Saturday, March 27, 2010

Romania: Suspicion of avian influenza in Plauru, Tulcea County

Saturday, March 27, 2010 18:33

A new suspected bird flu was identified in the area of common Plauru Tulcea Ceatalchioi, veterinary doctors already finalizing its disinfection.
This is the second outbreak of bird flu occurred in Tulcea County this month, after two weeks ago another outbreak was identified in the Danube Delta village Letea.

If the outbreak of Letea, veterinary doctors have killed 47 poultry, the outbreak will likely be closed on April 17, after the samples to be collected from sentinel chickens to be brought in a week will go negative.

Niciuna dintre persoanele din Letea monitorizate de medicii Autorităţii de Sănătate Publică (ASP) nu a prezentat până în momentul de faţă vreun semn de afectare virală, conform procedurilor în situaţii de urgenţă, la Spitalul Judeţean de Urgenţă din municipiu fiind pregătită o secţie cu circuit special pentru persoanele din focar care ar putea avea probleme.

None of the people monitored by doctors Letea Public Health Authority (PSA) did not show up at the moment no sign of virus damage, according to emergency procedures, the County Hospital Emergency Department in the city is ready with a particular circuit for people in the outbreak that may have problems.

În plus, ASP deţine în stocuri 1.000 de cutii de Oseltamivir şi 500 de flacoane de Relenza pentru persoanele care ar putea fi afectate. In addition, PSA has in stock 1,000 boxes of 500 vials of Oseltamivir and Relenza for people who might be affected.

A new possible outbreak of avian influenza was found in Tulcea

March 27, 2010, 17:32
Members of the Central Operational Unit ANSVSA identified a possible outbreak of avian influenza in Tulcea floating village. So the two hens who had symptoms and the remaining birds were killed in that household.

Under the authority, chickens suspected of bird flu were raised on a farm "isolated" floating village.

"They were immediately taken preventive measures, namely the killing and destruction that household birds and disinfection have been necessary. No sick birds were found after checks the remaining households in the village or dead wild birds in the area. Currently there is no danger of spreading disease, "said representatives ANSVSA.

They claim that the floating city is "a small village, isolated, with 31 households, located on Old Chilia arm of the Danube, near the border with Ukraine.

Romania: Another suspected B2B H5N1 outbreak

A suspected bird flu outbreak has been reported in a remote Romanian village, the Sanitary and Veterinary Authority said on Saturday.
Samples of two dead hens were sent for confirmation of the potentially deadly H5N1 virus to the Animal Health Institute in Bucharest and on to the Weybridge laboratory in Britain, the Authority said.
The poultry in the small private farm at a village on the Danube Delta were slaughtered and the area disinfected.
"There is currently no risk of the disease spreading," the Authority said.
Two weeks ago, a bird flu outbreak was reported in the nearby village of Letea close to the Ukrainian border, the first case in Europe for a year.

hat-tip: crofsblogs

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bit of duck DNA might protect poultry from flu, scientists say

March 26, 2010 By Amina Khan chicken


A cock and a hen roosting together. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Influenza has for years ravaged domesticated chickens. Now scientists suggest that a small piece of duck DNA might protect the farm birds against the virus -- saving commercial flocks and lessening the possibility that humans could be exposed to dangerous strains of the disease.

In a study published online March 22 in , researchers said they've found that a key influenza-fighting gene in wild ducks is absent in . Genetically modifying chickens with a copy of that gene might render them resistant to influenza A, the most common form of flu infecting humans.

"If we could shut down influenza (in chickens), it would be of great commercial interest," said lead author Katharine E. Magor, a comparative immunologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

All forms of influenza originate in ducks and other , which generally carry the virus with no ill effects, releasing it into the environment when they defecate.

Magor had been trying to understand why ducks had such an effective automatic response to influenza when she heard at a conference that chickens lacked a gene called RIG-I. This gene carries the code for a protein that immediately detects the RNA of the after the virus invades the duck's lung and tracheal cells. It then sets off a chain reaction inside those cells to help fight off the disease.

Intrigued, she and her colleagues from the University of Alberta and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., searched for the RIG-I gene in chickens and failed to find it. Then they inserted the duck gene for RIG-I into embryonic chicken cells to see whether it made the cells immune to infection by viruses.

The scientists infected the chicken cells with two strains: one run-of-the-mill H5N2 virus that lived in but did not harm wild ducks, and a deadly strain isolated from a human fatality in Vietnam that was known on occasion to kill ducks as well.

"This strain ... kills everything -- chickens in 18 hours, mice, humans -- but the virus didn't kill my ducks," Magor said. The virus didn't kill the chicken cells containing the duck gene, either -- but it did kill normal chicken cells that lacked it.

"This study underscores the importance of this particular gene in fighting viral infections," said Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, a virologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the research.

Garcia-Sastre called the potential for creating a transgenic chicken immune to bird flu "a very attractive hypothesis."

Vietnam: Influenza surveillance in 15 points - A/H1N1, A/H5N1

Friday, March 26, 2010, 9:12 (GMT +7)

GiadinhNet - Day 25 / 3, the Health Ministry said that the first condition to increase the outbreak of influenza A/H1N1, A/H5N1 flu, the Health Ministry has directed the local monitor, detect, isolate the cases of flu in 15 points in the community.

And check the local implementation of instructions to monitor and flu A/H1N1, A/H5N1 influenza.

In addition, the Ministry of Health also requires the Department of Health, Preventive Medical Center of the provinces and cities to strengthen surveillance, early detection of suspected cases of influenza A/H5N1 infection; enhance direct prevention progress against acute diarrhea and dengue fever service in 2010.

The Health Ministry also said it will continue to follow the situation variable infectious diseases throughout the country, direct and timely implementation of local prevention activities progress ...

Vietnam: Children hospitalized increased mutation

Updated at: 8:36 AM, March 26, 2010

A week back, hot continuous prolonged in HCM City makes some patients admitted soared, mainly respiratory diseases, diarrhea, meningitis, measles, hand foot mouth ... Remarkably, by late admission, many patients have severe complications.

After birth was 15 days, hot weather caused pregnant women DTMD (Ngu Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City) and infected measles spread to daughter GDBT 28 days old. Patients hospitalized in a state of fever, cough, respiratory distress was nearly fatal. Dr. Nguyen Thi Thuy, deputy scientific infections, BV 2 Children, said that the current health patients have temporary stability. According to Dr. Thuy, weather is the hot season many parents and children need to be fully immunized, if measles outbreak spread very easily in the community.

80-90% due to respiration, diarrhea

Dr Trinh Huu Tung, General Manager of Planning, BV 2 Children, said, little hot today makes a number of diseases began to rise.
There, every day, receiving BV 3000-3800 weekly patient visit. This is not the number as high as 6000 patients with a peak day as the first peak in the disease, but has risen high over the New Year (only 700-800 cases a day). Patients hospitalized primarily by respiration, diarrhea, up from 80-90%. Hot sun also causes children treated each day by boarding infected diarrhea to 120 ca, while measles also jumped 20-30 ca (weekdays, BV receiving only a few isolated ca).

This situation also occurred in similar BV Children 1. According to Dr. Le Bich Lien, deputy director of BV, BV examined each day for 4000 patients weekly, private meningitis caused by hot weather that day also. Some patients have expressed general illness such as fever, cough physicians should be examined carefully to determine the flu, dengue fever, hand foot mouth or meningitis ...

Doctor Tran Anh Tuan, Dean Respiratory, BV Children 1st, said that the individual respiratory disease, is located on 220 patients are treated compared with 80 beds, this rate makes up only 4-5% total number of patients and respiratory diseases to the examination. Number of patients admitted primarily under 2 years old and too serious diseases such as infection, pneumonia, acute bronchitis primary, asthma.


Vietnam: Hot in Ho Chi Minh: Tre continuous pour disease

GiadinhNet - No bed should be a temporary corridor located, 2-3 beds and grandchildren is a common winter nghit the crowd waiting for medical examination ... That scene where PV Director & XH newspaper noted in some hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City on the heat.

Weary diarrhea

In HCMC, the phenomenon of child headache, runny nose, sore throat, fever suspected dengue fever, hand foot mouth has increased dramatically over from last week. Many children with serious illness, requiring hospitalization for treatment. Dr. Nguyen Thi Hong Loan, BV 2 Children, said: "May today, day 20-30 also hospitalized for diarrhea grandchildren. That all severe diarrhea, several grandchildren exhausted by dehydration.

Also BS. Vu Quang Vinh, Deputy General Plan Children 2 BV, said, normally only the last month inpatient treatment grandchildren 80-100 diarrhea / day today but this is up to 150 children. According to Dr. Vinh, died hygiene in dining, activities for children that cause diarrhea.

BV Children's almost a closed space, more beds, "substance" to 4 patients. Besides diarrhea, a lot of children infected documents bronchitis, pneumonia, a room of nearly 200 descendants are treated. Faculty Dermatologic has 130 children hospitalized because enough evidence dysentery, diarrhea, dyspepsia. Own scientific infections - Nervous in the last few days continued to receive many cases of complications due to hand foot mouth disease and meningitis.

Dr. Le Bich Lien, deputy director of Children 1 BV, said that weather changes, temperature from hot to cool the cause. According to Lien, respiratory diseases like sore throat, pneumonia, infections such as meningitis, hand foot mouth up most clearly.

Still have to hand foot mouth disease precautions

In forecasting disease in children in 3/2010 this, Dr. Le Bich Lien, recommended all groups of young patients will increase slightly. In particular, the most noteworthy is a disease foot hand mouth and dengue fever. Hand foot mouth disease are the lowest level in years and will increase the cycle again. Hemorrhagic fever are to be end-stage season to examine the number of patients have decreased but still more severe dengue cases hospitalized, treatment difficult.

According to the pediatrician, not just a new cold weather increased respiratory disease that hot sunny day and increased disease. According to Dr. Tran Anh Tuan, Scientific Respiratory, BV 2 Children, hot sunny so parents usually for sleep-conditioner, ice cold drinks so much risk of respiratory high ...

Dr. Tran Van Ngoc, head of pediatrics A, BV for Tropical Diseases, the disease rubella has led to many children infected. "The day Tropical BV 10-20 children receiving rubella infected and many children to visit, even in the private clinic," Dr. Ngoc said.

Children easy inflammatory respiratory transfer heat to the cold weather

According to Doi Phu Nhuan, Dean clinics, Children's Investment BV, weather, traffic from hot to cold season as in Hanoi today, children are often susceptible to diseases like diarrhea, flu, fever and most patients acute respiratory (VDHH). Upper respiratory infections, including cases of rhinitis - pharyngitis, VA, tonsillitis, otitis media, cough and cold. VDHH on common and mild evolutions. VDHH the less common but often include severe cases of laryngitis, trachea, bronchus, primary bronchus and lung.

Therefore, people must pay attention to more children. Full catering for children, playing in cool place. Hygiene personal health, the environment. Prevent children playing near the cages in place, the school and dirty water, where garbage. Depending on weather clothing that fit children. When to wear a mask outside, glass to preserve the health of children.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

EU wants co-ordination and investigation of animal and avian health

March 25, 2010
EU wants co-ordination and investigation of animal and avian health. Currently there are few people who do not know that the new human flu virus H1N1, which has scared me so much, it was reported before in birds and pigs and that the bird flu virus at poultry, causing economic disaster where it occurs, in addition to being a latent threat to humans.

The reality is that viruses do not distinguish between human and animal hosts. All that take into account are receptors outside the cell from which it may be contested and thus multiply within them to survive. Receptors and birds, mammals and humans are quite similar to the flu virus to jump from each other, giving place to potentially dangerous mutations, noted the newspaper El Pais.

Thus viruses do not distinguish between their human or animal hosts. Pig is seen as a 'cocktail viral' and became a clear objective of the study. For all this, and because diseases do not already have border, the EU believes that it is time to face the flu in a uniform manner, coordinating the investigation in both animal and in human health, in collaboration with countries including neuropene.

'We can not sit with crossed hands, "says Etienne Bonbon, health specialist of the European Commission. "It is a complex issue, but must do ', he added. At stake is not only able to prevent a possible outbreak among humans in time of peace (when available) but also the development of new drugs to treat it when it occurs. Long-term strategy is the answer to this inquiry to be faster than before.

'It should be noted that Europe is the largest provider of vaccines in the world with 70% of the total, "said Etienne Bonbon. "We need a new approach to the flu, provide Ilaria Capua, director of the Institute of Experimental Zooprofilactic in Venice, where experts gathered recently to present European initiatives.

"All viruses originate in wild birds and moving to intermediate hosts.
Pig plays a key role in enabling cells that are multiplying viruses of birds and wild mammals', stresses Capua. When two viruses infect the same cell distinct, individual genes (grouped into 8 segments) recombine into a new virus, which has characteristics of both 'parents' is, as sexual reproduction. "The combination of genetic offspring is impossible to predict," explains the Italian expert.

Therefore be watched closely what happens in 'viral cocktail' which is a pig, but not be weakened attention to the new avian influenza virus, highly pathogenic, which can delete the entire poultry farms on the map in a country where urgent action is taken. 'You must study all the genes of viruses, each virus has not been studied separately, "says Capua.

"Knowledge is a tool and what we want is to include new scientific knowledge and continuous progress, especially in times of peace ', says Isabel Mínguez and specialist European Commission.

An example of this policy is the new platform Emperor, a network of laboratories of excellence around the world, for cataloging human or animal viruses that can cater for new emerging diseases outbreaks. The Spanish part Luis Enjuanes laboratory virologists from the National Center for Biotechnology (CSIC).

Swine Flu Pandemic Reincarnates 1918 Virus

on March 24, 2010 2:05 PM
Crystal ball. The 2009 pandemic virus has the same amino acids at the tip of its HA as the 1918 strain shown here bound to an antibody (red and yellow ribbons) taken from a survivor of the 1918 pandemic.

Credit: R. Xu et al., Science (Advanced Online Edition)

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Crystal ball. The 2009 pandemic virus has the same amino acids at the tip of its HA as the 1918 strain shown here bound to an antibody (red and yellow ribbons) taken from a survivor of the 1918 pandemic.
Credit: R. Xu et al., Science (Advanced Online Edition)

Researchers have found that the H1N1 swine influenza virus that last year caused the first human pandemic in 4 decades shares an important surface protein with the virus responsible for the 1918 flu, the deadliest in human history. This newfound similarity answers many mysteries about the 2009 pandemic, including why it largely spared the elderly.

A study published 24 March in Science Translational Medicine shows that even though nearly a century separates the widespread circulation of the two viruses in humans, mice given a vaccine against the 1918 strain produced antibodies that "neutralized" the novel 2009 strain. When the team flipped the experiment and used a 2009 pandemic vaccine in mice, the immune response stopped the 1918 virus. "We kind of did a double take," says virologist Gary Nabel, head of the VaccineResearchCenter at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland, and the lead researcher on the project. "It was an unexpected finding, but it all makes sense when you look at the data collectively."

Influenza and the human body are like opposing Cold War spies, with the virus repeatedly donning new disguises, and the human immune system racing to foil each incarnation. The surface protein, hemagglutinin (HA), is the virus's main quick-change artist, easily adapting mutations to alter the way it looks to the immune system. Antibodies produced by the immune system, in turn, try to neutralize the various HAs by binding to them, blocking the virus from entering cells. As a rule, influenza viruses change so quickly that a vaccine against a regular "seasonal" strain circulating one year may have little impact against a similar strain a few years later. Yet the HA proteins on the 1918 and 2009 pandemic viruses look remarkably similar in close analyses done in both Nabel's study and a separate one published online this week by Science that includes x-ray crystallographic data. These two reports also clarify the evolution of seasonal strains in the decades between the two pandemics.

The two studies focus on the top part, or the head, of the HA, which is the business end of the protein when it comes to the infection process. Each research group calculated that the amino acids in the head of the two pandemic HAs were only about 80% similar, which is roughly the divergence seen between two seasonal strains. This would suggest that antibodies against the 1918 and 2009 pandemic strains would not cross neutralize. How then to explain the mouse results?

Nabel and colleagues took a closer look at the HA protein. A discrete region of the HA's tip that plays a critical role in binding to cells, they found, has a 95% similarity in amino acid sequence between the old and new pandemic strains. Comparisons between seasonal and the pandemic strains in this region found less than 70% similarity.

In the second study, a team led by structural biologist Ian Wilson of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, went further, linking the amino acid sequence analysis to the three-dimensional structure. Wilson's group crystallized the 1918 and 2009 pandemic viruses and showed that the HA heads had distinctly similar shapes. "The closest related structure that we have to the current 2009 swine flu is the 1918 structure," says Wilson.

Both the Wilson and the Nabel studies show that the HAs of the two pandemic strains also look markedly different from seasonal viruses when it comes to sugars on their surfaces. All seasonal strains have at least two "glycosylation" sites where sugars attach to the top of their HAs, whereas both the pandemic strains are bald. "The absence of glycosylation at the top of these molecules is making a huge difference in the immune response," says U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention virologist Ruben Donis, who was not involved with the study. Specifically, the antibody that works against the bald 1918 virus stops the bald 2009 incarnation but does nothing to the sugared-up relatives that circulated in between those two pandemics.

The new studies are helping to clarify how influenza viruses have used sugars in their evolution since 1918, says U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases virologist Jeffrey Taubenberger, a leading investigator of that devastating pandemic. "All the influenza viruses in humans are descendants of the 1918 virus," says Taubenberger, who published mouse experiments 8 March online in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses that similarly show how the 1918 virus protects against the 2009 pandemic strain. "Over the last 91 years, we've been in one large 1918 pandemic era."

Mutations in the HA can affect the structure of the protein and the clouds of sugars that surround it. By analyzing the difference in the earliest available seasonal HAs from 1933 to 2009, Nabel's group found that some amino acid mutations restructured the HA head, but after that the bald virus started accumulating new glycosylation sites. Nabel posits that the bald 1918 virus could tolerate only a limited number of amino acid changes that altered its structure. "At a certain point, there's a fitness cost for adopting a new mutation, so the virus says, 'What else can I do?' " says Nabel.

In a perspective he co-authored in Science Translational Medicine about the Nabel study Rino Rappuoli, head of vaccine research at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics in Siena, Italy, says elderly people were spared in the recent swine flu pandemic because they were exposed to the 1918 virus or its sugar-free descendants that subsequently circulated for a few decades and developed a lifelong antibody response to the bald viruses. "Evolution does not necessarily bring new things," says Rappuoli. "It sometimes brings things back."

For full coverage, see the 26 March issue of Science.

Avian influenza still a threat, says WHO

MANILA, 24 March 2010 — The World Health Organization (WHO) warned today that newly confirmed human and poultry cases of avian influenza this year are a reminder that the virus poses a real and continuous threat to human health.

So far this year, 21 human cases of H5N1, including seven deaths, have been reported. Sixteen of those were in Egypt (including five deaths), four in Viet Nam (including one death), and one in Indonesia (who died). So far in 2010 Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Israel, Myanmar, Nepal, and Viet Nam have all reported outbreaks of the disease in poultry or wild bird flocks, highlighting the fact that people often are falling sick and dying in the same areas that the virus is persistently present in the environment. H5N1 is considered endemic in Egypt and parts of South East Asia.

The presence of H5N1 in poultry poses a health risk in two ways. First, it places those in direct contact with birds – usually rural folk and farm workers – at risk of catching the often-fatal disease. Second, the virus could undergo a process of “reassortment” with another influenza virus and produce a completely new strain.

Gene reassortment can occur when a host – an animal – is infected with two or more viruses at the same time, and when the viruses combine to form an entirely new virus. Gene reassortment is also called antigenic shift.

"There is a constant risk that the H5N1 virus will combine with another strain of influenza,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, Regional Adviser for Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response. “The influenza virus is unpredictable; in areas where H5N1 is endemic, WHO and its partners are working to build surveillance systems to identify changes in the behavior of the virus, raising awareness about the risks and protective measures, and building skills and capacity to respond to outbreaks quickly."

People are at risk of contracting H5N1 when handling, transporting, slaughtering, or processing infected poultry, or by coming into contact with infected poultry faeces. People are also at risk if they eat raw or undercooked infected poultry or poultry products, including infected eggs.

People can protect themselves from being infected with H5N1 by avoiding contact with the source of infection (e.g., keeping poultry out of the house, burying dead birds) and maintaining good personal and food hygiene practices (washing hands, not buying or eating sick birds, slaughtering birds away from the kitchen and eating areas).

People should report any death or illness in their flocks to the relevant animal health authorities.

Worldwide, human cases peaked at 115 (and 79 deaths) in 2006 and have generally declined since then, with 73 human cases (and 32 deaths) reported last year. The case fatality rate for reported human cases of H5N1 is around 59%.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Egypt: The death of a child infected with bird flu Beni Suef (#107)

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 - 20:21

Died today, Wednesday, Hassan Ali Mohamed (4 years) a resident in the village fled Center launched a BPA Beni Suef, after suffering from bird flu.

أعلن الدكتور مجدى حزين، مدير إدارة الطب الوقائى بمديرية الصحة ببنى سويف، أن الطفل قد دخل مستشفى بنى سويف العام فى الثامن عشر من مارس الحالى، وهو يعانى من أعراض مرضية مثل ارتفاع درجة الحرارة، ورشح من الأنف، والتهاب رئوى حاد، وأعلن مساء الأحد الماضى عن إصابته بالمرض حيث أعطاه الأطباء عقار التاميفلو، وتم تحويله إلى مستشفى منشية البكرى بالقاهرة، ولكنه فارق الحياة اليوم بالمستشفى.

Dr. Magdy sad, Director of the Department of Preventive Medicine Department of Health Beni Suef, that the child has entered Beni Suef General Hospital on the eighteenth of March, which is suffering from symptoms such as high temperature, runny nose, pneumonia, and announced on Sunday evening the past from the illness, where doctors gave him Tamiflu, and evacuated to a hospital in the capital Cairo, but he died today in hospital.

Changes to the 2009 H1N1 Vaccine and Supply Distribution Effective April 1, 2010

March 23, 2009, 3:30 PM EDT


Since mid February 2010, CDC has been working closely with its centralized vaccine distributor to prepare for a second phase of distribution of 2009 H1N1 vaccine and supplies that will take effect on April 1, 2010. This phase of distribution will involve a reduced number of distribution depots, a smaller on hand inventory due to the expiration of doses currently at the distribution depots, and a longer shipment timeline than the current same-day-fill timeline. These changes are being implemented based on the current status of 2009 H1N1 disease rates and vaccination activities in the US. However, given the potential for additional disease to occur in the coming months, contingency plans are being put into place to ramp up distribution capacity, if necessary. The purpose of this document is to describe the key changes to distribution that grantees can expect beginning April 1, 2010.


hat-tip tetano

H1N1: Louisiana offers vaccine clinics - Sickness spreads across the South

Advocate staff writer
Published: Mar 23, 2010 - Page: 1A

Click Image to Enlarge
GRAPHIC/The Advocate

Swine flu vaccine clinics will be held at parish health units statewide this week after doctors and hospitals across the South reported a recent increase in flulike illnesses, a state health official said.

State health workers are concerned that the increase of cases in the South — including Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina — might signal another major outbreak of the disease, said Dr. Frank Welch, director of pandemic preparedness for Louisiana.

The last major outbreak occurred in October, he said.

“But H1N1 has proved that it can stick around,” Welch said.

The disease has traveled around the globe, even to the Southern Hemisphere during its winter months.

“And H1N1 has continued to spread at decent levels,” Welch said.

Most of the U.S., however, is seeing a decline in the numbers of new cases, except for the South, he said.

Louisiana is already detecting an increase in flu cases in the Shreveport and Lafayette areas, Welch said.

“The increase in cases is all around us,” he said. “We think we’re going to start experiencing in Louisiana what the rest of the South is experiencing this coming week.”

Welch said that nearly all of the flu cases reported are believed to be swine flu.

“H1N1 has really been dominant this year,” he said.

Since H1N1 has been so dominant, only samples from patients with flulike symptoms in hospitals and those who see one of the 54 state Department of Health and Hospitals sentinel doctors across the state are tested specifically for swine flu, Welch said.

No one is sure why the increase in swine flu cases is occurring.

“More than anything you can attribute the increase to the way pandemics go, especially this one,” Welch said. “It’s unpredictable.”
hat-tip Pathfinder

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Public Attention Shifting from Avian Influenza


An international team of experts has warned that while more is known today about the role of wild birds in the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus than ever before, significant information gaps remain unfilled as government and public attention is shifting elsewhere.

© Sofie Laier Henriksen

Thirsty birds

"Waning attention to H5N1 HPAI is reducing surveillance and research opportunities, negatively affecting capacity building and coordination between environmental and agricultural authorities, and impacting efforts to further refine understanding of the epidemiology and the ecology of the virus," the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds said in a statement following a review meeting held at FAO's Rome headquarters.

Established in 2005 and jointly led by FAO and the UNEP-Convention on Migratory Species, the task force is a collaborative partnership involving 15 international organizations, including several UN agencies, other intergovernmental groups, and specialist non-governmental organizations (see box at right).

"Unfortunately, H5N1 may have slipped off the radar screen for some people, but it continues to be a major problem, especially in Egypt and parts of Asia, where it is having a huge impact on food security and the livelihoods of farmers and local communities," said Juan Lubroth, FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer. H5N1 HPAI is has not been restricted to Asia alone, he added, having also occurred in Europe, Central Asia and parts of Africa.

In the past six months, there have been outbreaks of the virus in domestic poultry in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Romania, Israel, Myanmar, Nepal, Egypt, Indonesia, India, and Viet Nam and in wild birds in China, Mongolia, and the Russian Federation. Just this week, Bhutan reported outbreaks for the first time and the virus was detected after a three year absence in Romania in domestic poultry.

Poor farm biosecurity and trading of infected poultry are the main causes of disease spread. Wild birds play a much smaller role in the H5N1 HPAI ecology — but understanding their role in this disease, and managing the associated risks, poses particular challenges.

The disease has had great and varied conservation implications, including causing thousands of wild birds to die from viral exposure, inappropriate responses including culling of healthy wild birds and destruction of their habitats.

No smoking gun

Over the past five years some 750,000 healthy wild birds have been tested for the H5N1 HPAI virus worldwide, either by national authorities, NGO's, and international organizations like FAO.

Some expected that "wild reservoir" species — birds that can carry and spread the virus without getting sick — would turn up during this process.

So far that hasn't been the case. Only an extremely small number of apparently healthy infected wild birds have been found.

FAO has also led efforts to track over 500 migratory wildfowl in various regions with satellite transmitters in order to gather information on their movements and identify possible correlations with avian flu occurrences.

No smoking gun emerged from that effort.

This suggests that infection of domestic poultry from wild birds is rare and the risk to humans from wild birds is negligible. More testing is needed, however, to firm up this understanding.

"Seven-hundred and fifty thousand is a lot of birds, but when you consider the size of the global bird population, we may need to test even more birds if we are going to find the virus," explained Scott Newman, EMPRES Wildlife Unit Coordinator for FAO. "Is it that there's no wild bird reservoir, or that we have not sampled enough?"

"Certainly, wild birds have been involved in transmission in some cases, for example in Mongolia last year — and researchers in China recently reported finding the virus in apparently healthy wildfowl," said Newman.

These questions as well as other issues were discussed by the Task Force. Areas highlighted by the group as needing further improvement include:

  • Standardisation of reporting and sampling methodologies to current best science-based practices;
  • Continued and broader surveillance of wild bird populations, along with improving understanding of migration routes, habitat use, and movements;
  • Strengthening of capacity do that those conducting outbreak investigations can evaluate the source of virus introduction;
  • Education efforts to reduce indiscriminate blame of wild birds for outbreaks in poultry.

Fringe benefits for wildlife conservation

One of the side benefits of the unprecedented monitoring effort undertaken by FAO and its partners has been a wealth of new information regarding habitat use and migration patterns and routes of some species of wild birds.

"The data were generated so that we could better evaluate possible linkages between wild bird migrations and the occurrence of H5N1, but should prove a tremendous value in terms of identifying and prioritising wetlands of critical importance for conservation and management", said Newman.

Concern grows over drug-resistant H5N1 mutations

Tuesday ,Mar 23,2010, Posted at: 13:48(GMT+7)

Medical experts are growing increasingly worried that the bird flu virus (A/H5N1) is showing signs of transforming into more lethal forms, since the number of cases in Vietnam since the beginning of the year is equal to all those of 2009.

Medical workers advise people to wear protective clothing and wash their hands after coming into contact with poultry

The Department of Preventive Health and Environment, a sub-division of the Ministry of Health, has reported five H5N1 infections in the country since January 1 including two deaths. A 38-year-old woman from southern Tien Giang Province and a three-year-old from Binh Duong Province both succumbed to the illness.

Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Department of Preventive Health and Environment, said the increase in infections highlights the complexity of the disease’s development.

Health workers are also concerned over the critical condition of a 25-year-old female in Hanoi’s Soc Son District who is currently being treated for bird flu at the National Tropical Disease Hospital. Unlike other cases, the woman reportedly had not had contact with diseased or dead waterfowl or eaten poultry before falling ill.

Dr. Nguyen Quynh Mai from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said research has revealed seven new A/H5N1 virus strains in Vietnam. Tests show the strains are drug-resistant and potentially lethal.

Dr. Nga said that low public awareness could lead to more lethal strains of both bird flu and swine flu (A/H1N1). He warned health agencies to strengthen supervision of flu outbreaks in communities to quickly isolate infected patients from coming into contact with other people.

Residents should report to local governments immediately when chickens die or show signs of disease for unclear reasons, he said. In addition, people should wear protective clothing and wash their hands after coming into contact with poultry.

Anyone suffering fever, cough or breathing problems is advised to seek immediate medical treatment.

US to provide VN with $100,000 worth of flu-response gear

The US Government March 22 announced it would provide Vietnam with more than 11,000 sets of personal protective equipment and four laboratory kits to help health workers respond quickly to potential new outbreaks of avian and swine influenza.

The assistance package worth US$100,000 and implemented by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), comes at the request of Vietnam's Ministry of Health, with technical support from the World Health Organization.

The supplies are being sent to regional hygiene and epidemiology institutes and Pasteur Institutes and provinces throughout the country most at risk of bird flu or in greatest need of the supplies, which include such items as protective suits, masks, gloves, infection testing swabs.

Prince Akishino, daughter Princess Mako leave for Laos

TOKYO, March 23 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Prince Akishino, the second son of Emperor Akihito, and his daughter Princess Mako left Narita airport Tuesday for a private trip to Laos via Bangkok.

After arriving in the Laotian capital Vientiane on Tuesday night, the prince and his daughter are scheduled to attend an exhibition of farming equipment and pay a courtesy call on Laotian President Choummaly Sayasone on Wednesday.

From Thursday, the two will visit a village in the north of the country to conduct field research on domestic poultry.

The prince cancelled a trip to Thailand scheduled from March 17 prior to visiting Laos due to security concerns primarily derived from recent antigovernment protests there.

The 18-year-old princess, who graduated from the Gakushuin girls' senior high school Monday, was initially slated to join her father in Bangkok on Tuesday but the two decided to leave Japan together on the same flight instead after the change in the prince's itinerary.

Japanese prince to visit Laos for chicken research

Akishino, accompanied by his daughter Mako, is scheduled to arrive in Vientiane from Bangkok on a Thai Airways International flight on Wednesday and remain in the Lao capital until Saturday, the Vientiane Times reported citing the Lao Foreign Ministry. The ministry said in a statement that while in Laos the prince will "continue research on the relationship between humans and wild chickens," presumably in connection with the spread of diseases such as avian influenza. The royal visit follows Lao President Choummaly Sayasone's official four-day visit to Japan to mark the 55th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two Asian nations earlier this month.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vietnam: 11,000 kits provided & 4 Laboratories from USAID; Tech. Assist. from WHO

On Friday, I brought you this, and I explained that I had only one case in Khanh Hoa, but my list showed me 3 suspected cases shortly after the which the final diagnosis was never least not to where I could find it.:

Along with the recommendations of the health sector take measures to prevent what epidemic?

- First, the health sector continue to implement the monitoring closely, is monitoring the cases have been suspected as signs of high fever, cough and pneumonia. Besides monitoring, medical staff and sampling tests for flu cases suspected this.

Influenza surveillance in 15 points to perform monitoring, sampling random test virus in poultry and people. Recently, the monitoring point has discovered a ca positive in Khanh Hoa through the examination and supervision random.

For hospitals, the implementation of avian influenza treatment in new treatment guidelines and preparation of room isolation to limit treatment to prevent the spread of avian influenza in the community. Work on ensuring medicines and medical supplies, the reserves of Tamiflu is enough, more than 200,000 doses for the treatment.

In addition, the Ministry of Health is working with the World Health Organization to update the general situation and find out effective measures to prevent.

VN supports U.S. bird flu prevention

22/03/2010 14:40

(TNO) U.S. Embassy in Vietnam today (March 22) said that the government will provide more than 11,000 kits VN personal protective equipment, and four laboratories to help health workers quick response to outbreak of avian influenza or H1N1 influenza can occur.

Aid package worth more than 100,000 U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the requirements of VN Ministry of Health, with technical assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The kits will be forwarded to the health department epidemiologist, the Pasteur Institute and other local high risk of outbreak of avian influenza or most in need of equipment, including clothing protection protection, masks, gloves and gauze test infection.

Protection kits to be used at the local high risk to prevent contact between human and avian influenza virus H5N1, a virus capable of high pathogenic.

The equipment will help reduce the risk of infection from animals to humans and among humans in the process of detection and treatment of ca infection in humans, examine and respond to the first outbreak, as well as the the other activities.

Egypt: Confirmed H5N1 Case #107

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 - 20:46

The Ministry of Health on Sunday evening, the discovery of human cases of bird flu, a child, aged 4 years in Beni Suef, bringing the number of cases infected with the disease since it appeared to 107 cases.

The ministry's statement into the situation Beni Suef General Hospital on the eighteenth of March, has been suffering from high fever, cough, runny nose and pneumonia after exposure to infected birds, which gave Tamiflu to be transferred to hospital in the capital of the poor condition

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Egypt: Pres. of Gen. Authority of Veterinary Svcs: "effectiveness of vaccines imported w/common type currently may not be feasible in control"

Hamed Samaha: not sack me ..And requested that the elections go to Antdaby «Shura»
21 / 3 / 2010
Denied, Dr. Hamed Samaha, President of the General Authority for Veterinary Services at the past, to be removed from office.

And His Eminence for «Egyptian today»: «The issue is not dismissal, but ending the assignment of work as head of the», stressing that the termination of the Mandate was a direct result of his preference for political action, referring to his desire to devote himself to go to the Shura Council elections, scheduled for June.


In another context, he warned of the danger of His Eminence the current period of avian influenza virus, confirming that it is more aggressive now, explaining that the government's decision to the total elimination of slaughter pigs last year, contributed to reduce the possibility of mutation of the virus through pigs.

The control of bird flu requires the government to act by research institutes in universities and the Agricultural Research Center, with a view to local production of a vaccine suitable for immunization to the virus of this disease which is characterized by constant change, stressing that the local production of a vaccine for HIV is «imperative» to be appropriate for the type strain of the virus locally, noting that the results of the effectiveness of vaccines imported with the common type currently may not be feasible in control.

Romania: Update on H5N1 Poultry Outbreaks - 2 articles

The first case of influenza, Letea (in poultry)

Caption: An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza type H5N1 occurred in a poultry farm in the village Letea, Tulcea County. European Commission (EC) will adopt a decision confirming the risk areas set by Romanian authorities after the occurrence of this outbreak.

According to a release of the EC, the outbreak of H5N1 was located in the Danube delta, near the border with Ukraine. The same source states that Romania's national laboratory confirmed Monday that it is an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus type H5N1 and to limit the spread, the Romanian authorities have applied immediate control measures required under EU law.

These measures included the slaughter of all infected poultry farm and establish a protection zone within a radius of 3 kilometers, and monitoring an area 10 kilometers around the farm, which also was established strong measures to control the movement . Area of 10 kilometers is considered "high risk zone", according to the EC, adding that it is surrounded by a "low risk area" in which were also imposed some restrictions on movement, and additional measures protection for poultry farms.

EC noted that this is the first case of avian influenza highly pathogenic H5N1 type found in the EU last year. The last case confirmed in March 2009, was detected in some wild ducks in Germany.

Minister of Health adviser, Geza Molnar said that veterinarians have found 49 dead birds in two households and that they made for supervision of the area. "So far, nobody in the world has shown that avian influenza is transmitted from person to person," said Geza Molnar, quoted by Mediafax. He added that authorities have recommended people "not to approach the dead birds, wild birds in the area, to not allow the birds in the courtyard to enter the house and children not to play with carrions.

The adviser said that the living area of approximately 300-400 people were talking about an isolated village. Molnar added that each case of respiratory virus in humans will be investigated and that will be harvested samples for analysis. Public Health Department sent a doctor to ensure permanence in the area. Surveillance of avian flu outbreak are the responsibility of veterinarians, that the Ministry of Agriculture, said Health Minister Counselor.

2nd article

Date Added: 20/03/2010

Veterinarians oversees domestic bird populations all private households in the commune Tulcea Rosetti, as an additional measure to prevent the emergence of new problems after it confirmed the suspicion of bird flu surfaced in the village Letea. Tulcea County Prefect Vasile Gudu said on Wednesday Agerpress as veterinarians and check the health of poultry in villages Cardon, Rosetti and Sfistofca, to date November Pending suspect H5N1 bird flu virus.

"Next to run two households Letea disinfection where birds were found which bore the bird flu virus, procedures to three stages.

These will be followed at an interval of three weeks, by bringing sentinel chickens, and if the evidence to be taken to confirm that they are no longer problems of Letea outbreak will be declared closed, "said Basil Gudu. He said the policemen, gendarmes and border guards monitor the trafficking of persons in the area, traffic, or livestock slaughtered in the area is prohibited. "Today, the mayor of the village Rosetti will disinfecting carpets every public institution and private companies in the area," said the prefect Gudu.

In terms of the health of the six people in two households where birds were found infected with H5N1, the Director of Public Health Authority (PSA), Adriana Argetoianu, said that only one of them, a child 10 years, did not have the flu shot. "We will monitor the members of two families for ten days, during checks already settled that there is a history of viral status. None of the six people not show signs of viral damage, and when they will appear doctors will take the exudates to be analyzed, "said Adriana Argetoianu.

Under the supervision plan and measures, in Tulcea County Hospital emergency circuit was arranged particularly in areas of infectious disease since its emergence in November of influenza virus A/H1N1 in ASP owning stocks for 1000 cans and 500 bottles of Oseltamivir Relenza for people who might be affected.