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Indonesia Sees 39th Bird Flu Death

File photo: Chickens in Surabaya, East Java are vaccinated against Avian flu. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Kate Walker
Oxford, England (UPI) Jun 22, 2006
An Indonesian teenager has died of avian influenza, marking that country's 39th death from the disease. Few details about the boy have been made public, other than the fact that he was 14 and came from south of Jakarta.

He died in Indonesia last week, and following tests conducted on samples of his lung fluid, a World Health Organization laboratory in Hong Kong confirmed that the cause of death was avian influenza.


- North China's Shanxi province has reported an outbreak of avian influenza in local poultry, sources from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture reported Monday.

Samples were taken from a number of dead birds following unexpected deaths in poultry farms across Changzhi city. The national bird-flu laboratory identified the presence of the H5N1 subtype of avian influenza in the samples and sounded the alarm.

In response to the outbreak - China has reported more than 30 since October 2005 - local veterinarians and animal-health experts have begun the widespread disinfecting and culling of the area's birds.

In addition to the animal-centered prevention measures, the Chinese government has stepped up its bird-flu education efforts, teaching local residents how best to protect themselves from the virus.

- Following last week's news that an H5 subtype of the avian-influenza virus had been detected in Canada's eastern Prince Edward Island, Canadian authorities have announced that they are investigating reports of another possible outbreak in a backyard poultry flock.

The birds in question could have been infected by the birds - or foot traffic - from the infected farm, but authorities have said that, at present, they do not appear to be ill. Samples have been taken as a precautionary measure, but test results are not yet available.

Test results are also pending on the original set of Canadian birds; while it is known that they suffered from an H5 subtype of avian influenza, it has yet to be determined whether the strain in question is H5N1, nor whether the H5 subtype that infected them was a North American or an Asian strain. The pathogenicity of the strain is also still to be determined.

The location of the second potentially infected flock has been placed under quarantine.

- Romania is still in the dark as to the origin of the emergence of a bird-flu outbreak at a Codlea poultry farm, and it looks as if the true source will never be known.

The Mediafax news agency reported Tuesday that while the Romanian authorities believe the virus to have been brought by wild birds from a lake in central Romania's Brasov County, not enough of the infected birds were caught for testing and sampling.

- Hungary is to begin testing a home-grown avian-influenza vaccine on 500 volunteers, reported Monday.

Omninvest, which developed the vaccine, said that an initial round of testing on 150 volunteers had proven the vaccine to be an effective preventative tool in the fight against bird flu. This additional round of testing is designed to allow for the official registration of the vaccine under EU rules.

Several Asian and Middle Eastern countries have pre-ordered large quantities of the vaccine, which is believed will retail at $38-44 per dose.

Omninvest announced in April that it had sufficient production capacity to protect all of Hungary in the event of the much-feared, yet potential, avian-flu pandemic.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
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China Reports New Bird Flu Outbreak
Beijing (AFP) Jun 20, 2006
China Monday announced a new bird flu outbreak, at poultry farms in its northern province of Shanxi. Samples taken after the chickens died in Changzi county tested positive for the H5N1 strain, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the agriculture ministry as saying.

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