond Mulamba says it is too early to label the illness. It is also too early to say if the deaths are due to ebola, a type of haemorrhagic fever.
He says tests were being run to determine the cause of the deaths in remote Kasai Province. At least 14 other people are suffering from symptoms of haemorrhagic fever, including high temperature and violent vomiting.
Mulamba says a team of doctors from the World Health Organisation are travelling to the province.
In 2007, at least 167 people died of ebola in the same district where the current illness is being reported, around 700 kilometres south-east of Congo's capital, Kinshasa. - Sapa-AP
From a post yesterday:
PIB Press Release
Friday, December 19, 2008
...The cumulative figure of culling of birds so far in Assam is 3.91 lakh
20 Dec 2008, 2010 hrs IST, PTI
GUWAHATI: Culling operations in four bird-flu affected districts of Assam continued on Saturday with more than 4.25 lakh birds exterminated so
The H5N1 virus has struck 120 villages in seven districts and the state government disbursed Rs 1,27,85,216 as compensation to the poultry farmers, official sources said.
The state government has decided to set up an expert committee to take appropriate measures to prevent similar outbreak among the avian population in future.
The state Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department along with the district authorities launched cleanliness drive and awareness campaign in the affected districts.
The department was also maintaining a strict vigil in other districts with the authorities directed to alert any unusual death among the avian population.
The state forest department has also directed forest personnel to monitor the migratory birds visiting the state during winter.
The seven districts affected by the avian flu are Barpeta, Chirang, Dibrugarh, Bongaigaon, Kamrup (rural), Kamrup (metro) and Nalbari with culling already completed in the last three districts.
Dengue victim's family members hospitalised
Rohandra John firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, December 19th 2008
AT LEAST two more members of Camille Ramcharan's family had to be rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope yesterday to be treated for dengue.
Camille Ramcharan, a 22-year-old UWI engineering student, passed away last week after losing the battle with dengue.
Yesterday, her aunt, Merlyn Ramcharan, said her elder sister, Vilma Khan and husband, Habib Khan, had been experiencing dengue-like symptoms over the past few days and were "rushed to the emergency at the Mt Hope hospital" after visiting a private doctor earlier.
"They went to the doctor yesterday because they were experiencing all the symptoms, high fever, headache, body pains, they had no appetite, and while there, the doctor called the Mt Hope Hospital and told them to expect two of them, and they were immediately rushed to the hospital," Merlyn said.
Only two days ago, the residents of Frederick Settlement Caroni, where Camille once resided with her relatives, staged a protest to highlight what they described as a "deadly dengue outbreak in their community". The residents, irked by Camille's death, said Health Minister Jerry Narace was being less than truthful by claiming there was no dengue outbreak in the country. They also cast blame on the authorities for the situation in their village, saying they had neglected to clean the drains in and around the village for several years now. They said those drains were now filled with silt and stagnant water and have become the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Camille's father, Freddy Ramcharan, who also contracted dengue but survived the ordeal, said more than 50 persons in the village have tested positive for dengue for the year to date. Camille's mother, Shakera Mohammed, has also tested positive for the disease and is being treated at the Mt Hope hospital.
Merlyn said they were "all hurting" and want the authorities to intervene and deal with the situation urgently "because people are dying".
When contacted yesterday just before noon for comment on this matter, Narace asked the Express to pass on the information to his secretary because he was at a "Cabinet luncheon" and unable to respond to questions. When contacted again later on in the evening, Narace said he had been "extremely busy for the entire day" and had not gotten a chance to read the report about the residents' plight, but would try to do so today and provide a response on the matter.
Baxter Receives EMEA Positive Opinion for CELVAPAN, The First Cell Culture-Based Pandemic Flu Vaccine
Clinical data from a Phase III and subsequent booster study demonstrate safety, immune response and cross-protective memory
Thursday December 18, 2008, 5:03 pm EST
DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX - News) today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has issued a positive opinion for the marketing authorization of CELVAPAN, the first cell culture-based H5N1 (avian flu) pandemic vaccine, in the European Union.
The positive opinion precedes the licensure of the “mock-up” vaccine, which allows CELVAPAN to be used if the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declares a pandemic. The positive opinion was based on results from a comprehensive clinical development program, including a Phase III clinical trial that demonstrated vaccines for two different H5N1 virus strains were well tolerated and generated a functional immune response.
“We are very pleased to receive the EMEA’s positive opinion for CELVAPAN,” said Hartmut Ehrlich, M.D., vice president, BioScience global research and development. “This is another step towards our goal of supplying a safe and effective vaccine to protect the population against a possible influenza pandemic.”
A “mock up” vaccine is identical to the future pandemic vaccine in composition and manufacturing; however, since the actual pandemic strain is not known, the vaccine contains another influenza strain not yet exposed to the general population. Once a pandemic is declared, this licensure allows for a fast track approval of the vaccine containing the actual pandemic strain.
CELVAPAN is made using Baxter’s proprietary Vero cell technology, which offers advantages against conventional egg-based vaccine technology. Baxter’s Vero cell manufacturing process is more rapid due to its ability to use the “native” virus that does not need to be modified in order to grow in chicken eggs. The shorter time for vaccine production is critical in accelerating vaccine supply in response to an influenza pandemic.
CELVAPAN is produced in Bohumil, Czech Republic, at one of the largest cell culture vaccine production facilities in the world. Vero cell technology uses a well-established continuous mammalian cell line to produce the pandemic vaccine.
Baxter’s candidate avian flu vaccine is derived from the H5N1 strain A/Vietnam/1203/2004. Its antigen composition and structure are identical to the actual virus circulating in nature. This vaccine formulation alleviates the need to enhance the immune response by including adjuvants (additives) that may cause side effects. In the Phase III study, CELVAPAN induced an immune response that is similar to the body’s defense against a natural influenza virus infection.
Phase III Clinical Trial Results
The purpose of the randomized Phase III study was to evaluate safety and immune responses to 7.5 µg of the Vietnam strain vaccine in two age groups (adults 18-59 and elderly, i.e., older than 60). The antibody persistence and immune response to a booster with either the same or a different strain was also measured. The study also investigated the ability of the vaccine to induce cross-immunity against divergent H5N1 strains.
Overall, the vaccine was well tolerated after the first and second vaccination as well as after the booster, with a safety profile similar to currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines. The most common side effects were injection site pain and headache, fatigue or malaise.
A positive immune response was induced even after only one immunization as determined by measurement of functional antibodies using a microneutralization assay (50.7 percent in the adult group; 54.4 percent in the elderly group). Following the second immunization, 73 percent of subjects in the adult and 74 percent in the elderly age group demonstrated seroneutralizing levels of antibody, meaning the vaccine was found to be at least equally immunogenic in the elderly as in the adult age group. A six-month booster vaccination with either A/Vietnam/1203/2004 or A/Indonesia/05/2005 strain vaccines induced a substantial booster response. A booster vaccination using a different strain resulted in high levels of antibodies against the initial and the booster strain, which is indicative of cross-protective immunological memory.
Last June, The New England Journal of Medicine published data demonstrating CELVAPAN met Phase I/II trial endpoints for safety and immunogenicity (generating a functional immune response). This was the first peer-reviewed publication of study results for CELVAPAN, the first cell culture-derived avian influenza vaccine to undergo clinical evaluation.
About Pandemic Flu
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak caused by an agent for which there is little or no immunity in the human population and which can spread easily from person-to-person worldwide causing serious illness and death. Most cases of avian flu infection in humans have so far resulted from direct or close contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces possibly contaminated from feces of infected birds. Avian influenza infection follows an unusually aggressive clinical course, with rapid deterioration and a high fatality rate.
Baxter International Inc. develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide.
WASHINGTON - Tighter background checks and improved security would help prevent a repeat of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, military officials said Thursday, while acknowledging there are no guarantees.
It was five months ago that an Army biodefense lab scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, committed suicide after being named the prime suspect in those attacks.
"I can't say for certain it could not happen today," Army Maj. Gen. Robert Lennox, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations and training, told reporters. "But it would be much more difficult." He said there are more hurdles now before someone could remove a biological agent or toxin from a lab and seek to use it.
Lennox said military safety reviews in recent months endorsed many of the security changes already made, from improved cameras and lights to satellite surveillance. But other changes were deemed not workable or too expensive, including limits on scientists' hours or a system that would prohibit workers from being alone with a toxin.
The Air Force and Navy also said they are preparing to resume shipments of dangerous biological agents to and from their medical and research labs. The Army briefly halted its shipments in August, then resumed them after tightening some rules.
The greatest vulnerability, Lennox said, is being able to determine whether someone might be a threat. Ivins' activities largely went undetected by military authorities at the Fort Detrick lab in Maryland despite revelations that emerged that he was a likely threat.
As for transporting toxins, there are now requirements that two workers be present at all times during transit and that there be satellite coverage of the shipment. Also, the military is giving supervisors more training to be able to detect employees who may have problems, and expanding the security clearance checks of potential employees.
Workers at 12 military labs _ five Army, five Navy and two Air Force _ conduct biomedical research to support counterterrorism efforts, research protection for the armed forces and keep track of infectious diseases across the globe. Employees work with a range of dangerous materials such as anthrax and germs that cause Avian flu and encephalitis.
Ivins allegedly obtained and refined the anthrax used in the deadly mailings that killed five people and sickened 17 others. He committed suicide after being told he would be charged in connection with the attacks.
David R. Franz, who commanded the flagship U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick from 1995 to 1998, said a too-tight focus on preventing insider abuses could slow research and cause the U.S. to fall behind in scientific advances. For example, he said, investigating lab workers for the equivalent of top-secret security clearance can sometimes take years.
"I'm assuming it will chase some scientists away who might choose just to work someplace else if they have a very invasive system," Franz said. "The Chinese and Indians and so on are much less likely to regulate their science than we are. It becomes a national security issue if we're slowing progress in America."
He said biodefense scientists must work harder on showing the public and policy makers the benefits of their work.
"I see more good coming from the life science enterprise than harm," Franz said.
Mysterious bird disease breaks out in north Zambia
Some poultry farmers in Mansa district, capital of north Zambia's Luapula Province, have bemoaned the loss of business due to a mysterious disease that has ravaged hundreds of chicks in the district, Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) reported on Thursday.
Speaking on behalf of the affected poultry farmers, Alfred Kaluba told ZANIS that chickens worth over 2,000 U.S. dollars have so far died of the mysterious bird disease.
Kaluba claimed that the disease has caused the highest mortality rate ever experienced in chickens in the district, ZANIS said.
Kaluba said the disease is suspected to have been caused by the Hybrid hatchery in Kitwe after immature eggs were hatched, a claim Hybrid refuted but placed blame on feedstock from Tiger Animal Feeds.
He said an official from Tiger Animal Feeds in Lusaka dismissed the claims and instead placed blame on the Hybrid hatchery, a situation which has made it difficult for the local poultry dealers to claim compensation for the loss suffered.
"What we have gathered from these counter accusations by the two firms, it might be questionable feedstock or hastily hatched eggs so as to meet huge demand before the festive period. If so it is indeed a bad and unprofessional conduct from a business point of view," Kaluba was quoted.
Kaluba said the bird disease has also affected some parts of the Copperbelt province.
He has since appealed to government through relevant ministries to intervene and help establish the cause of the mysterious bird disease before the situation worsens.
AG: Dangers in watershed 'still very real'
TULSA, Okla. (AP)--Dangers to human health are "still very real" in the Illinois River watershed because 13 Arkansas-based poultry companies continue to dispose of the bird waste in the river valley, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.
But a poultry industry spokeswoman says bacteria levels in the 1 million-acre watershed are no greater than they are in the state's other rivers and streams where poultry waste isn't applied.
"You should understand there is a chance you're going to get sick, and the sickness you'll get will be very similar to food poisoning," Edmondson warned would-be visitors next year to the watershed in an interview with The Associated Press. "That's what the EPA tells us and that's what our research tells us.
"The human health effects and dangers are still very real and we remain very concerned about them," he said.
In September, a federal judge denied Oklahoma's request for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the poultry companies from dumping the bird waste in the watershed.
U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell wrote then that Oklahoma "has not yet met its burden of proving that bacteria in the waters of the IRW are caused by the application of poultry litter rather than by other sources, including cattle manure and human septic systems."
Oklahoma is planning to appeal the ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Edmondson sued the companies in 2005, accusing them of treating Oklahoma's rivers like open sewers.
While gathering evidence for the pollution case, which figures to go to trial later in 2009, Edmondson said the state "discovered the excessive land application of poultry waste could be a danger to public health," and argued in court for the injunction earlier this year.
Edmondson had requested an injunction by this year's spring rains, arguing that bacteria found in the waste could pose a health threat to the 155,000 people who recreate in the river valley annually.
September's ruling disappointed many environmentalists, who hoped a damaged ecosystem could begin to heal.
"There's going to be motions to stall this thing for a long time, and who knows how long until the two sides get together," worried Kurt Robinson, president of the nonprofit group Save the Illinois River. "The pollution's coming from somewhere, and it's not coming from a pipeline from hell or some other planet."
Tulsa attorney Gerald Hilsher, chairman of the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, said if the state loses its lawsuit and voluntary efforts don't work to help the ecosystem, "I think we're going to have to change the name of our commission and our law to the Oklahoma Un-scenic Rivers Commission."
The injunction could have halted a practice thousands of farmers employed for decades in the watershed, which occupies parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma: Taking the ammonia-reeking chicken waste--clumped bird droppings, bedding and feathers--and spreading it on their land as cheap fertilizer.
It also could have led to similar environmental lawsuits nationwide against the industry, which produced more than 48 billion pounds of chicken in 2006.
The Oklahoma-Arkansas region supplies roughly 2 percent of the nation's poultry, and is one of several areas nationally where the industry is most concentrated. More than 1,800 poultry houses are in the watershed, most of them in Arkansas.
Jackie Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the poultry industry, said the companies remain confident in their legal case, and accused the state of trying "to do away with the poultry industry and the hardworking farmers in eastern Oklahoma."
"There's this nasty picture that's been painted of farmers backing up trucks of litter and dumping it into the water," Cunningham said. "I just don't understand what (the attorney general) wants to happen and what he expects to gain from this."
Companies named in the 2005 complaint include Tyson Foods Inc., Tyson Poultry Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., Cargill Turkey Production L.L.C., George's Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc., Simmons Foods Inc., Cal-Maine Farms Inc. and Willow Brook Foods Inc.
5 Star OK\12-B
Poultry Deaths In West Bengal India Raise H5N1 Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 13:00
December 20, 2008
death of 600 chickens over the past four days was reported in Ledason near Onda PS in Bankura district.
The head of the ARD team that visited Ledason this morning, Mr Modak, said: “The symptoms may have some resemblance to Bird Flu."
unusual mortality of poultry birds have been reported from Birbhum's Rampurhat I and Bolpur blocks.
In Dokhalbati village nearly 50 chickens died. Thirteen died in Naryanpur and 25 in Bolpur Kopai village.
untimely death of 56 new-born chicks at Khongram under Murshidabad district during the past two days
The above comments describe recent unnatural bird deaths in three West Bengal districts, Bankura, Birbhum, and Murshidabad (see updated map). Although the deaths in Mushidabad are said to be from “another disease” and the Birbhum deaths “do not resemble bird flu”, the deaths in Bankura do resemble bird flu, and H5N1 has been confirmed in multiple locations in Malda, as well as Bandgladesh and Assam (see map overview).
In Assam, H5N1 has been confirmed in crows dying in Guwahati and dead wild birds have been noted in Karbi Anglong and Nagaland. Similarly, hundreds of dead crows have been reported in Malda.
Moreover, almost exactly one year ago poultry began dying in Birbhum (see 2008 map). These deaths were not H5N1 confirmed until January 15, 2008, but by then H5N1 had spread to multiple West Bengal districts, leading to extensive culling throughout the winter. Record levels of H5N1 were confirmed in West Bengal and Bangladesh, and the rapid spread in Assam this month raises concern that wild birds will spread the H5N1 to multiple regions in West Bengal.
Therefore, these excessive poultry deaths are likely signals of such movement.
Saturday 20th December, 2008 (IANS)
Over 20,000 poultry have been culled since Tuesday in West Bengal's bird flu-hit Malda district, a state minister said Saturday.
'Veterinary workers have culled over 20,000 chickens and ducks till Saturday afternoon at Narhatta and Satgheria villages under English Bazar police station in Malda,' animal Resources Development (ARD) minister Anisur Rehman told IANS Saturday.
Rehman said the culling operation is likely to be over by Saturday night.
'The culling operation should have been over Friday. But due to some bureaucratic problems it had to be continued till Saturday. It is likely to be over by Saturday night. We will begin a two-day mopping up operation in the affected areas Sunday,' Rehman said.
The minister further said there has been no untoward incident during the culling operation so far.
The ARD had set a target of culling about 25,000 poultry in the affected areas of Malda, about 350 km from here.
December 19, 2008
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens that there is a high threat of terrorism throughout India, and advises U.S. citizens traveling to or already in India to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, especially during the end-of-year holidays until India’s Republic Day, January 26. This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2009 and replaces that issued on December 4 to provide updated information regarding the security situation.
In the wake of bird flu in Assam, precautionary measures have been taken in Madhya Pradesh to prevent spread of the disease, official sources said today.
A five-member team of the Animal Husbandry Department Research Laboratory visited poultry farms and backyard units to collect the information about the birds on Narsinghgarh Road and Bhadbhada Road near the state capital yesterday and the birds were found healthy.
Poultry farm owners were also told to strictly follow bio-security norms and to inform the district authorities in case of unnatural death of birds.
Team also collected 45 samples and sent them to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory of the Agriculture Ministry, sources added
For its effectiveness in curing diseases that were fatal in other times, not so long ago antibiotics were magical aura of drugs.
Today, bacterial resistance is a real headache for sanitarista. But at least for now researchers Argentines won a round in the fight against pathogenic microorganisms: a work that today is published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences achieves unravel one of the keys to bacterial resistance to antibiotics: show through structural studies, biochemical and microbiological where they recorded the molecular changes that allow the microorganisms to deactivate these drugs.
Bacteria, however, were commissioned to prove otherwise. International data indicate that up to 70% of the pathogens that cause lung infections are resistant to one of the first-line antibiotics and up to 60% of hospital infections are caused by resistant microbes.
"From that, half a century ago, Darwin published On the Origin of Species, the word 'evolution' refers to the process of genetic changes that lead to the emergence of new species and their adaptation to different environments-count Alejandro Vila, of the Institute Molecular and Cellular Biology of Rosario, and from Conicet the National University of that city, and Pablo Tomatis, author of the work.
In his attempt to understand the mechanisms of resistance of pathogenic bacteria to antibiotics, Vila and Tomatis working on some enzymes (proteins that catalyze chemical reactions) calls metalobetalactamasas that confer this capacity. That is, is defended by the bacteria to evolve this protein, which means that an entire body depends on a protein, a molecule.
The scientists replicated that procesoin vitro, adding larger amounts of antibiotics and inducing mutations in the protein.
"Emulated in the lab the natural process of evolution of this protein-Vila says. We had already seen that we could have a bacteria more resistant to antibiotics by evolving beta. In this work, we managed to develop one of these enzymes in the laboratory and we obtained more efficiently. "
The result surprised the "One would expect mutations at sites of contact with the antibiotic. It is rare that the changes that make the enzyme off more quickly antibiotics occur far from the site where he joins them, something that would have been impossible to rationally predict based on conventional approaches. It's an idea that goes against intuition. "
Isolating a group of mutant proteins, the researchers charted its metallographic structure and were able to visualize each of the sites where the protein is evolving, what they do and how to connect with each other.
"We see very weak interactions that go from one point to another of the protein and give you a lot of flexibility so that you can open and close much faster in the cavity where it joins with the antibiotic-Vila said. What surprise is that it does so at a distance. "
The beta of a model system to study the evolution of proteins in general and also produces other findings.
"We showed that these proteins mutate to be done in the lab predict future scenarios of resistance and open the door to the design of new antibiotics," says Vila. "Our idea is to anticipate developments. We can anticipate in what direction will be resistance of the bacteria, so that this knowledge would be predictive. "
A flu type virus has led to a surge in telephone calls to GPs and emergency services across the region.
Medical staff at doctors surgeries across Solihull have witnessed a rocketing number of enquiries, averaging 20 to30 per day relating to the virus which causes a cold and chest pains among all ages during the past week.
In addition, West Midlands Ambulance Service based in Dudley, took an estimated 2,146 calls during last Saturday (December 13) alone, representing a 30 per cent increase for the same period last year.
Dr Patrick Brooke, medical director for Solihull NHs Care Trust in Union Road, is urging people with colds and flu-like symptoms to seek the right treatment for their illness and not to use the Accident and Emergency departments of Solihull Hospital.
“There has been a tremendous health service response to this unprecedented demand,” he said. “GPs and community services staff have made a concerted effort to deal with the high level of demand and help to relieve the pressure on local hospitals.
“One of the main problems recently is a flu-like illness, the Norovirus which causes respiratory problems, sickness and diarrhoea. This has hit old people particularly hard. While NHS staff are always there to help, there is a lot people can do for themselves and their families to avoid becoming ill or having accidents.”
Any members of the public with flu-like symptoms are advised to take plenty of rest, consume hot drinks and plenty of fluid, wear extra layers of warm clothing, stay at home, wash their hands regularly and use their local GP or pharmacy for treatment and advice.
"We face so many challenges as we transport patients to clinics. My worry is that most ambulance drivers are not protected from infections. Sometimes we handle cases of accident victims who are bleeding - with no gloves you end up handling such cases with bare hands.
"Chances are that you can contract HIV or other dangerous infections. My fellow drivers have complained about this, but most bosses are always reluctant to take action.
"Take the month of December  - people party and there are so many accidents on our roads. Our predicament is similar to that of traffic police officers. Just like us, they also handle dead bodies, people who are bleeding sometimes, without gloves due to circumstances.
"December is one of the months when have the highest number of accidents. We are called any time, even in the middle of the night, to ferry the sick, the injured or even corpses to the hospital.
"Sometimes couples fight and hack each other. It is our responsibility, even when we are having some good time with friends, to cut short the celebrations and take the injured to hospital.
"Just today, I woke up at 3 a.m. because there was a maternity case. I had to drive the expectant mother to the clinic - I have no option.
"Much as we are also entitled to happiness and celebration on Christmas, ambulance drivers appear not to be part of it. I don't remember the last time I celebrated Christmas with my family. They just got used to it.
"Perhaps our organisations should employ more ambulance drivers so that we work on shifts. Ambulance drivers lack motivation. Despite the onerous duties that we discharge, our perks are meagre. This is one of the reasons most people are not willing to be employed as ambulance drivers.
"We are more than ambulance drivers; we do humanitarian work, and society should start looking at us from that angle. An ambulance driver is more than just a mere driver - we save lives!
"Come Christmas time, everyone will be celebrating and partying, while we will be on the road with our sirens wailing as we try to save lives, or we carry the dead to the morgue.
"Something ought to be done to improve our working conditions. We need better equipment, we need gloves all the time, we need better salaries.
"Apart from better salaries we also need risk allowance. Yes, with the high prevalence of HIV, ambulance drivers risk contracting the virus in the line of duty. Most people turn a blind eye to this.
"If you ask me where I will be on Christmas, I will tell you that I will probably be on one of our highways. Christmas or no Christmas, it will be business as usual for me."
Chinese Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on December 16, Hai-an County in Jiangsu Province and the Dongtai individual farmers laying hens kept in the monitoring of pathogenic avian influenza H5N1-positive samples have been culled 377,000 poultry. 多名海安县和东台市人士透露，一些不法商贩偷偷向鸡农低价收购病鸡和死鸡，并稍作处理和包装后运往外地市场销售。 Dongtai County, and more than MSC sources, a number of illegal traders secretly to the chicken farmers to buy low-cost chickens and dead chickens, and some post-processing and packaging to foreign markets.
扑杀37.7万只家禽 Culled 377,000 poultry
香港《大公报》报道，中国农业部网站12月16日晚间发布消息，引述农业部相关负责人谈话称，农业部15日接到江苏省兽医部门报告，在对家禽实行例行监测时，在海安县、东台市个别农户饲养的蛋鸡中监测到H5N1禽流感病原学阳性样品。 Hong Kong "Ta Kung Pao" reported that the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture website on December 16 evening news release, quoting the relevant person in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture statement said 15 of the Ministry of Agriculture in Jiangsu Province received a report of the veterinary department in the implementation of routine monitoring of poultry at sea County, Dongtai individual farmers laying hens kept in the monitoring of pathogenic avian influenza H5N1-positive samples. 经专家初步分析，检测到的禽流感病毒与我国南方地区流行毒株有一定差异，可能与迁徙候鸟传播病毒有关。 Preliminary analysis by experts, detected the avian influenza virus with pandemic strain of China's southern region some differences may be related to migratory birds spread the virus.
国家禽流感参考实验室已按农业部要求，对阳性样品开展进一步检测，分析病毒是否发生变异。 National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory has been requested by the Ministry of Agriculture, on the positive samples for further testing and analysis of whether the virus mutates. 中国动物卫生与流行病学中心也已派出专家组赶赴上述地区开展流行病学调查，分析病毒来源。 China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center also sent a group of experts have rushed to the above-mentioned areas of epidemiological investigation, analysis of the source of the virus.
消息指出，接到报告后，农业部立即部署江苏省兽医部门落实防控措施。 The source said that after receiving the report, the immediate deployment of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Agriculture veterinary departments to implement prevention and control measures. 一是对监测阳性鸡群及周边地区家禽进行扑杀，已扑杀家禽37.7万只。 One positive for monitoring flocks and the surrounding areas to carry out culling of poultry have been culled 377,000 poultry. 二是实行隔离监控。 The second is to monitor the implementation of isolation. 禁止调运东台市和海安县所有家禽及其产品，限制流通。 Dongtai transport ban on all poultry and Hai'an and its products, restrictions on the flow. 三是消毒灭源。 The third is to eliminate the source of disinfection. 对被扑杀家禽的养殖场（户）及其周边地区环境进行彻底消毒，防止病毒传播扩散。 Poultry have been culled on the farm (000) and the surrounding environment to carry out thorough disinfection to prevent the spread of the virus. 目前，海安县和东台市并未发现禽流感疫情，周边县市也没有发现异常情况。 At present, the MSC Dongtai County and found no bird flu, the surrounding counties and cities also did not find anything unusual. 农业部已将有关情况向世界动物卫生组织（OIE）进行了通报。 The Ministry of Agriculture has been the situation to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) were informed.
Yesterday, Su, along supermarkets in Shanghai and east from Taiwan, Hai Chegui their eggs. 并且从昨日下午开始江苏的东台作出规定，凡是现在从东台向外运输相关禽类的车辆都将扣留检查。 From yesterday afternoon and Jiangsu to provide for Taiwan's east, from the East who is now Taiwan's outward transport of poultry-related vehicles will be detained for examination.
东台市林牧业局副局长金山坦言：“估计这次禽流感的直接经济损失超过了500万。” Dongtai Lin Jinshan, deputy director of animal husbandry bureau said frankly: "The bird flu is estimated that the direct economic losses of more than 5,000,000."
整个产业链遭受打击 The whole industry chain hit
从昨日下午开始，为防止带有禽流感的家禽流出，东台市政府规定对于向外运输的都将予以扣留检查。 From the beginning of yesterday afternoon, in order to prevent an avian flu out of poultry, Dongtai required by the Government for transport out of the examination will be detained.
据金山介绍东台市禽业的产业链是从苗鸡开始的。 According to the poultry industry Dongtai Jinshan introduced the industry chain from the beginning of the Miao Ji. 农户首先从附近或是山东、河北、北京等地购进苗鸡，再进行圈养。 First of all, or farmers from the nearby Shandong, Hebei, Beijing and other places to buy Miao Ji, another captive. 在养殖的过程中农户购买饲料商的预混料，成规模的农户在预混料的基础上添加些自己的配方，在蛋鸡成熟之后进行鸡蛋销售。 In the process of farming households to buy feed premix business, as the scale of the farmers in the premix on the basis of their own formula to add more, in the mature laying hens after the sale of eggs. 蛋鸡的周期一般是500天，在这之后母鸡就将被卖到沪宁一带或当地屠宰，这样循环下去。 Layers of the general cycle of 500 days after the hen will be sold along the Shanghai-Nanjing, or the local slaughter, so the cycle continues.
三聚氰胺曾给东台禽蛋养殖业中鸡蛋这个环节造成了影响，而禽流感带给东台的打击是整个产业链。 Melamine given East Taiwan breeding eggs in the egg industry had an impact on this link, and the avian flu to Taiwan's east against the whole industrial chain.
这次当地的种鸡场、饲料商、蛋鸡养殖户、生鸡屠宰场等相关产业都将受到不同程度的打击。 This kind of local chicken farms, feed, layer farmers, slaughterhouse live chickens, and other related industries will be varying degrees of combat. “据估计直接的经济损失将超过500万元。” "It is estimated that direct economic losses to more than 5,000,000 yuan."
农户在这次禽流感中损失最为严重。 The farmers in bird flu in the most serious losses. 金山表示，江苏政府和农户之间达成了协议，按照扑杀一只鸡赔偿10元钱，两个蛋等于一只鸡的方案，对受损失的农户进行赔偿。 Jinshan said, Jiangsu between the government and farmers reached an agreement, a chicken cull in accordance with the compensation money to 10 yuan, equivalent to two eggs a chicken of the program, farmers who suffer a loss of compensation. 赔偿款项将于近期全部直接打入农户银行账户中。 Compensation payments will be in the near future all farmers to enter the bank account.
特供鸡蛋遭遇下架 Special experience for the eggs off the shelf
禽流感只在个体养殖蛋鸡中发现，金山表示，并没有波及到当地的养殖公司。 Bird flu in the only individual breeding hens were found, said Kingsoft has not spread to the local aquaculture Corporation. 但是东台、海安两地发现禽流感的消息还是给东台市花凤禽业有限公司带来了很大的打击。 But the east of Taiwan, MSC found that the two bird flu information or to the poultry industry phoenix spend Dongtai Co., Ltd. is a big blow.
在产自东台的鸡蛋中，最有名的要属“花凤”牌鸡蛋，据了解这种精心培养出来的鸡蛋是江苏鲜蛋类唯一获得绿色食品证书的品牌。 In the east of Taiwan from the eggs, the most well-known to be a "Feng Hua" brand eggs, according to well-trained to understand that the eggs are eggs, Jiangsu was the only category of green food certificate brands. 从2003年3月开始花凤鸡蛋就被选为全国人大、政协会议的特供用蛋，不过这两天花凤禽业却开心不起来了。 From the beginning of March 2003 to spend on the egg-feng was elected the National People's Congress, CPPCC sessions to use for special eggs, but the two smallpox in the poultry industry phoenix is not happy again.
“三聚氰胺给鸡蛋造成的影响并不是很大，”东台市花凤禽业有限公司总经理杨爱东叹了口气，“不过这次禽流感给公司的打击很大。”据了解，花凤禽业专门做超市供应，并且主要供应南京、无锡、上海等地。 "Melamine egg to the impact is not great," the poultry industry phoenix spend Dongtai Co., Ltd. Ai-Dong Yang, general manager sighed, "but the bird flu to crack down on big companies." It is understood that the poultry industry phoenix to spend so special Supermarket suppliers, and a major supplier of Nanjing, Wuxi, Shanghai and other places.
就在昨天，全国超市里的花凤鸡蛋全部惨遭下架。 Just yesterday, the national flower Fung supermarket eggs were all under the plane. 杨爱东透露，光是昨日的损失就超过了50万。 Ai-Dong Yang revealed that just yesterday the loss of more than 500,000. 现在一些马上要超过保值期的鸡蛋只有拿去喂猪了。 Now some more than once to preserve and increase the period of the eggs only take the pigs.
杨爱东说，现在公司束手无策，只有等待禽流感警报的解除。 Ai-Dong Yang said the company is now helpless, only waiting for the lifting of the bird flu alert. 平常这个时候都是销售鸡蛋的旺季，公司正在大量囤积鸡蛋准备迎接旺季。 Are common this time of the sale of eggs in the season, is hoarding a large number of eggs prepared for the peak season. 现在只有眼睁睁地看着鸡蛋坏掉。 Only now watched broken eggs. 如果在1个月之内不能解除禽流感的疫情，公司很有可能在这次禽流感中倒下。 If in one month can not lift the bird flu epidemic, the company is likely in the fall of bird flu.
实际上受这次禽流感冲击的还不止花凤禽业一家，在当地有一定规模的东台市登奥禽业养殖场，也未能幸免。 In fact affected by the impact of bird flu has also spent more than a poultry industry phoenix, in a certain local-scale poultry farms Dengao Dongtai, have not been spared. 其供应到外地超市的鸡蛋也在昨日统统遭遇下架。 Its supply to the field of supermarket eggs are all hit shelves yesterday.
大棚种植也受波及 Greenhouse cultivation is also affected
东台当地除了禽蛋养殖之外，比较大的产业就是大棚种植。 In addition to the east of Taiwan local culture eggs, the industry is more greenhouse cultivation. 按理说禽流感和大棚种植搭不上关系，但当地大部分大棚养殖的肥料都是来源于鸡粪。 Reason bird flu and greenhouse cultivation does not take on, but shed most of the local culture are derived from chicken manure fertilizer.
自从禽流感爆发之后，东台市政府对许河、唐洋、富东三镇都进行了严格的控制，就是鸡粪现在也不能运出。 Since the outbreak of bird flu, the Government of Dongtai River Xu and Tang Yang, Fu Tung three towns have been strictly controlled, that is not chicken out now. 这样一来当地的大棚种植所用的肥料，需要从较远的乡镇收购，无形中增加了种植农户们的生产成本。 As a result of local greenhouse cultivation used in fertilizer, far from the township to buy virtually an increase of farmers planting their production costs.
禽流感爆发之后，现在无论是公司还是农户都把大批大批卖不掉的蛋囤积起来。 After the outbreak of bird flu now is whether the company or have a large number of farmers can not sell a large number of eggs hoarding up. 据杨爱东透露，从前只要10块钱一个的鸡蛋框，现在都涨到了15块一个，光是这几天用于购置鸡蛋框的费用都超过了40000元。 According to Ai-Dong Yang said in the past as long as 10 eggs a money box, and now has risen to a 15, just over the past few days for the purchase of an egg box costs are more than 40,000 yuan.
BHUBANESWAR: With West Bengal in a tizzy over the reappearance of the avian influenza eight months after it went in for a massive culling exercise, Orissa has once again been forced to mount guard against entry of this deadly virus through the borders. The Government Friday said it has stocked up 20,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for its personnel if culling becomes inevitable.While the Department of Animal Resources Development has already imposed the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC at all entry points of the eight bordering districts, a watch is being maintained on poultry farms as well as backyard producers of the birds. On Thursday, the police and veterinary squads detected 1,200 chicks imported from West Bengal and culled them. Similarly, another 2,000 chicks were seized at Laxmananath a day before being culled. At least 102 entry points have so far been identified by the ARD Department across these districts where its field staff have been pressed into service. ‘‘We have deployed 116 rapid reaction teams which currently are carrying out vaccination as well as surveillance in the eight districts. If a need arises for culling, the teams would be placed in action,’’ a senior official said. Currently, the Department is busy vaccinating the birds across the farms and backyard producing units. As yet, 9,69,200 units of R2B vaccine, used against Ranikhet disease, have been stocked up. Serum samples for virus testing are being collected by the Animal Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) simultaneously to ascertain the current status. So already sent at least 947 bird serum samples to Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Kolkata and another 50 to the Highrisk Security Animal Diseases Laboratory, Bhopal to confirm if the birds here are carrying the virus. Similarly, intense IEC activities have begun with distribution of literature concerning the disease and how to guard against it in the bordering districts besides issuing guidelines to the Chief District Veterinary Officers (CDVOs) on bio-security measures to be adopted by farm owners as well as sellers. The Government too has directed the Forest Department to keep vigilance over the major water bodies that attract migratory birds and collect blood samples for testing from time to time.
Guwahati, December 19 (Agencies): The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Friday claimed that filthy and unhygienic condition in factory farms in Assam was the cause for outbreak of birdflu in the state. “Filthy and unhygienic condition of factory farms lead to repeated birdflu since last year in various parts of the country and the same was cause for the spread of virus in the state”, PETA media coordinator Nikunj Sharma told a press conference here. Releasing a study conducted by the leading NGO in the last five years, Sharma claimed that filthy chicken and egg factory farms gave rise to birdflu. “PETA had warned the Assam government about the deadly link as early as June last year but this was ignored which has given rise to the virus’, he alleged. Presenting a video footage of the unhygienic condition in the farms across the country, the PETA activist said due to the intensive confinement of the birds the deadly virus can spread like wildfire. Outbreak of birdflu every year waste public money as crores are spent as compensation.
The PETA suggests that the chicken industry improve the conditions in which birds are grown and killed, Sharma said. While there is certain welfare standards recommended by experts, the government ignored such measures which gave rise to the flu in a large scale, he alleged. Citing a copy of a letter written by the PETA to Assam government’s Director in the department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, Sharma said the government was informed about the prevailing unhygienic conditions in the farms. In a subsequent letter by the government to the PETA, the government, Sharma said, had informed that the poultry farm managers were instructed to enact animal protection laws as per the guidelines of prevention of cruelty of animals. When conctacted, Shyam Mewara, Commissioner of the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry department denied any knowledge of the prior warning by the PETA about the cause of birdflu. He said that culling operations were still on in the seven affected districts of the state which are expected to be over by the next few days.
Dimapur, December 19 (MExN): A Nagaland government official attached to the District Veterinary office of Dimapur has dispelled rumours of suspected Avian Flu infections. “There has been a rumour of suspected Avian Flu infection circulating in Dimapur as published in some local dailies which has caused panic among the people, and therefore, in order to dispel this rumour it is informed to all concern that so far no samples from our states has yet tested positive”, clarified an official note issued by Dr. H. Shohe, District Veterinary & Animal Husbandry Officer.
Further more, it was informed that today the District Veterinary department officials along with the Secretary Vety. & A.H.Government of Nagaland, M.Yanthan IAS visited places like kachari Gaon, Delai Gate, New Golaghat Road, Old Golaghat Road areas and interacted with the people around these places and also collected blood samples from these areas. “The death reports of the chickens in these areas have been ascertained and on investigation it is suspected to be some other poultry disease which is highly common at this time of the year”, the press note stated. However, blood samples were collected to be sent to the High Security Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Bhopal for actual confirmation of the disease, it noted.
Nevertheless, the government requested people to remain vigilant and inform of any unusual death of Chickens, Ducks, Pigeons and wild birds to the nearest Veterinary Hospital, Vety. Dispensary, Administrative Officials, Police, and Village Authorities etc and comply with the orders issued by the District Administration and concerned authorities from time to time. It further requested the media to confirm the reports from the concerned Departmental authorities whenever such reports are being communicated from the public before publishing so that inconveniences are avoided.
Meanwhile northeast based news agency Newmai News Network informed that the State Government has banned not only the import of any poultry products from Assam but also constituted a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in all the districts as the precautionary measures to prevent in case of spread of the Avian Influenza. Sources of Veterinary and Animal Husbandary (V&AH) from various districts bordering Assam told NNN that they are taking up refreshers course and creating more awareness about the reported bird flu though there has not been any official report of the outbreak in the state.
District Administration and District V&AH of Dimapur and Wokha, the two bordering districts have put their RRT on high alert and also requested the citizens to inform the Department about any abnormal death of any poultry products, including birds in their respective areas.
Indonesia drew international concern when it stopped virus-sharing last year, saying it wanted guarantees from rich nations and drugmakers that poor nations would get access to affordable vaccines derived from their samples. Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told Reuters late on Friday that the action had helped drive home an understanding of the issues.
"Stopping the virus is to say that I have a strong will to make a new world health mechanism," said the minister, who is known to be outspoken on the bird flu issue.
"This system is not fair. If the injustice is in the economic system, the impact is poverty, but if the injustice is found in the world health management, then the victim is human lives," she added in an interview at her central Jakarta offices. The minister's comments came amid a seasonal flare up in cases of bird flu globally, including in populous India.
International health experts say it is vital to have access to samples of the constantly mutating H5N1 virus, which they fear could change into a form easily transmissible among humans and sweep the world in months, killing millions of people.
Talks on virus sharing hosted by the WHO last year failed to reach an agreement after Indonesia had insisted on a "material transfer agreement" for each virus sample sent to foreign labs.
But Supari said a meeting of more than 100 countries last week in Geneva had made some breakthroughs including that benefit sharing would be integrated into material transfer agreements.
The minister said she hoped Indonesia could return to virus sharing "as soon as possible" but details still had to be pinned down, including on what benefits richer countries might provide.
Indonesia's negotiator in Geneva Widjaja Lukito said in a statement that benefits could include access to vaccines, vaccine stockpiles, transfer of technology and tiered pricing.
Supari also said that an agreement had been reached on a tracking system to monitor use of the virus samples.
"We have the rights to follow, track where our virus goes. In the old system, if you send your virus you don't know where the virus goes," she said.
Indonesia has suffered 113 known deaths from bird flu infections since 2003, the highest of any country, according to World Health Organisation data. (Editing by David Fox)
Vaccine Resistant H5N1 In Jiangsu China is Clade 7
Recombinomics Commentary 18:54
December 19, 2008
China has developed effective vaccines to fight the virus.
"The vaccine has been sent to poultry farmers for free. The vaccination work will be finished by Saturday," he said.
The above comments indicate the vaccine-resistant H5N1in Jiangsu province (see updated map) is clade 7 and closely related to A/chicken/Shangxi/02/2006 which was from an outbreak that began in 2005 but was not controlled until 2006 even though OIE reports described three different vaccines used to try to bring outbreaks under control.
The sequence for that outbreak has been released and it had a large number of non-synonymous changes, including multiple changes in or near the receptor binding domain. Moreover, clade 7 had been isolated from the first confirmed case in China, A/Beijing/1/2003, and appears to be circulating in Vietnam also.
Although the recent OIE report indicated the H5N1 was isolated from asymptomatic poultry, the outbreaks in 2005/2006 were lethal (in the 2006 outbreak 20% of the birds had died prior to culling – most of the birds had died in 2005).
Release of sequence data from the Jiangsu outbreak would be useful.
Friday, December 19, 2008
H5N1 Spread To Third Malda Block In West Bengal
Recombinomics Commentary 21:39
December 19, 2008
they have lost all the chickens
The above comments strongly suggest H5N1 has spread to a third block in Malda, Gajole (see zoomed map). The large number of birds and the proximity of Gajole to Englishbazar strongly suggest the H5N1 spread is outpacing the cullers and threatens to lead to H5N1 infections in new regions.
Gajole shares a border with South Dinajpur, while Englshbazar shares a border with Bangladesh, and Ratua-I shares a border with Bihar. The rapid spread to the three Malda blocks threatens the adjacent regions, as well as more distant regions. In Englishbazar hundreds of crows died, signaling H5N1 spread to wild birds.
Similarly, H5N1 was confirmed in dead crows in Guwahati, Assam, threatening spread to Meghalaya, while many species of wild birds have died in Nagaland, raising concern of more spread, especially when the temperature drops and more birds migrate south (see updated map).
Therefore, additional spread is expected.
H1N1 Tamiflu Resistance at 100% in Canada
Recombinomics Commentary 01:07
December 20, 2008
The above comments from the week 50 influenza report from Canada indicate H1N1 oseltamivir resistance in Canada is currently at 100%. Although only three isolates have been tested, it is a marked improvement over the one tested at the beginning of the season. The isolates are from the opposite ends of Canada, and match the results in the United States, where 49/50 H1N1 isolates have H274Y.
The United States has issued an advisory to physicians, describing the high levels of resistance in seasonal flu, since the vast majority of flu in the US currently is influenza A and the vast majority of influenza A is H1N1.
The resistance levels in H1N1 in Europe are also near 100% in England, at at 100% in Scotland, Norway, and Austria, although the number of samples tested remain low. However, in Europe most of the influenza A is H3N2, which is sensitive, so an advisory in Europe has not been issued to physicians, although England did put out a report on the high frequency in H1N1.
The levels of resistance in North America and Europe suggest that the resistance levels in H1N1 are not likely to change this season.
JOHANNESBURG, 19 December 2008 (IRIN) - The alarm was first raised about a fresh cholera outbreak in Chegutu, about 100km southwest of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, on 10 December. Help did not arrive until three days later.
"When we got to the site it was horrific – 50 people had died within two days, there were only two nurses, and there were dead bodies everywhere," said an exasperated Georges Tadonki, head of the UN Office for the Coordination Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Zimbabwe.
Custodia Mandhlate, representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and chair of the Zimbabwe Health Cluster responding to the cholera epidemic, said her team was struggling with failing communciation networks, and the incapacity of government agencies to stem an outbreak that was "out of control" and has claimed more than 1,000 lives.
The country's health system has collapsed, the government is broke, and the inflation rate is unofficially in the trillions of percent. It is a "very complex problem", said Tadonki.
Nurses and doctors have been on strike for months, so "there are hardly any medical personnel at work – they refuse to come to work for a salary which cannot even buy them a loaf of bread."
The scale of the crisis was also overwhelming, said Mandhlate. "Cholera cases have been reported in 9 out of 10 provinces," which also made it difficult to anticipate the next outbreak.
Cholera epidemics have been occurring annually in Zimbabwe for the past decade.
"Since 2003, at least two outbreaks have been recorded every year," said Mandhlate. The recent outbreaks have been attributed to the failing water and sanitation systems, left unmaintained as a result of the country's economic meltdown.
Urban residents, who are forced to rely on the dilapidated water systems, are more at risk of large outbreaks; on the other hand, rural Zimbabweans living in isolated districts may be more at risk of dying from cholera because of their distance from medical help, according to the WHO.
Besides a lack of capacity, the emergency response is being hampered by insufficient emergency stocks of drugs, materials and supplies, a lack of vehicles and fuel, and lack of food for staff and patients, the health cluster said.
What has to be done
"There is of course the humanitarian response to the current emergency, but it has to be a mixture of responses which would provide for the transition to whatever recovery is needed," said Mandhlate.
On 18 December the Zimbabwe Health Cluster released a US$19 million Cholera Outbreaks Co-ordinated Preparedness and Operation Plan to help it respond to the crisis.
The plan includes giving medical personnel incentives to resume work, such as "topping-up" their salaries; a functional early-warning system, and helping to capacitate district and provincial laboratories. "We are also looking at providing food to medical personnel to get them into work," said Tadonki.
Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, UN agencies, and international NGOs such as World Vision, the International Organisation for Migration, Doctors Without Borders from Spain, Holland and Luxembourg, and other local NGOs form the cluster.
According to the plan, the country hopes to build up national and provincial stocks of water, sanitation and hygiene supplies and medicines to allow a quicker response, as well as an emergency reserve fund to facilitate the deployment of personnel.
Tsitsi Singizi, a spokeswoman for the UN children's fund, UNICEF, said the agency was providing safe, clean drinking water to affected communities.
"We have been providing 360,000 litres of safe water every day, now we have managed to procure enough water-treatment chemicals to take care of the entire country's need and have started distributing it," she said.
The first of seven planned Red Cross emergency response units (ERUs) have arrived in Zimbabwe. The ERU is a team trained and equipped to handle emergency humanitarian scenarios, and can be mobilised and dispatched with optimum speed and is fully self-sufficient.
Typically, ERUs are only deployed in the most critical humanitarian situations, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005.
The first team to arrive on a charter flight into Harare, sent by the German and Austrian Red Cross, specialises in providing improved access to clean water, and is tasked with improving sanitation and hygiene. The remaining six ERUs are expected to arrive in the next few days to provide basic health care, mass sanitation, and water and sanitation.
But getting it altogether
Yet the biggest challenge is that "it is extremely difficult to plan ahead," said Tadonki. "The level of [donor] confidence in the country is very low, so it is extremely difficult to negotiate with donors to try to convince them."
The uncertain political situation was also aggravating the situation. "There is an urgent need to resolve the political crisis - it is making it very difficult for us," he added.
Zimbabwe has been "hit by so many crises" in 2008 that the humanitarian agencies have not had much time to breathe. "We had political violence at the beginning of the year, then the numbers of people who were displaced as a result, and it just continued," Tadonki commented.
Bringing humanitarian staff into Zimbabwe to build capacity has also been problematic, and a team of French specialists was recently denied access. "The government has a say on who comes in and who doesn't," Tadonki said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists on 17 December that the Zimbabwean government had indicated "the timing is not right" for him to dispatch a special envoy to assess conditions in the country, including the cholera epidemic.