Flu Bird flu heading towards West, says Turkey

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by Bear, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Bird flu heading towards West, says Turkey
    By Kate Connolly in Ankara
    (Filed: 11/01/2006)

    Officials in Turkey admitted yesterday that the deadly strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus was marching across the country and had infected poultry in 25 cities.

    The virus appeared to be spreading westwards. Four people were hospitalised in the town of Aydin, near the Aegean coast in the south-west of the country. The area is one of Turkey's biggest tourist magnets and popular with British holidaymakers.

    Bird flu was detected in fowl in the Aegean port city of Izmir, while on Monday, it was found in birds at the resort of Kusadasi, a stone's throw from the Greek island of Samos. The news sparked fears that it could do years of damage to tourism, Turkey's most important industry.

    In London, the Foreign Office advised visitors to Turkey: "Avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked."

    Fifteen cases of H5N1 infection of humans, all of whom were in contact with birds, have been confirmed in central, eastern and northern Turkey. The virus, which originated in Asia, has so far killed a teenage boy and girl - and probably a younger child - in the same family.

    In the capital, Ankara, three cases have been confirmed, while four suspected cases are being treated in two hospitals. Countries across Europe stepped up their controls on travellers arriving from Turkey.

    In Germany sniffer dogs examined the luggage of people coming off flights from Istanbul and Ankara to ensure they did not contain any poultry products, while neighbouring countries set up disinfectant baths for cars or people to pass through.

    None of those in hospital was believed to be in a critical condition. According to the health ministry all had been bird-to-human transmission cases, rather than the feared human to human scenario.

    After a stuttering start to its attempts to fight the virus, the government was keen last night to stress that it had the situation under control. It said it had culled 306,000 birds, even as some people, particularly in rural areas, attempted to hide their poultry from veterinary inspectors.

    "The situation is fully under control. We will continue to deal with the situation with utmost care," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister.

    The fear of some experts however, is that the closer the contact those who contract the disease have with others, the greater the chance H5N1 has of mutating into an illness transferrable from human to human, sparking a pandemic.

    The government issued a health and safety film yesterday in which it urged citizens: "Don't risk your life or those of your family - hand in your birds."
  2. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Human Bird Flu Cases May Exceed 150, Spurring Pandemic Plans


    Human Bird Flu Cases May Exceed 150, Spurring Pandemic Plans
    Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Bird flu cases in Turkey, China and Indonesia may have pushed the global tally of human infections from the disease to more than 150, spurring government efforts to prepare for a flu pandemic that may kill millions of people.

    Officials from China, Vietnam and 12 other Asian countries will meet tomorrow in Tokyo for a two-day conference aimed at hastening the response to any flu virus capable of causing a pandemic, the World Health Organization said. A jump in human cases of the H5N1 avian influenza strain is creating opportunities for the virus to mutate into a pandemic form.

    Fifteen people in Turkey have been infected, the country's Health Ministry said yesterday. China yesterday confirmed two more human avian flu fatalities while Indonesia awaits test results on at least four suspected cases.

    ``Unlike the influenza pandemics of the past, this time the world has been given a warning that one may be on its way,'' Shigeru Omi, WHO's director in the Western Pacific region, said in a statement today. ``We should use this precious time to be ready to counter-attack and try to stop any sign of a pandemic in its tracks.''

    Since December 2003, at least 147 confirmed human cases of H5N1 have been reported in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Cambodia and Turkey, according to the WHO. Of those, 78 have died.

    ``The situation is very serious and getting worse,'' Omi said in the statement. ``It is still within our power to change the course of this epidemic.''

    Pandemic Strain

    This week's meeting is designed to identify the measures that need to be put in place to enable countries in Asia to respond rapidly to the emergence of an influenza virus strain with pandemic potential, WHO said.

    ``Swift and aggressive measures might be enough to contain a potential pandemic at its source or at least slow its spread,'' the United Nations health agency said. ``Rapid containment would include the use of antiviral drugs for mass prophylaxis, plus possible public health measures such as quarantine and social distancing.''

    Representatives from the Asian countries, which also include Brunei, Cambodia, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will also discuss the need for early detection and early reporting, the feasibility of the rapid measures to be implemented when an event with pandemic potential occurs and the implementation of containment measures.

    Reports of new human H5N1 cases have increased each month since July, reaching 11 in December. The WHO this month confirmed four new human infections in Turkey, including two fatalities. One new case was reported in China, it said.

    Cases in China

    The two bird flu patients in China whose deaths were confirmed yesterday were diagnosed with the infection last month. They are a 10-year-old girl from the southern province of Guangxi and a 35-year-old man from the southern province of Jiangxi.

    More human infections are possible with new outbreaks of the virus in poultry. China has a new outbreak of avian influenza in quails in the southern province of Guizhou, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on its Web site late yesterday.

    In Turkey, H5N1 has been discovered in poultry in 19 of the country's 81 provinces and 306,000 birds have been culled so far, the British Broadcasting Corp. said yesterday.

    To contact the reporter on this story:
    Jason Gale in Singapore at j.gale@bloomberg.net.
  3. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Two more bird flu deaths in China

    Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 04:29 GMT

    Two more bird flu deaths in China

    China is inoculating millions of birds to try to stamp out bird flu
    Two more people have died of bird flu in China, bringing the total number of fatalities there to five, the World Health Organization has said.
    The two victims reportedly died in December - one in Guangxi province and the other in Jiangxi province.

    Meanwhile the agriculture ministry said 16,000 quails had already died of bird flu this year in Guizhou province.

    Officials have culled another 42,000 birds in the area to try to stem the spread of the virus, the ministry said.

    In total, more than 70 people throughout Asia are now known to have died of bird flu since late 2003.

    People outside the region are also becoming infected, with two human bird flu deaths in Turkey reported earlier this week.

    Contact with birds

    On Monday, China reported that a six-year-old boy in the central province of Hunan had become the country's eighth human bird flu case. He is currently said to be in a critical condition in hospital.

    An investigation by the state news agency Xinhua found that poultry raised by the boy's family had died before he became ill.

    Most human bird flu infections have been linked to direct contact with sick poultry.

    But scientists fear the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus could mutate from a disease that largely affects birds to one that can pass easily between people, leading to a human pandemic.

    China is seen as a potential flashpoint for such a pandemic, because it has the world's largest poultry population, and many of its birds are farmed in primitive conditions where humans and animals live in close proximity.

    China's Ministry of Health admits that the system it has in place at present is at fault, blaming the human infections on ineffective surveillance and the delayed reporting of bird flu outbreaks among poultry.

    The China Daily said on Wednesday that only two-thirds of China's township hospitals were part of the network for monitoring and reporting infectious diseases.

    A Health Ministry spokesman told the newspaper that bird flu infections were typically being mis-diagnosed as pneumonia, allowing the window of opportunity for treatment to be missed.
  4. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    HSBC prepares for bird flu onslaught

    National Business Review

    HSBC prepares for bird flu onslaught
    Businesses gear up as governments dither

    HSBC prepares for H5N1
    January 11 2006

    The prevailing government wisdom about what businesses should expect in the way of staff shortages during a pandemic has been quietly shelved as impossibly optimistic by the world's biggest bank, HSBC, which says it is planning for operations with up to half its staff unable to work normally.

    In October 2005, HSBC was tipped to be among a number of global banking operations hammering out detailed contingency plans should the bird flu H5N1 virus mutate into a form where it poses a serious threat to human health.

    On Tuesday, it revealed at least some of that contingency plan, saying that while it did not fully expect half of its workers to come down with avian flu during a pandemic, it had picked fifty per cent as a "worst case" estimate.

    In much of the discussion about workforce consequences of a pandemic, there has been general recognition that workers will be absent not only because they are ill, but also because they will be actng as caregivers -- and some may find themselves in quarantined areas, as well, despite being in good health.

    Still, government estimates have been on the very conservative side.

    Last month, according to Reuters, European union" health experts estimated a bird flu pandemic could result in 25 per cent of Europe's workforce being on sick leave.

    And Bruce Mann, head of the British government's Civil Contingencies Secretariat, told Reuters in November that companies should expect 5 to 7 per cent of their workforce to be absent at the peak of the pandemic, with a cumulative total of 25 per cent affected over a period of three or four months.

    Fend for yourself

    Businesses making plans now to handle problems on their own are taking a cue from governmental warnings that they may be unable to provide meaninful assistance.

    According to Times Online, for example, Britain's cabinet office has warned that the army will not be riding to the rescue.

    A source close to the cabinet office told Times Online: “Some companies take the view that other people will bail them out, but the government doesn’t have the capacity to do that any more, if it ever did. We are not going to take the haulage industry and stuff it with soldiers.”

    In some places, such as the US, detailed government planning is well underway, but in others, the 'fend for yourself' message is being pushed by a simple lack of planing.

    New Zealand

    The New Zealand government has not made firm projections of the effect on workforces or business but research firm Garner said in December that World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that a pandemic is "almost certain," meant businesses should have well-developed plans in place no later than the middle of 2006.

    National party health spokesman Tony Ryall said yesterday that there were large gaps in government plans here and that no one really knew what the government could be relied upon for in the event.

    “Despite months passing and avian flu now tapping at Europe’s door, the government is making no progress in dealing with major gaps in their own pandemic planning,” said Mr Ryall.

    “Back in November, National warned that one of the biggest gaps in planning was getting medical care to people being looked after at home.

    “There is still no word from the Health Minister on what is going to happen to the many thousands of New Zealanders isolated in their sickbeds.

    “There is no plan yet to increase supplies of essential personal medicines such as insulin. If our borders close for weeks or months on end, how will people get these personal medicines?

    “And still no single person or agency is responsible for pandemic planning leadership.

    “We need a systematic approach, not good luck and a few volunteers," he said.

    Scale of the event

    Gartner's recommendation was based in part on a US Congressional Budget Office projection that in a "mild" pandemic scenario, 100,000 Americans would die and the GDP would drop 1.5 per cent.

    In "severe" scenario, however, the death count would climb to approximately 2 million, just under 1 per cent of the population, with a 5 per cent drop in the GDP that would lead to an economic recession.

    During the 1918-19 outbreak, which also originated with birds, the death toll in the US was 2.5 per cent of the population.

    Most experts contend that a new pandemic would kill fewer people -- at least 20 million died in the 1918 outbreak -- because of medical advances.

    But the deadliness of the disease, should it mutate to a form capable of spreading between people, is an unknown factor -- and estimates of lethality based on known cases have also been called into question recently.

    So far, the virus has killed at least 76 people, about half of those known to have been infected, with the key medication -- commercially known as Tamiflu -- having proven ineffective in at least several of those cases.

    That high morbidity rate was last week called into question by a study that implied the disease may have infected many more people than previously thought, but too mildly for them to present at hospital with symptoms.

    There are serious problems with that study, however -- among them the premise that all persons with flu symptoms in an area where H5N1 was repored had contracted H5N1 instead of some other flu bug.

    And new results from Japan suggest that a much milder form of the bug -- H5N2, which has superficially similar symptoms -- may co-exist with H5N1.
  5. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Turkey tries to halt bird flu advance into Europe

    Turkey tries to halt bird flu advance into Europe

    By William J Kole in Ankara
    Published: 11 January 2006

    Turkish authorities were trying to reassure the world it had the outbreak of bird flu under control yesterday after preliminary tests showed that at least 15 people had been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain. Two of the victims were children, who have died.

    Health officials handed out leaflets, and imams blared warnings from mosque loudspeakers, after the first human deaths outside eastern Asia, where bird flu has claimed 74 lives since 2003.

    Jittery European governments sprayed disinfectant over lorries from Turkey. In Italy, a consumer group urged a ban on travel to Turkey, and in Greece, veterinary inspectors stepped up border checks. Neighbouring Bulgaria issued advice on how to cope.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's government ordered more than 300,000 fowl to be killed and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Everything is under control."

    Turkish authorities were trying to reassure the world it had the outbreak of bird flu under control yesterday after preliminary tests showed that at least 15 people had been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain. Two of the victims were children, who have died.

    Health officials handed out leaflets, and imams blared warnings from mosque loudspeakers, after the first human deaths outside eastern Asia, where bird flu has claimed 74 lives since 2003.
    Jittery European governments sprayed disinfectant over lorries from Turkey. In Italy, a consumer group urged a ban on travel to Turkey, and in Greece, veterinary inspectors stepped up border checks. Neighbouring Bulgaria issued advice on how to cope.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's government ordered more than 300,000 fowl to be killed and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Everything is under control."
  6. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Putin Urges Bird Flu Measures

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006. Issue 3328.

    Putin Urges Bird Flu Measures

    The Associated Press
    President Vladimir Putin called on Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on Tuesday to develop a plan to prevent bird flu in Russia, and the country's chief epidemiologist announced heightened inspections on its southern border and of people arriving from Turkey.

    The announcements followed the deaths last week of two siblings in Turkey from the H5N1 strain of bird flu -- the first confirmed cases of human deaths from H5N1 outside eastern Asia. Russia has registered outbreaks of H5N1 in fowl in several regions, but no human cases have been reported.

    "We must do everything possible in order not to allow this problem to emerge here," Putin said at a meeting of top government officials, according to televised remarks.

    Putin asked Fradkov to come up with a plan of preventative action, calling for measures to be taken at markets and borders, Itar-Tass reported.

    Many of Russia's neighbors -- China, Turkey, Ukraine and Romania -- have seen outbreaks of the potentially deadly disease, Putin noted.

    Ukrainian health officials said Tuesday they have confirmed another outbreak of bird flu at three poultry farms on the Crimean Peninsula.

    Chief epidemiologist Gennady Onishchenko called for officials on Russia's southern borders to check for signs of respiratory illness among people entering the country, particularly from Turkey or via Turkey from a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

    A scientist, meanwhile, said Russia was preparing to test a vaccine against bird flu.

    Anatoly Vorobyov of the Sechenov Medical Academy, where the vaccine was developed, said Tuesday that tests on volunteers were to begin soon. It was not clear how long those tests would take, or how long it would take to manufacture the vaccine in large quantities if it were deemed effective and safe.
  7. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Thx for posting this Bear.

    I love the "Everything is under control" part
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I think it's all fear mongering. And the thoughts of Maryland and the damn viruses and contagens...

    You know, if this turns out to be some sick and twisted government test, I think I will flip out, man. This world sucks sometimes. Like HARD. There is barely -BARELY enough good and decency to keep me going at times.


    I need a coffee. Don't mind me.
  9. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Brokor, I don't doubt that the UN and the other .gov types are trying to find away to use this as a vehicle for greater controls. But, I also know that these Pandemics/Plagues have popped over throughout History. They were devestating before we were as mobile as we are now... I think it would be like a brushfire in TX this next time around
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