Flu Quick topic dump from the Sticky above...

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by melbo, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Scientists reveal key protein in H5N1 bird flu virus
    LOS ANGELES, Mar.16 (Xinhuanet): The structure of a key protein of the H5N1 avian influenza virus reveals that certain mutations could ease the deadly virus' spread among people, U.S. scientists reported on Thursday. In a study published in the March 16 online edition of the journal Science, the researchers led by Ian Wilson at the Scripps Research Institute said they have determined the structure of the hemagglutinin protein. Hemagglutinin protein, which allows the virus to enter host cells, is the principal antigen on
    the flu viral surface. The researchers imaged and analyzed the protein with glycan
    microarray, after isolating a H5N1 virus sample from a Vietnamese boy who died from the flu in 2004. The hemagglutinin protein latches on to different cell receptors in avian and human-type flu, which may explain why most bird flu viruses do not spread between humans, according to the researchers. By now, only three avian influenza viruses have caused pandemics in humans, including the H1N1, the H2N2 and H3N2 strains. The three viruses aroused flu pandemics in year 1918, 1957 and 1968, respectively, after hemagglutinin of these viruses have become adapted to the human population. The researchers said both the H2N2 and H3N2 pandemic viruses were avian-human re-assortments, in which some avian gene segments were re-assorted into an already circulating, human-adapted virus. And the third virus, the H1N1 strain that caused the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killing about 50 million worldwide, may have experienced some mutations before jumping from birds to humans. Although hemagglutinin of the H5N1 virus looked very similar to the H1N1 virus, these mutations do not cause the bird flu virus to prefer human receptor, the researchers found. "Our conclusion is that the mutations that cause a shift from the avian type to human type specificity on the H1 and H3 frameworks do not cause an equivalent shift in specificity on the H5 framework," the wrote in the Science paper. However, the researchers noted that some of these mutations may make the H5N1 virus hemagglutinin more likely to bind to human lung epithelial cells, providing a possible "foothold" for the virus in the human population. "Thus, such mutations provide one possible route by which H5 viruses could gain a foothold into the human population," they said. With continued outbreaks of the H5N1 virus in poultry and wild birds, further human cases are likely. The potential for the emergence of a human-adapted H5 virus, either by re-assortment or mutation, is a threat to public health worldwide, the researchers said. Source: Xinhuanet

    Five nations confirm bird flu outbreaks
    MUMBAI, Mar.16 (Reuters): Four Asian nations and Denmark confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu on Thursday while Israel said it feared bird flu had killed turkeys on two farms. Afghanistan, India and Myanmar said tests had now confirmed H5N1 caused recent outbreaks in birds, while Malaysia reported two new cases in a wild bird and dead chickens. Denmark, the latest European country affected, said tests showed a wild buzzard found south of Copenhagen had H5N1. Israel suspects bird flu killed turkeys on two farms in its southern Negev region although there were no test results yet, Agricultural Minister Zeev Boim said. Israel has so far been spared the virus. Swiss drug maker Roche said it was boosting output of its flu drug Tamiflu by a third. Tamiflu is seen as one of the most effective methods of treating people infected with H5N1. In India, veterinary workers began throttling more than 70,000 birds to try to control the latest outbreak there. Hundreds of people were also tested for fever. Source: Reuters

    WHO reports mass bird deaths in Eritrea
    ERITREA, Mar.15 (AFP): The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday reported massive bird deaths in two regions in Eritrea, two weeks after it warned that the Horn of African nation was at risk of bird flu infection. WHO representative here Andrew Kosia said that wild fowl had died in the coastal area of the Red Sea region and several chickens had died in the western region of Gash Barka. "Birds have died in large numbers in the northern Red Sea region and in the Gash Barka region this month," said Kosia. "We have some suspicious samples, which we hope to send for testing soon, maybe to Nairobi," he said, adding that UN experts would go to the affected regions this week. Earlier this month, WHO warned that Eritrea was at a high risk of cross border transmission of the avian flu after the virus erupted in Egypt and tests revealing cases of bird flu-like infection in neighbouring Ethiopia. Eritrea, like many other African nations, has banned imports of poultry since last October. Source: Mail and Guardian Online

    30,000 bird-flu deaths in south Russia in last 24 hours - ministry
    RUSSIA, Mar.16 (RIA Novosti): More than 30,000 birds have died of bird flu in southern Russia over the last 24 hours, a local emergencies ministry official said Thursday. "In Krasnodar Territory, 21,912 chickens have died over the last 24 hours, and the total number of dead birds has reached 350,288," the official said. A further 10,818 birds have died over the last 242 hours in the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan, the official said, bringing the total including culled birds to 760,000. A third wave of bird flu struck Russia starting February 3. The country's southern regions, where all cases in the country have so far been registered, are particularly vulnerable as a stopover for migrating birds. A vaccination program is currently underway in many of the country's regions. No human deaths from bird flu have so far been registered in Russia. Source: RIA Novosti

    Unconfirmed reports of bird flu at Orkney farm
    SCOTLAND, Mar.15 (Scotland Today): There are unconfirmed reports that the first case of bird flu to hit Britain has broken out at a farm in the Orkney Islands. A number of birds have died and tests have been carried out to try to establish the cause. The Scottish Executive's environment and rural affairs department has released a statement confirming that a number of birds have died on a poultry farm on mainland Orkney. A veterinary officer visited the premises yesterday and took samples for laboratory investigation of suspected avian notifiable disease - which could be a strain of Avian Influenza or Newcastle Disease, better known of course as bird flu. Suspect cases are investigated as a matter of routine. Thirty nine similar investigations have been carried out in Great Britain to date this year and all have so far proved negative. Source: Scotland Today

    Secret avian flu archive
    SCIENCE, Mar.15 (NYT): At a time when health authorities are racing to head off a possible avian flu pandemic, it is distressing to learn that the World Health Organization is operating a secret database that holds the virus' genetic information. A lone Italian scientist has challenged the system by refusing to send her own data to the password-protected archive. Instead, she released the information publicly and urged her colleagues to do the same. She is surely right. The limited-access archive should be opened or bypassed immediately to encourage research on this looming health menace. The campaign by Ilaria Capua, an Italian veterinarian who works on avian influenza, was spotlighted in recent articles in the journal Science and The Wall Street Journal. The hidden data could be of immense value in determining how the virus is evolving and in developing effective vaccines or drugs. The possibility of breakthroughs can increase only if many more scientists can analyze the data. The rationale for the closed system is that the restrictions encourage scientists who are worried about being scooped by rivals to share their data on a limited basis even before they have published their findings in a journal. Confidentiality is also needed, some say, to encourage skittish countries, worried about bad publicity or the loss of intellectual property, to release the genetic sequences of viruses found on their territory. Those arguments seem insubstantial now that some top WHO officials and other health authorities have called for opening the exclusive-access system. Academic and national pride must not be allowed to slow potentially crucial health research. Source: International Herald Tribune

    Renowned bird flu expert warns: Be prepared
    SCIENCE, Mar.14 (ABC): Robert G. Webster is one of the few bird flu experts confident enough to answer the key question: Will the avian flu switch from posing a terrible hazard to birds to becoming a real threat to humans? There are "about even odds at this time for the virus to learn how to transmit human to human," he told ABC's "World News Tonight." Webster, the Rosemary Thomas Chair at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is credited as the first scientist to find the link between human flu and bird flu. Webster and his team of scientists are working to find a way to beat the virus if it morphs. He has even been dubbed the Flu Hunter. Right now, H5N1, a type of avian influenza virus, has confined itself to birds. It can be transmitted from bird to human but only by direct contact with the droppings and excretions of infected birds. But viruses mutate, and the big fear among the world's scientists is that the bird flu virus will join the human flu virus, change its genetic code and emerge as a new and deadly flu that can spread through the air from human to human. If the virus does mutate, it does not necessarily mean it will be as deadly to people as it is to birds. But experts such as Webster say they must prepare for the worst. "I personally believe it will happen and make personal preparations," said Webster, who has stored a three-month supply of food and water at his home in case of an outbreak. Read this article in full at ABC News

    Afghans say 99 percent sure H5N1 found
    KABUL, Mar.15 (Reuters): NOW CONFIRMED - Afghanistan is virtually certain the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found in chickens, but is awaiting one final test for confirmation, a government official said on Wednesday. The government said on Monday an H5 subtype bird flu virus was confirmed in three chickens in Kabul and two in the eastern province of Nangarhar, but it was awaiting the result of tests being conducted in Italy to determine the strain. "Five cases have registered positive for H5N1," said Mustafa Zahir, director-general of the National Environmental Protection Agency, referring to test results from Italy. "We're 99 percent sure but there is one test left to confirm it," he told Reuters. "For all intents and purposes we can say it is confirmed," said Zahir, a member of a government bird flu committee. No suspected human cases of the disease have been reported in Afghanistan, the Health Ministry said. Source: Reuters

    Officials say Azeri dog dies of bird flu
    BAKU, Mar.15 (Reuters): A dog has died of bird flu in Azerbaijan, a country on the crossroads of Europe and Asia where three people have already died from the virus, officials said on Wednesday. "A dead stray dog has been found, and after analysis type A bird flu was discovered. The medical investigation is continuing," said a statement from the state commission tasked with fighting the spread of bird flu. It said the dog died on March 9 in the capital Baku. It was the first dog reported to have died of the virus in Europe, although Germany has reported that at least three cats and one stone marten have been infected. Austria has also reported cats infected with the deadly H5N1 strain on flu. The disease has hit domestic and wild birds throughout the South Caucasus state. The three human victims, who died over the past few weeks, were thought to have been infected through contact with birds. Source: Yahoo News

    Sweden confirms first cases of H5N1 bird flu
    STOCKHOLM, Mar.15 (Reuters): Swedish authorities said on Wednesday that tests had confirmed that two wild ducks found on its east coast carried the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Preliminary tests late last month showed that two wild ducks found near the Baltic port city of Oskarshamn carried the aggressive H5 virus, but more tests were needed to ascertain that they were cases of the deadly H5N1 strain. "The laboratory in Weybridge has now confirmed that it is an H5N1 virus, just as we thought," the National Veterinary Institute said in a statement. Since the first two cases were found, around a dozen wild birds found along Sweden's southeast coast and on the Baltic island of Gotland have been identified as carrying the H5 virus. No cases have been reported in domestic fowl. Source: Reuters
    Danish authorities find aggressive bird flu virus, not clear whether its H5N1
    COPENHAGEN, Mar.15 (AP): Danish authorities said Wednesday they had found a wild bird infected with an aggressive strain of bird flu, but it was not immediately whether it was the deadly H5N1 strain. The government said more details would be released at a news conference later Wednesday. If confirmed as H5N1, it would be the first case of the virus in Denmark.

    US Expert: bird flu virus may have dangerous mutations
    SCIENCE, Mar.15 (Xinhua): Recent cases of bird flu outbreak indicate the H5N1 avian influenza virus may have dangerous mutations, a US bird flu expert said on Tuesday. The virus, which has killed several domestic cats in Germany and Austria, may have acquired the ability of directly transferring from wild birds to cats and dogs, said Dr. Carol Cardona, a poultry veterinarian and professor at the University of California, Davis. Cardona is part of a network of US researchers providing education about bird flu. Her laboratory also conducts research on avian influenza viruses focusing on the disease caused in chickens. "Recent cases in Germany and Austria may be a dangerous sign," Cardona told Xinhua in a telephone interview. "We have known that felids could be infected by the virus easily," she said. "Last year, tigers and leopards in a zoo in Thailand were killed by the virus after eating fresh chicken, but the German cases are different." Generally, the H5N1 virus transfers from wild birds to poultry, and then goes from poultry to wild birds or other species, including human, according to Cardona. But in recent cases, domestic cats were infected after eating dead wild birds or contacting with them. "That means, the virus may have acquired the ability of directly transferring from wild birds to other species, such as domestic cats or urban dogs," she said. "It may be able to do this without the poultry." If the virus can infect domestic cats and urban dogs, which closely contact with people in everyday life, it will pose more threat to humans, she said. There is no evidence that the virus has accomplished the so-called "species jumping," which means it can circulate among animals other than the birds. "But there is the possibility, so we can never underestimate the virus," she said. Read this article in full at China.org.cn

    Croatian seagulls carrying bird flu
    ZAGREB, Mar.14 (AFP): The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been detected in several seagulls in the south of Croatia, where several swans have already died of the disease. "We have carried out tests on 30 or more seagulls and several samples have come back positive for the H5N1 strain," agriculture ministry spokesman Mladen Pavic said Tuesday. Pavic did not specify how many samples turned up positive, but said they had been taken randomly between February 28 and March 3 in the town of Pantana, near Split on the country's southern coast. Health officials in the region, a major tourist haven, have been closely watching the area since mid-February when two swans were confirmed dead from the H5N1 infection. Some 1,200 birds within a three-kilometer (two-mile) radius from where the swans were found have since been slaughtered. And in February the ministry of agriculture stepped up safety measures to keep the disease from spreading. Such measures include the confinement of poultry throughout the country, a ban on the sale of poultry from affected areas and outlawing hunting of wild birds. Source: Yahoo News

    Shoot the crows, Health Official says
    MOSCOW, Mar.14 (Moscow Times): Russia's chief epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko, on Tuesday called for crows in the country's cities to be shot as a way of combating the spread of bird flu. "Crows must be mercilessly destroyed. Crows are feathered wolves," Onishchenko said. He said that as crows ate dead birds, there was a risk they could get infected and spread the virus. Pigeons in cities, however, should be given flu shots instead, he said. Also Tuesday, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov accused the United States of deliberately spreading bird flu in Russia, citing his own experience as a soldier in the Soviet Army's Chemical and Biological Protection Corps as evidence that it was possible. "Forms of warfare are changing. Not a single duck has croaked yet in America," Zyuganov told reporters. "All of them are croaking in a number of European countries, including Russia. This gives us some serious food for thought." Source: The Moscow Times

    Girl Of 12 Is Indonesia's 22nd Human Bird Flu Fatality
    BOYOLALI, Mar.14 (Medical News Today): Authorities in Indonesia say a 12-year-old girl from Boyolali, Central Java, has died of H5N1 infection. She became ill with a temperature on 19 February, was hospitalised on 23 February and died on 1 March. A few days before she became ill chickens in her household had died of bird flu infection. The girl's brother died of likely H5N1 infection on 28 February, he was 10. Doctors had been treating him for dengue fever, but it is most likely he died following co-infection of dengue and H5N1 - we will never know for sure. The two siblings' immediate families and neighbours were checked for bird flu infection - it seems they are all OK. So far, 29 humans have become infected with H5N1 bird flu virus strain, of which 22 have died. Source: Medical News Today
  2. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Scary Stuff.... good read.....
  3. BRONZ

    BRONZ Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Now it is in dogs. S***
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    man that would suck [no]
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