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Highlights of what's happening on the bird flu front
A regularly updated column pinpointing the latest avian flu news from around the world

Septiembre 2006


September 28
Egypt's health ministry has confirmed another case of avian flu in birds in Edfu, a town near Aswan in Upper Egypt. Outside Asia, Egypt has been the country most affected by avian influenza this year. (Source: News-Medical.Net )
September 27
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) warns European countries to be on the alert to protect poultry from bird flu on the eve of the seasonal migration of wild birds to African wintering grounds, and to work harder to avoid another slump in meat sales should the virus strike (Source: Reuters)

Venezuela's Ministry of the Environment and Renewable Resources will shortly release a national plan to combat bird flu but it is the country's Ministry of Health which is coordinating working groups working on the preparation of contingency plans and measures to avoid introduction of the virus. The environment ministry is participating in two of these groups: one on good practices in agricultural production, the other on control of wild birds. (Source: VHeadline.com)
September 23
Wild mallard ducks sampled in Pennsylvania have been found with the low pathogenic strain of H5N1 after initial screening results announced at the beginning of September had indicated the presence of the disease. The announcement came from the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). (Source: USDA)
September 22
Bird flu remains the number one danger facing global public health, says the World Health Organisation. The warning comes on the heels of a call by WHO's western Pacific office for member countries to do more to prepare for an outbreak since no nation would be immune. (Source: The Australian)

Domestic poultry farmers in the West Bank and Gaza are to benefit from a USD 13 million World Bank grant to help minimize any threats to production from bird flu. (Source: Forbes)
September 19
The US government is providing USD 1.55 million through USAID for a new project to tackle bird flu in Vietnam and Laos. It will work closely with FAO and the World health Organization (WHO) to carry out surveillance and control activities against bird flu in both countries. (Source: Thanh Nien)
September 18
Thailand's political crisis may have caused a resurgence of avian influenza says the senior UN coordinator for the disease, David Nabarro. he is quoted as telling the Financial Times "you don't maintain control over this disease unless there is regular top-level direction from a committed senior political figure that wants to be sure that the necessary activities are being undertaken." (Source: Bangkok Post)
September 17
The World Bank says a severe bird flu pandemic among humans could cost the global economy over USD 1 trillion and perhaps as much as USD 2 trillion in a worst-case scenario, representing more than three percent of the global economy's gross national product. The estimate is based on the assumption that one percent of the world's population, or about 70 million people, would die during the pandemic. (Source: Reuters/Antara)

The top official coordinating the UN fight against avian flu, David Nabarro, warns of the possible occurrence of an avian influenza pandemic saying "there will be a world animal and human influenza pandemic one day, but we don't know when." (Source: China View)

The World Bank says it is still waiting for USD 670 million of the money promised by donor countries and organizations for a global effort to fight bird flu. About USD 1.2 billion of the USD 1.87 billion of the funds pledged by donors at a conference in Beijing in January has been committed. (Source: Bloomberg)

The World Bank and UN experts say Africa and East Asia, especially Indonesia and China, are particularly at risk for bird flu outbreaks despite progress in combating the disease in many countries. The World Bank is worried that Africa has less resources to fight avian flu than East Asia and Eastern Europe, while the top official coordinating the UN global programme is concerned about widespread appearance of the virus in Africa, but says the greatest worries are still in East Asia. (Source: AP)

September 16
Indonesia to receive 47 million US dollars loan to prevent avian influenza from developing into the next stage. The Chief Executive of the National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Influenza Pandemic Preparedness says culling, compensation, vaccination and bio-security are vital to reducing the threat, and animal control measures are now a top priority, along with risk communications, information and public awareness and disease surveillance in animals and humans. (Source: Bernama)
September 15
Key international donors and the Indonesian government reach agreement to make up a 100-million-dollar shortfall in funds needed to stop the H5N1 virus in the world's worst-affected nation. The sides agreed on a comprehensive plan to expand containment and preventive measures across the vast Indonesian archipelago that they hope would entice donors and international lending agencies to release tens of millions of dollars. (Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur)
September 15
Key international donors and the Indonesian government reach agreement to make up a 100-million-dollar shortfall in funds needed to stop the H5N1 virus in the world's worst-affected nation. The sides agreed on a comprehensive plan to expand containment and preventive measures across the vast Indonesian archipelago that they hope would entice donors and international lending agencies to release tens of millions of dollars. (Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur)
September 13
The Central Veterinary Institute of Viet Nam announces that the country is expected to use domestically-made vaccines against bird flu viruses among poultry early next year, after successfully testing them on chickens and white-winged ducks. It plans to build 64 freezing facilities in cities and provinces throughout the country to preserve the vaccines. (Source: Xinhua)
September 8
The way now open for China to share bird flu samples after Chinese and U.S. officials agree on shipping procedures, following disagreement over classification of samples as 'diagnosed' (which requires weeks for shipping approval, and which Chinese officials wanted) rather than 'undiagnosed' (which allows quicker delivery); Chinese virus samples will be classified as 'diagnosed'. (Source: AP)
September 6
Myanmar's official media report that the country has declared victory over bird flu with no new outbreaks of the virus detected since late April. The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has informed the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE). FAO notes the declaration and Laurie Gleeson, head of FAO's Asian regional emergency avian flu team in Bangkok says: "FAO will continue to manage international donor support to strengthen the surveillance and response system in Myanmar both to confirm and preserve this freedom from bird flu." (Source: Reuters)

Indonesian authorities warn of a major bird flu outbreak in the West Java town of Kuningan after 596 chickens died of the disease in August. (Source: Xinhua)
September 5
China's Ministry of Agriculture announces that 4.88 billion domestic fowl had been vaccinated by the end of June in a bid to prevent and control the spread of bird flu diseases, and that the country is "actively" promoting global and regional cooperation on the prevention and control of bird flu disease and has established good cooperation with the FAO, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank. China produces 14 billion fowl each year. (Source: Xinhua)

Egypt's Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation says bird flu has been brought under control thanks to the vaccination of all poultry except those bred in homes, and the country will continue importing poultry for a limited period to create balance between offer and demand and to control prices for consumer benefit. (Source: Bahrain News Agency)

Cambodian officials report new bird flu outbreak in ducks in the Bateay district of the eastern province of Kampong Cham where 700 birds died the week before. An outbreak of bird flu at a nearby village killed nearly 2000 ducks in August. (Source: Reuters)
September 4
Egypt reports four new cases of avian influenza in poultry, three in "backyard" or domestically bred poultry in Cairo and the fourth in a village near the southern city of Sohag. These are the first new cases in birds in nearly two months. Chicken is a major source of protein in Egypt and many poor families breed chicken domestically in cities and rural areas to supplement their diet and income. (Source: Reuters)


August 2006


August 31
FAO publishes a new handbook targeted especially to small-scale poultry farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean to help prevent a possible outbreak of avian flu in the region and increase public awareness of the threat posed by the disease. Guide to the prevention and control of avian flu in small-scale poultry farming in Latin America and the Caribbean (Guía para la prevención y el control de la gripe aviar en la avicultura de pequeña escala en América Latina y el Caribe) stresses the measures needed to ensure on-farm biosecurity and prevent contact between domestic poultry and potentially infected wild birds. (Source: FAO)

The Viet Nam government urges the country's Central Highlands and Mekong Delta provinces to step up cross-border supervision to prevent the return of bird flu to the country in the wake of the outbreak of the epidemic in some neighbouring countries. With a ban in place on importing poultry and poultry products from affected countries, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung calls on local anti-smuggling and trade fraud forces to work closely with veterinarians, health workers and transport officials to keep a strict eye on cross-border areas. (Source: Vietnam News Agency)
August 29
Thailand's Labour Minister Somsak Thepsuthin encourage South Korean pharmaceuticals manufacturer Yuhan-Kimberly to invest in developing a bird flu vaccine in Thailand since it is not allowed to do so in its home country which is still considered free of avian influenza. (Source: Bangkok Post)
August 24
In a letter to 'Nature', 70 scientists and health officials announce the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), through which participants will share bird flu virus sequence data, jointly analyse and publish findings, and place their data in three public databases - the EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database, the DNA Database of Japan and the GenBank (see report in this issue of AIDEnews).

Vietnam and Laos sign Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fight against human bird flu pandemics and emerging transmittable diseases up to 2010. (Source: VietNamNet Bridge)
August 22
The Dutch Agriculture Ministry orders farmers to keep their poultry indoors from September 1 to protect flocks from the threat of avian flu from migrating birds. Alternatively, farmers can construct enclosures that would prevent their poultry from coming into contact with wild birds. (Source: Reuters)
August 21
FAO warns that the southern Balkan area and Caucasus are considered at high risk for H5N1 because they are prime resting grounds for migratory bird species and poultry production is mostly characterized by rural and household husbandry with little in terms of biosecurity and strong regulatory inspection.
August 17
FAO reports that laboratory confirmation points to both old and new isolates of the bird flu virus as sources of recent HPAI outbreaks in Southeast Asia, and calls for vigorous implementation of recommended control measures to prevent a further spread of the disease and sustain past successes in the region.
August 3
The Indonesian government announces it will start sharing genetic data on H5N1 bird flu viruses by depositing them in GenBank, the public genetic sequences database (see report in this issue of AIDEnews).
August 1
FAO and OIE announce they will share information on avian flu virus sequences and make this available to the entire scientific community through their joint avian flu network, OFFLU (www.offlu.net). The information will also be sent to the U.S. National Institutes of Health for sequencing, and deposited in the free-access database, GenBank (see report in AIDEnews No 41).