By: Admin on: Mon 13 of March, 2006 21:38 EDT (12449+ Reads)

The bird flu is inevitably headed towards the U.S.

Bird flu's migration across Europe and it's inevitable migration to U.S.
Bird flu’s migration across Europe and it’s inevitable migration to U.S. – – Centers for Disease Control

Here are a variety of articles of interest.| – Map Tracking Migration|Bird Flu Is Coming (ABC News)

Ready or Not, Bird Flu Is Coming to America
Officials Advise Stocking Up on Provisions — and Warn That Infected Birds Cannot Be Prevented From Flying In


March 13, 2006 – In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.

Ready or not, here it comes.

It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop.

“There’s no way you can protect the United States by building a big cage around it and preventing wild birds from flying in and out,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns said.

U.S. spy satellites are tracking the infected flocks, which started in Asia and are now heading north to Siberia and Alaska, where they will soon mingle with flocks from the North American flyways.

“What we’re watching in real time is evolution,” said Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “And it’s a biological process, and it is, by definition, unpredictable.”

Industry Precautions

America’s poultry farms could become ground zero as infected flocks fly over. The industry says it is prepared for quick action.

“All the birds involved in it would be destroyed, and the area would be isolated and quarantined,” said Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council. “It would very much [look] like a sort of military operation if it came to that.”

Extraordinary precautions are already being taken at the huge chicken farms in Lancaster County, Pa., the site of the last great outbreak of a similar bird flu 20 years ago.

Other than the farmers, everyone there has to dress as if it were a visit to a hospital operating room.

“Back in 1983-1984, we had to kill 17 million birds at a cost of $60 million,” said Dr. Sherrill Davison, a veterinary medicine expert at the University of Pennsylvania.

Can It Be Stopped?

Even on a model farm, ABC News saw a pond just outside the protected barns attracting wild geese.

It is the droppings of infected waterfowl that carry the virus.

The bird flu virus, to date, is still not easily transmitted to humans. There have been lots of dead birds on three continents, but so far fewer than 100 reported human deaths.

But should that change, the spread could be rapid.

ABC News has obtained a mathematical projection prepared by federal scientists based on an initial outbreak on an East Coast chicken farm in which humans are infected. Within three months, with no vaccine, almost half of the country would have the flu.

That, of course, is a worst-case scenario — one that Lobb says the poultry industry is determined to prevent with an aggressive strategy to contain and destroy infected flocks and deny the virus the opportunity to mutate to a more dangerous form but one that experts say cannot be completely discounted.

The current bird flu strain has been around for at least 10 years and has taken surprising twists and turns — not the least of which is that it’s now showing up in cats in Europe, where officials are advising owners to bring their cats inside. It’s advice that might soon have to be considered here.|

Azerbaijan reports bird flu
West Asian nation says three people dead from H5N1 virus

Monday, March 13, 2006; Posted: 10:02 p.m. EST (03:02 GMT)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Azerbaijan in West Asia reported three people killed by bird flu, after Myanmar announced its first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain in poultry and officials cited a strong threat that the disease also struck Afghanistan.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed or forced the slaughter of tens of millions of chickens and ducks across Asia since 2003, and recently spread to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

It also has killed at least 98 people in Asia and Turkey since 2003, according to the World Health Organization’s latest tally posted on its Web site early Monday.

That human does not include the three deaths reported in Azerbaijan, although officials in the former Soviet republic said late Monday that tests conducted by WHO officials had confirmed that the three people, from a district on the country’s Caspian Sea coast, had died of bird flu.

Health officials fear H5N1 could evolve into a virus that can be transmitted easily between people and become a global pandemic. So far, human cases generally have been traced to direct contact with sick birds.

On Monday, the military-controlled government in Myanmar announced that the virus has infected poultry in the north of the country but that no people had been sickened.

Meanwhile, authorities said there was a “high risk” that the deadly virus had spread to Afghanistan, after tests on poultry from small farms in two cities showed the H5 subtype of bird flu, the FAO said in a statement issued in Kabul on Monday.

Further tests were being conducted to confirm whether it was the H5N1 subtype.

In Myanmar, the virus was detected in birds in four towns outside of Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, said Jum Conix, a WHO spokeswoman in Myanmar, citing a report by the Myanmar government.

There was no evidence, however, of human infection in Myanmar, said Than Tun, director of the country’s livestock breeding and veterinary department, a division of the Agriculture Ministry.

In Afghanistan, five samples from backyard poultry farms in Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad tested positive on Monday for H5. An Italian lab was testing to confirm whether it was the H5N1 strain, the Agriculture Ministry said.

“There’s a high risk that the virus detected is H5N1, but other possibilities remain at this time,” the FAO said in a statement.|]

Chertoff: Bird flu possible in U.S. within months
But, he says, ‘We’re going to be able to deal with it’

From Mike Ahlers
Thursday, March 9, 2006; Posted: 8:19 p.m. EST (01:19 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Migratory birds could carry the avian flu virus to U.S. shores in the next few months, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned Thursday.

Chertoff attempted to reassure the public by saying the federal government has experience in dealing with such outbreaks.

“I can’t predict, but I certainly have to say that we should be prepared for the possibility that at some point in the next few months, a wild fowl will come over the migratory pathway and will be infected with H5N1,” he said. (Watch possible flight path of virus — 1:50)

H5N1 is a strain of the avian influenza virus that has killed at least 95 people since 2003.

“If we get a wild bird or even a domestic chicken that gets infected with avian flu, we’re going to be able to deal with it because we have got a lot of experience with that,” he said.

The presence of avian flu in Asia and Europe had led some countries to destroy large flocks of domestic birds. And health experts fear that the flu strain could mutate, making it more easily transferable to humans. Such a mutation could result in a pandemic.

The last three pandemics, in 1918, 1957 and 1968, killed about 40 million, 2 million and 1 million people, respectively.

But Chertoff said the Department of Agriculture has successfully contained other outbreaks, and the federal government is working on a plan to prevent or mitigate future ones.

U.S. farming practices might help prevent an outbreak if an infected wild fowl enters the country, he said.

“We keep a lot of our poultry business indoors, so we don’t have the kind of situation that a lot of countries have where there’s a lot of mixing of wild fowl and domestic fowl, but there would be a reasonable possibility of a domestic fowl outbreak,” he said.

The public, Chertoff said, should “react with alertness and with care, but not with panic.”

“We’ve dealt with these kinds of issues before, similar issues. We actually are working on a very specific plan to deal with this. We would obviously be monitoring for human health characteristics, but it would not be time to push the panic button.”

If an outbreak occurs, the government plans an ambitious campaign to educate the public, he said.

“It would be time to start to get acquainted with some of the challenges,” he said.|

Human Bird Flu Death Toll Climbs Above 100

Three deaths in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan have pushed the worldwide human death toll from bird flu to 101 people, Agence France Presse reported.

The World Health Organization has yet to verify the deaths, but Azerbaijani officials said the H5N1 virus was identified in the three victims from the southern Salyan region. Tests did not detect H5N1 in six other patients hospitalized with flu symptoms in the same area of Azerbaijan.

As bird flu continues to spread in various regions of the world, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said Monday that Americans won’t be able to count on a vaccine to protect them during the first six months of a pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

Leavitt said it would take at least six months to produce a vaccine to protect humans. That’s because the virus is changing and there’s no way to know in advance which strain may become capable of human-to-human transmission.

Once such a virus strain is identified, it will take time to test a vaccine to make sure it’s safe and then to mass-produce it, the AP reported.

“If we have a person-to-person, transmissible virus and we enter a pandemic condition, we will be operating without a vaccine for the first six months. We will be dependent upon traditional public health measures to contain and limit it,” Leavitt said at a news briefing.|

Israel confirms presence of deadly bird flu virus
Vets cull thousands of turkeys in effort to prevent spread of H5N1 strain

Updated: 1:30 p.m. ET March 18, 2006

KIBBUTZ EIN HASHLOSHA, Israel – Israeli vets on Saturday culled thousands of turkeys suspected of having the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, trying to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the Holy Land.

Late Saturday, Israel Channel Two TV reported the deadly strain had been officially confirmed at one of four suspected locations. Final test results for the other farming communities are expected early next week.

The vets will cull more than 200,000 birds in the next 48 hours, Dafna Yarisca, Agriculture Ministry spokeswoman, said.

Thousands of turkeys died in four farming villages—Ein Hashlosha, Holit, Sdeh Moshe and Nahshon—in southern and central Israel on Wednesday and Thursday.

Health and Agriculture ministry officials said initial tests led them to believe it was almost certainly the deadly strain of bird flu. The communities were isolated and the culling began early Saturday.

Health officials worldwide fear H5N1 could evolve into a virus that can be transmitted easily between people and become a global pandemic, but there has been no confirmation of this happening yet. At least 97 people have died from the disease worldwide, with most victims infected directly by sick birds.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, fearing the flu would spread into their territories, buried alive hundreds of chickens on Saturday after security services found they had been illegally smuggled into the West Bank.

Palestinian Health Ministry officials and police took the two truckloads of chickens to a trash heap south of the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, where they were dumped into an enormous hole. Bulldozers buried the chickens.

The ministry officials said they had taken blood samples from the chickens, but did not want to risk waiting two or three days for the results.

In the southern Israeli communal farm of Ein Hashlosha, veterinary officials donned in white protective suits poisoned the turkeys’ water early Saturday.

Several hours later the turkeys began dying. Bulldozers dug 50-foot deep holes nearby. The turkeys, piled onto shipping containers, were dumped in the holes and covered with lime powder to speed up the decomposing process.

Dr. Shimon Pokamonsky, head veterinarian for fowl diseases at the Agriculture Ministry, told Israel Radio that the flocks in Ein Hashlosha and Holit would be destroyed by Saturday evening. “We have started the process in Sdeh Moshe and in Nahshon,” he added.

The H5N1 strain has killed or forced the slaughter of tens of millions of chickens and ducks across Asia since 2003, and recently spread to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In Israel, four farm workers hospitalized Friday with flu symptoms have been given a clean bill of health, the Health Ministry said.

The Agriculture Ministry has quarantined the four infected farming communities, barring people from entering a 1.9 mile-radius. The ministry is also testing foul within a 6.2 mile-radius of those areas to ensure the flu has not spread, Pokamonsky said.

Residents in the areas have been asked to minimize their travels, and cars entering and leaving the towns are being disinfected, said Pesach Rosen, secretary of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, a communal farm.|

Egypt: Woman’s death is bird flu

Saturday, March 18, 2006; Posted: 9:53 p.m. EST (02:53 GMT)

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) — A 30-year-old Egyptian woman has died of bird flu, becoming the country’s first human victim of the virus, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

It said the woman from Qaloubiyah province, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Cairo, where the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain has been detected in poultry, was taken ill on Wednesday and died on Friday.

“They (doctors) took samples for analysis at the Ministry of Health laboratories … They confirmed she was infected with bird flu. She died on Friday morning,” a ministry statement said, adding the woman had been given Tamiflu, a drug used to treat suspected cases of bird flu.

Israel said on Saturday that four poultry workers suspected of having bird flu had tested negative for the virus, after the country detected its first cases of H5N1 in birds on Friday.

Bird flu has spread across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia and killed at least 98 people worldwide since 2003.

Although hard to catch, people can contract bird flu after coming into contact with infected birds. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that could pass easily between humans, triggering a pandemic in which millions could die.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that Egypt had reported its first human case of bird flu.

Dr Hassan al-Bushra, WHO’s regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance, said the H5N1 bird flu virus had been found in a blood sample taken from the woman, and that other samples were being tested for further confirmation.

Egypt reported its first cases of bird flu in poultry flocks last month. Media and state reports say H5N1 has now been detected in at least 17 of Egypt’s 26 governorates and the city of Luxor.

Egyptian farmers say the poultry market — worth about 17 billion Egyptian pounds ($3 billion dollars) and supporting up to 3 million people — has been devastated.
Poultry culled

Israeli workers culled thousands of turkeys and chickens but authorities said further tests were needed to confirm whether an outbreak on two farms was of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. The Health Ministry said four people who had been suspected of having bird flu had tested negative.

Israeli officials said poultry in the infected areas and their surroundings would be culled and the carcasses buried in underground pits.

In a rare act of cooperation, Israel was also testing dead fowl found in the West Bank and Gaza on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Serbia on Friday said three children and a teenager from a bird flu-affected area were in hospital after developing fever and flu-like symptoms.

Three women who died in Azerbaijan are also thought to be bird flu victims, but the WHO is awaiting the results of further tests before confirming the cause of death.

Bird flu has shaken poultry markets around the world as consumers have lost their appetites for chicken, with some countries reporting a drop in sales of up to 70 percent.

The EU banned poultry imports from Israel, the EU’s executive Commission said. The Newsavian flu,bird flu,bird flu migration,michele bachmannBy: Admin on: Mon 13 of March, 2006 21:38 EDT (12449+ Reads) The bird flu is inevitably headed towards the U.S. - www.pandemicflu.gov - Centers for Disease Control Here are a variety of articles of interest.| - Map Tracking Migration|Bird Flu Is Coming (ABC News) Ready or Not, Bird Flu Is...or androcracy...