Thursday, November 29, 2007

H5N1 outbreak in Romania

"Romania became the seventh country in Europe reporting avian influenza outbreaks this year, a month after a United Nations agency said the lethal H5N1 strain may be more prevalent in the region than previously thought.

The H5N1 virus killed 31 poultry on a farm in eastern Romania two days ago, the national veterinary and food safety authority in Bucharest said in a report yesterday to the World Organization for Animal Health. An additional 49 birds were destroyed to control the outbreak on the farm in Tulcea, near the border with Ukraine, the report said.

The source of infection can't yet be confirmed, Stefan Nicolae, the authority's director general, said in the report. The most recent of Romania's previous 162 avian influenza outbreaks ended in July 2006.

The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia and the U.K. are the other European countries that have reported new outbreaks this year, according to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health."

Full story here:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poultry dying en masse in Vietnam not H5N1

More than 50,000 chickens have died in southern Vietnam's Tien Giang province, but not from H5N1. The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus has been ruled out, though the cause has not been definitively determined.

Officials think the birds are dying of Marek's disease, for which there is no cure.

"The disease’s spread (is linked to) unhygienic conditions and cramped space where the fowls are raised. Recently, chicken prices have been rising, prompting locals to cramp more and more chickens into small quarters for better profit, which inadvertently worsened the situation," said Le Minh Khanh, deputy head of the province’s Animal Health Department.

Full story via H5N1 blog:

Indonesian minister witholding specimens from WHO

Indonesia's health minister said over the weekend that the World Health Organization would not receive bird flu specimens from Indonesia unless assurances were given to poorer nations that any pandemic vaccines would be affordable for them.

"Siti Fadilah Supari made the comments on her return from Geneva, where the WHO held an intergovernmental conference aimed at rebuilding a global system for sharing flu viruses following a months-long standoff with Indonesia.

'The meeting failed to come up with a material of transfer agreement,' she told reporters in the city of Bandung.

'So we have no obligation to send bird flu virus samples to the World Health Organization.'"

Full Story via H5N1 blog:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

H5N1 detected at poultry farm in Saudi Arabia

"The lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu has been detected at a poultry farm in Saudi Arabia and 50,000 birds have been culled, the agriculture ministry said.
It said tests were carried out after 1,500 birds died in a farm of the Al-Kharj region, 150 kilometres south of Riyadh.
All the birds on the farm were subsequently culled and the area disinfected, with measures taken to ensure other farms in the area were not affected, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
It said no human case has been found and an investigation was taking place to determine the origin of the illness.
The kingdom banned all live poultry imports after bird flu was last detected in Saudi Arabia in March.
In April, neighbouring Kuwait culled 1.7 million birds after the strain was found, but there no reports of human cases."

Story from:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

UK Outbreak: H5N1 Confirmed

The British government and the EU confirmed that sick poultry on a Suffolk farm is infected with the H5N1 strain, one similar to strains found in Germany and the Czech Republic this past summer. The similarities suggest that wild birds may be the source of this strain. It is early for bird migration and there have been no reports of sick or dying wild birds in the area, raising questions as to the true source.

There are many poultry farms and a high density of poultry in the area, and officials fear the virus may have spread and that there may be resistance to disclosure of sick birds. Thousands of turkeys are being culled this week and officials have set up a 3km protection area and a 10km surveillance area to prevent further spread of the disease. Trade restrictions have also been imposed to ensure no infected poultry are shipped within or outside the area.

Responding to farmers' concerns Fred Landeg, the chief veterinary officer, said: "Outside of the restricted zone poultry farms will be able to trade freely within Europe. Within the restricted zone there is a complex series of measures which will allow some trade to continue under certain conditions."

This is the fourth H5N1 outbreak among poultry in the UK this year.

Full Story:;,,2210303,00.html

Friday, November 9, 2007

New vaccine trial ready

"Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and University of Maryland report that a new vaccine that protects monkeys against the avian influenza virus is now a candidate for clinical trial in humans. The rate of transmission of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) from birds to humans is rapidly increasing.
In the study researchers developed a live vaccine incorporating the avian Newcastle disease virus (NDV), which expresses a common gene found in the H5N1 avian influenza virus, and tested it in African monkeys. The vaccine was administered both intranasally and through the respiratory tract in two doses with a 28-day interval in between.
Response after one dose showed low amounts of virus shedding indicating protection. Following two doses, high levels of neutralizing antibodies were present in all immunized monkeys. A substantial response to either dosage was noted in the respiratory tract indicating a likely reduction in transmission in the event of an outbreak.
'In this study, we have developed a vaccine candidate, NDV-HA, for immunization against H5N1 HPAIV and have tested it in a nonhuman primate model,' say the researchers. 'The vaccine was well tolerated and induced substantial local and systemic immune responses, demonstrating that NDV has potential as a live virus candidate vaccine against HPAIV.'"

Full article here:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

H5N1 kills 590 ducks in northern Vietnam

From Reuters: Bird flu kills 590 ducks in northern Vietnam. Excerpt:
"Bird flu has killed 590 ducks in a northern Vietnam province, the fifth to have reported outbreaks among poultry within about a month, the government said on Wednesday.
The two-month-old ducks started dying on Monday at a farm in Ha Nam province.
Tests confirmed on Wednesday the presence of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the Animal Health Department said in its daily report.
Further tests also found the H5N1 virus in samples taken from two dead chickens dumped in a river in Ha Nam province, 60 km (37 miles) south of Hanoi, the report said. The case in Ha Nam brought to five the number of provinces that have confirmed bird flu in poultry since early October. Three of the provinces are in the north, one is in the southern Mekong delta, while the fifth is in the central province of Quang Tri.
Floods that affected Quang Tri in the past two weeks could help spread the virus to nearby areas, an Agriculture Ministry official said.
No human infections have been reported in Vietnam since the virus killed a teenager in early August, one of four deaths among seven Vietnamese known to have been infected this year. Since 2003, bird flu has killed 46 people in Vietnam."

90th death in Indonesia

"An Indonesian woman has died of bird flu, taking the country's death toll from the disease to 90, an official at the health ministry's bird flu centre said on Monday.
Suharda Ningrum said it was not yet clear whether the 30-year-old victim had been in contact with sick fowl, but chickens belonging to a neighbor had died suddenly. The woman lived in Tangerang, west of the capital Jakarta.

Indonesia, which has now had 112 confirmed cases of the disease in humans, has suffered more fatalities than any other country."

Full story at Reuters:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Outbreak in Bangladesh

"Bangladesh culled some 6,000 chickens after bird flu infected three more farms in the northern part of the country, officials said on Friday.
'The chickens were buried over the last two days after H5N1 virus was detected at three farms in Dinajpur, Jaipurhat and Lalmonirhat districts,' an official of the livestock department said.
Bird flu was first detected near the capital in March and has since spread, mostly to northern districts.
Nineteen out of Bangladesh's 64 districts have been affected by the virus, forcing authorities to cull 268,000 chickens and destroy nearly three million eggs."


H5N1 in Pakistan

"Over 45 thousands chicks were burnt and buried by Buttle Ehtsham Breeder Farm after having confirmed that they were suffering from Bird Flu, The Post learned here on Thursday.
According to details, on October 26, the Ehtsham poultry farm got a report about the spread of Bird Flu, the Livestock Director Mansehra Ali Akbar Khan sent the samples to Islamabad for testing.
Later after receiving positive reports, over 45 thousands chicks were burnt and buried so that the virus might not affect other poultry farms. The farm manager informed the media people about the loss and said that if the poultry farms owners do not take proper measures, the virus can cause huge losses."