Flu WHO: Human bird flu toll tops 100

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by E.L., Mar 25, 2006.

  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    WHO: Human bird flu toll tops 100

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006 Posted: 0050 GMT (0850 HKT)

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    Manage Alerts | What Is This? GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Bird flu has killed five young people in Azerbaijan, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, adding it was investigating whether some of the victims could have been infected collecting feathers from dead swans.

    Confirmation of the deaths in Azerbaijan, which lies at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, takes the WHO toll from the virus to 103 since it reemerged in late 2003.

    Egypt reported its fourth suspected human case over the past week. The Egyptian authorities have said that one of the patients died of bird flu last Friday, but that has not been confirmed by the WHO.

    Pakistan on Tuesday became the latest country to confirm bird flu in poultry, saying the virus found in two poultry flocks late last month was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain.

    Bird flu has spread with alarming speed in recent weeks as it pushes deeper into Africa, Europe and Asia.

    The United States says it is likely to arrive on its shores before the end of the year. (Full story)

    Fears are growing the H5N1 flu virus will mutate and pass easily from one person to another but for the moment it remains hard for people to catch it from infected birds.

    "We don't see any human-to-human transmission (in Azerbaijan). The exact source of exposure to the deadly virus is under investigation, which is focusing on defeathering of birds," WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said.

    Four of those who died came from a settlement of around 800 homes in the Salyan region in the southeast of the country. Three were related and the fourth was a close friend of the family. The fifth victim came from Tarter in the west.

    The WHO said an investigation in Salyan had found some evidence that carcasses of swans, dead for some weeks, may have been collected by residents for their feathers.

    Adolescent women and young girls usually pluck birds in the affected community, the WHO said. The feathers are used in pillows.

    Four of those who died were young women aged between 17 and 21, while the other was a 16-year-old boy.

    Egyptian case
    Egypt reported a fourth suspected case of bird flu in humans on Tuesday, in a 17-year-old boy whose father had an outbreak of the disease on his chicken farm in the Nile Delta.

    Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali, quoted by the state new agency MENA, said the boy was taken to hospital in the town of Tanta on Sunday and was being treated with Tamiflu, the drug used to fight bird flu in humans. His condition was "good and stable", he added.

    Of the first three bird flu victims, one has died, one has recovered and the third is receiving treatment.

    U.N. and African officials were meeting in Gabon in West Africa for a summit on how to combat bird flu on the poorest continent.

    Donors pledged $1.9 billion in January to help developing countries strengthen health and veterinary services and boost global surveillance measures, but David Nabarro, senior U.N. coordinator for avian influenza, said few had paid up so far.

    Pakistan poultry
    In Pakistan, Livestock Commissioner Muhammad Afzal said there had been no other cases of bird flu since the outbreak was first reported on February 27 at farms in the North West Frontier Province.

    Samples from two farms were sent to a laboratory in Britain, and the flocks -- totalling around 23,000 birds -- were culled.

    "I can only confirm that the H5N1 type of virus was found in chickens from both the farms," Agriculture Ministry official Mohammad Akhlaque told Reuters.

    "We have conducted tests on the people who worked on both the farms and they are healthy. There is no sign of any bird flu in those people. We have already culled all chickens so there is not much more we can do," he told Reuters.

    Malaysian outbreaks
    Meanwhile, two new outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain were confirmed in poultry in a northern Malaysian state, the national news agency Bernama reported Tuesday.

    Tests have confirmed the virus in Changkat Legong and Titi Gantung in Perak state, Bernama said. Changkat Legong borders the Changkat Tualang area where 41,000 birds were culled between Thursday and Sunday following an outbreak there of H5N1 according to The Associated Press.

    On Monday, the government announced an outbreak of the disease in neighboring Penang state and the H5N1 strain was also detected in four villages outside Kuala Lumpur in February, indicating that the virus is spreading from central Malaysia to northern Malaysia, AP reports.
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

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