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. Seventeenth Avian-Flu Death In Indonesia

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by Kate Walker
Oxford UK (UPI) Feb 06, 2006
Indonesia reported its 17th death from avian influenza this weekend.

The 38-year-old woman died in hospital in Bandung, West Java, on Saturday night. It is unclear whether she had come into prior contact with infected birds.

Local tests confirmed the presence of H5N1 avian influenza, but samples have been sent to a World Health Organization-affiliated laboratory in Hong Kong for confirmation of the results.

Meanwhile:

-- Iraq has reported an outbreak of bird flu in poultry in Sulaimaniya, the province that saw the country's first human death from avian influenza in January.

Reports from the Paris-based World Animal Health Organization (OIE) said that initial tests had indicated the presence of an H5 strain of avian flu in poultry flocks in two villages. Further tests to determine the N-subtype are under way.

Quoting information received from Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture, OIE said that the poultry outbreaks all occurred in backyard flocks of birds, rather than in commercial or farming stocks.

More than 2,500 birds have been culled in a program of precautionary measures that also include quarantines and restrictions of movement.

-- Bulgaria has confirmed the presence of avian flu in samples taken from dead birds found near the Danube River last week.

Laboratories in Sofia tested samples taken from 25 birds over the weekend. According to Zheko Baichev, head of the national veterinary service, the majority of the birds were killed by the extreme cold weather that has swept across Europe in the last two weeks.

Bulgarian veterinary experts have been assessing and searching high-risk areas for signs of infection and mass poultry deaths. New safety precautions have involved the closing of the wetlands where the birds were originally found, regulations governing the keeping of birds in the affected region and the delivery of Tamiflu to veterinary inspectors in high-risk areas.

"We are getting ready for a possible outbreak," said the head of the regional veterinary office in Dobrich, Alexander Alexandrov.

"People should forget about taking farm animals to water at the two lakes until spring, when the last duck is gone."

-- Immunopreparat, a Russian pharmaceutical firm, announced that its avian-influenza vaccine has been completed and has proved effective in laboratory tests on animals.

Human tests are to begin shortly on a group of 20 volunteers.

"I am sure that all three kinds of the vaccine will receive approval at the St. Petersburg Flu Research Institute, and will be recommended for wide-scale production," Makhamat Alsynbayev, Immunopreparat's director in the South Urals, told Mosnews.com.

When completed, the vaccine will be used in the obligatory vaccination of workers in poultry farms.

Source: United Press International

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Flood Hit Mozambique Braces For Rise In Cholera Deaths
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Flood-stricken Mozambique is bracing for a nationwide outbreak of cholera, which has already claimed two lives in the central Sofala region, the nation's ambassador to Portugal said Monday.

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