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Bird-Avian Flu

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I would like to bring up an old subject but with an update.


Avian-Bird Flu



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The bird flu virus could become endemic in Turkey and poses a serious risk to neighboring countries, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says.


"The virus may be spreading despite the control measures already taken," Juan Lubroth, senior FAO animal health office, said Wednesday.


The FAO statement came as Turkey set up a bird flu crisis center in its capital Ankara and the World Health Organization said two more people had died from bird flu in China.


Meanwhile Germany's Agricultural Minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday that Germany "very likely" will require all birds be kept indoors to prevent bird flu in the country. Last year bird owners were required to keep their animals indoors for several months in a similar precaution.


"Far more human and animal exposure to the virus will occur if strict containment does not isolate all known and unknown locations where the bird flu virus is currently present," Lubroth said in the FAO statement.


He called upon neighboring countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran and Syria to be on high alert, to apply surveillance and control measures and to ensure that the public was fully informed about the avian influenza risk.


The FAO added it had sent a team of experts to Turkey to support the authorities in their bird flu control efforts.


"Turkey needs to apply a centrally coordinated and country-wide control campaign based on efficient local actions carried out in a transparent manner.


"Infected poultry should be reported immediately and all internationally recommended control measures should be used in outbreak areas, including humane culling, strict isolation and, if and when appropriate, vaccination," Lubroth said.


Turkey confirmed a 15th human case of the deadly virus in that country on Tuesday. The rapid rise in cases -- with three children dead -- has put experts and neighboring nations on high alert.


However, a World Health Organization official told Turkey there was "no reason to panic." European Regional Director Marc Danzon told a news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara that the country was taking "appropriate and satisfactory measures" to handle the outbreak.


The WHO's Roy Wadia in Beijing said on Wednesday the deadly H5N1 strain killed a 10-year-old girl from Guangxi province in the south of the country, while a 35-year-old man died in eastern Jiangxi province.


The latest deaths brings the country's total bird flu death to five.


Bulgaria has veterinarians and border officials on notice, and Greece is stepping up checks and disinfections at its main border crossing.


More than 70 people have died from the disease since it emerged in 2003, all but three of those in Asia.


The latest case in Turkey was a 37-year-old woman who lived in the east-central province of Sivas and was exposed to diseased chickens, according to the WHO.


Two of the 15 -- children from the same family -- died last week, the first known bird flu deaths outside of China and Southeast Asia.


A third sibling also died, but the cause of death was never determined. Christine McNab, a spokeswoman for the WHO, health officials assumed the child had died of bird flu, but no tissue samples were taken that could prove that.




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Romania confronts possible first human case of bird flu


Romania may have its first human case of avian influenza. A Turkish citizen was admitted to a hospital in Bucharest on Wednesday night with bird flu-like symptoms.


Romania has been on alert as the virus spreads westwards across neighbouring Turkey, where two people are known to have died of the disease and many more are thought to have been infected.


Countries to the east of Turkey have also taken action. Georgia has tightened controls on goods crossing the border and Iran has decided to cull poultry within 15 kilometres of the Turkish frontier.


The European Union has banned imports of live birds and risky poultry products such as fresh meat and untreated feathers from affected areas.


In Turkey and neighbouring countries, authorities have tried to increase awareness of the importance of hygiene when handling birds.


So far there is no evidence that the potentially lethal H5N1 strain of the virus can jump from one human to another but the World Health Organisation says that threat is growing.


Experts have been discussing the risks of a global pandemic that could kill millions at a conference in Tokyo, organised by the WHO.


They say governments should intensify preventive measures.


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Bird flu samples show new mutation

Samples taken from two of the bird flu victims in Turkey have doctors concerned, as an analysis of the sample shows a change in one gene in one of the two samples tested.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, however, that it is too early to tell whether this means the deadly strain of the virus has mutated into a form passable from human to human.

The mutation, which allows the virus to bind to a human cell more easily than to a bird cell, is a shift in the direction of the virus being able to infect people more easily than it does now, reported AP.



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WHO calls for a billion to stave off bird flu pandemic


The World Health Organisation is meeting today and tomorrow in Beijing, with delegates from over half the countries in the world. The subject being discussed is the spread of so-called bird flu.


Turkey is currently on the frontline in the war on H5N1, and the country'sjustice minister insists it is waging that war as best it can.


20 cases of human infection by the virus to date have mostly been in the east, but with tests awaited on three sick children in Istanbul, the disease may now be on Europe's doorstep. However, there is still no evidence of human to human transmission of the disease in Turkey, says the WHO.


Five year old Muhammet Ozcan is reportedly comfortable and improving, and may have fought off the H5N1 infection that claimed the life of his sister on Sunday.


In all, four of Turkey's 20 cases have died, while five have been discharged from hospital. The others are in a stable condition.


The mass cull of poultry deemed at risk continues, and the transport of all birds and hoofed animals has been banned.


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Dig deep to stop the spread of bird flu.


Thats the message from the latest conference on the disease, which has ended today in Beijing. Paul Wolfowitz from the World Bank said financial help was crucial:


"We know from experience that if the international community does not support these control measures now, the potential cost to the world will be much higher in the long term".Turkey has confirmed that a toddler has contracted the disease, the 21st. human case in the country.


It is estimated one billion euros will be needed to fight the disease. However the World Bank says if no action is taken now, the eventual cost could be eight times that.


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