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. FluWrap: Tourist Negative For Bird Flu

The parrot's death has sparked arguments in the United Kingdom over current quarantining practices, and this is sure to add more fuel to the fire.
by Kate Walker, UPI Correspondent
Reunion (UPI) Oct 27, 2005
One of three tourists from the French Indian Ocean island Reunion has tested negative for bird flu despite fears he contracted it while on a trip to Thailand. Results for two other tourists are pending.

The men have been suffering flu-like symptoms since the trip, which included a visit to a bird park.

Thai officials decried the notion that the possible infection may have had its source in a single visit to the park. "It is impossible that they could have been infected just because they went to the zoo," claimed Charal Trinvuthipong, assistant to the Thai agriculture minister.

"Results of tests for two other French tourists also suspected of contracting the virus will not be announced until Friday," UPI's Elizabeth Bryant reported from Paris. "But while they too may test negative, a sense of 'sooner or later' hangs heavily in the chilly European fall air."

On another front, Taiwanese tests have shown that the parrot that died in British quarantine last week was unlikely to have become infected with avian influenza in Taiwan.

The parrot's death has sparked arguments in the United Kingdom over current quarantining practices, and this is sure to add more fuel to the fire.

Forty samples taken from birds at the farm where the parrot was quarantined have all tested negative for H5N1 antibodies, indicating it may have become infected with the disease in Suriname, its country of origin.

In other developments:

-- Following the news that India has sought permission from Roche to produce Tamiflu under license, Vietnam has announced that it may begin production of the drug this quarter if the threat of a pandemic becomes more pronounced.

Unlike India, however, Vietnam has alluded to underhanded methods of production should the license application be denied.

"We're negotiating with Roche (about getting permission from the Swiss pharmaceutical producer to make a version of Tamiflu). However, if the pandemic occurs, Vietnam will apply an emergency regulation on producing Tamiflu. That means we have the rights to do it in emergency case without the prior approval of Roche," said Cao Minh Quang, director of the Vietnamese Health Ministry's Drug Management Department. "If Roche doesn't supply us with materials for Tamiflu production, we'll seek other ways of having them."

-- Amidst fears that Africa will be the next place to be hit by avian influenza -- and that conditions on the continent may make an outbreak there more socially and economically damaging than in Southeast Asia -- East African nations have announced a meeting to discuss regional strategy, to be held in Rwanda in November.

-- Following last week's announcement that animal-health experts will begin house-to-house searches for signs of avian influenza, Indonesian officials have unveiled plans to include veterinary students in the venture.

The students will provide manpower to what will be a period of exhaustive searching, while United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization experts will provide training, increasing Indonesia's ability to combat the spread of the disease.

-- Dead birds found in both Croatia and Germany have tested positive for avian influenza, further confirming the virus's spread in Europe.

Although India has not yet discovered any cases of bird flu, samples have been taken for testing from a number of dead birds found in West Bengal. Officials are concerned that India's position on migratory paths puts it at risk of transmission.

-- The death of a 12-year-old girl from flu-like symptoms in a Chinese village where birds are confirmed to have died from bird flu has not been linked with the disease, and it is believed she died from fever.

Officials in Beijing say they have received no information regarding the case and that her body has not yet been autopsied.

-- Roast chicken was distributed to people in central Rome Wednesday in an effort to persuade the public that there is no danger in eating cooked poultry.

All rights reserved. 2005 United Press International. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by United Press International.. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of United Press International.

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China Steps Up Efforts Against Bird Flu After Week's Third Outbreak
Beijing, China (AFP) Oct 26, 2005
China mobilized roadside sterilization stations and inspected markets Wednesday in stepped-up measures to tackle bird flu after the third outbreak in a week.
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