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. FluWrap: Worries Over Asia And Tamiflu

AFP file photo of a veterinary officer supervising an authorized poultry slaughter house. Photo: AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam.

United Nations NY (UPI) Nov 1, 2005
Thirteen Vietnamese provinces have now reported avian-flu outbreaks in the latest wave of the pandemic, although the last three appear to involve a relatively small number of birds.

"Between October 1 and November 14, bird flu outbreaks have occurred in 61 communes in 13 provinces," said Nguyen Van Thong from Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Information.

In an effort to stem the tide of the virus, Vietnam has been vaccinating all domesticated birds in the country. Recent outbreaks indicate that the efforts, which have thus far seen 109 million birds vaccinated, have not been as successful as originally hoped.

Also:

-- China has confirmed two further outbreaks of avian influenza in the western province of Xinjiang.

The outbreaks were first reported to Chinese officials on Nov. 9, and it was confirmed Tuesday that both had been caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza. The two outbreaks were 950 miles apart.

Some 320,000 birds have been killed in the vicinity of the two outbreaks, and there are currently no indications that either outbreak has led to avian-flu infection in humans.

-- The Chinese government has announced that it will finance the vaccination of all 14 billion birds in the country in an attempt to halt the spread of avian influenza. China's birds account for 21 percent of the global poultry total.

-- Japan has expressed concern over the safety of Tamiflu, after reports that two teenaged boys died after taking the drug.

One of the boys jumped in front of a truck after taking Tamiflu, while the other fell from a high building. Manufacturer Roche said it has no indication the drug causes such problems.

-- More than 50 birds have died of what is believed to have been avian influenza in quarantine in Britain.

While this information initially appears alarming, there is little cause for concern. An investigation into the deaths revealed that the infection most likely came from a shipment of mesias, but no other species appear to have been infected.

Additionally, all of the birds died while still in quarantine, an indication that the system works.

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Credibility Concerns May Make China Coy About Disclosing HIV Data: Expert
Beijing (AFP) Nov 01, 2005
China may be keeping new estimates for the number of HIV infections secret because they are lower than previously published figures and could undermine the government's credibility, a US researcher said Tuesday.

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