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archived bird flu news June 2004

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Archived news about Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) in July of 2005.


Man hospitalized with bird flu symptoms in Kazakhstan

A 20-year-old man showing bird flu symptoms has been hospitalized in Kazakhstan's Pavlodar region, where 600 domestic geese died between July 20 and July 30 as a result of an outbreak of the disease in the area.

The patient, a poultry farm worker from the village of Golubovka, was later diagnosed with double pneumonia and taken to the intensive care unit of Pavlodar's regional infectious diseases hospital in a critical condition, sources in the region's emergency medicine center told Interfax.

"All birds that might have contracted the disease from the infected geese have already been slaughtered and the poultry farm has been disinfected. Virus samples have been sent to Kazakhstan's National Veterinary Center in Astana to establish a final diagnosis," Emergency Situations Ministry sources told Interfax.

The first deaths of birds in Golubovka were registered a week ago, Yersain Aitzhanov, chief of the Irtysh district's emergency situations department, told Interfax. A quarantine order has been imposed in the village.

"All necessary measures are being taken: the territory is being ploughed, additional fences have been built around the farm and a ban has been introduced on the delivery of poultry products and eggs from the village," Aitzhanov said.

2 more Vietnamese die of bird flu

Specimens from two young people in Vietnam, who died this week, have been tested positive to bird fluvirus, local newspaper Youth reported on Friday.

According tests by the Pasteur Institute in southern Ho Chi Minh City, the specimens from a 26-year-old patient from the city's Binh Tan district, who died on Wednesday, were positive to the virus strain H5, while those from a 24-year-old man from Cang Long district in southern Tra Vinh province, to the virus strain H5N1. The man named Le Hoang Anh died on Monday in a provincial hospital.

Relatives of the two patients said they ate chicken before exhibiting bird flu symptoms. Anh and his relatives ate dead chickens. The 26-year-old patient bought half of a semi-processed chicken at a local market, and cooked it.

Vietnam will start vaccinating fowls against bird flu viruses, including the deadly strain of H5N1, in northern Nam Dinh provinceand southern Tien Giang province on a trial basis in early August,and then do the same in other localities with high risks of outbreaks in October.

The country has so far this year detected bird flu outbreaks in35 cities and provinces nationwide, which have killed or led to the forced culling of 1.5 million fowls, mainly ducks and chickens.

Vietnam's Preventive Medicine Department, in mid-July, confirmed that a total of 60 local people from 23 localities had been infected with bird flu since late December 2004, of whom 19 died.

Avian flu strain that can infect humans found in Russia

Investigators have determined that a strain of avian flu virus infecting fowl in Russia is the type that can infect humans, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday.

The virus caused the deaths of hundreds of birds in a section of Siberia this month, but no human infections have been reported.

In a brief statement, the ministry identified the virus as avian flu type A H5N1.

"That raises the need for undertaking quarantine measures of the widest scope," the statement said. Ministry officials could not immediately be reached for elaboration.

Strains of bird flu have been hitting flocks throughout Asia and some human cases have been reported there. Since 2003, avian flu has killed at least 57 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, which reported its first three human deaths this month.

The outbreak in Russia's Novosibirsk region apparently started about two weeks ago when large numbers of chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys began dying. Officials say all dead or infected birds were incinerated. But it is unclear whether that would effectively stop the virus from spreading.

Earlier this week, Russia's chief government epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko, said the appearance of the virus in Russia could be due to migrating birds that rest on the Siberian region's lakes.

A recent report released by the journal Science said the finding of the H5N1 infection in migrant birds at Qinghai Lake in western China "indicates that this virus has the potential to be a global threat."

The reports echo concerns voiced by the World Health Organization, which urged China to step up its testing of wild geese and gulls. A WHO official estimated that the flu had killed more than 5,000 wild birds in western China.

The outbreak was first detected about two months ago in bar-headed geese at China's remote saltwater lake, which is a key breeding location for migratory birds that overwinter in southeast Asia, Tibet and India. The virus has hit that species the hardest, but also affects brown-headed gulls and great black-headed gulls.

Algae could aid in bird flu fight

Scientists "here" in Taiwan have discovered that extracts from chlorella, or green algae, and plantlike flagellates known as cryptomonadales can be used to fight bird flu by preventing the immune system from overreacting to the avian flu virus, health officials announced yesterday.

Experiments were conducted upon rabbits at the National Health Research Institute (NHRI) under the Department of Health and it was found that after being given the extracts, rabbits affected by bird flu were able to survive the disease.

Researchers used a variety of algae for their research but found that chlorella and cryptomonadales grown in Taiwan had the best effects.

Although successful in their experiments with rabbits, they acknowledged that they have not tested the effects of the extracts on humans, because there have been no human cases of bird flu in Taiwan.

The researchers said they will look for partners in the food processing industry to produce the algae extracts in the form of "health food."

Su Yi-jen (蘇益仁), an NHRI director in charge of clinical research, said that both the World Health Organization and the disease control authorities of the US are trying to find herbs that contain phycocyanin and peroxisomal proliferatoractivated receptor, which could be used to control the activity of the virus.

He also said that these two elements are found in the algae family and can be extracted and produced as health food, and he claimed that if there is not enough medicine if and when a bird flu epidemic strikes, the algae extracts can be distributed as a substitute.

Siberian bird flu alarms Russia

Bird flu has hit poultry in a Siberian village, in Russia's first case of the disease for more than 15 years.

More than 300 birds have died in Suzdalka, in the Novosibirsk region, and transportation of poultry to and from the village is now banned.

An epidemiologist in the region said no humans had contracted the disease, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The strain of the virus involved is not the H5N1 type, which has killed more than 50 people in Asia.

There are fears of a global pandemic stemming from the H5N1 type, if it mutates into a form which could spread easily from human to human.

Most of those who have died in Asia are believed to have contracted the virus directly from birds.

A spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry, Viktor Beltsov, said the virus type detected in Suzdalka, in Dovolenskiy district, was AH5. He did not give further details about it.

The virus has killed about 200 geese and 100 chickens, Russian officials told the website.

A team of vets and virologists has gone there to investigate.

Russia does not export poultry - it suffers a shortfall and has to import more than a million tonnes annually, mainly from the US, the EU and Brazil.

Indonesia checks farms for bird flu after deaths

Indonesia is to carry out extensive checks on farms within a 20-km (12-mile) radius of a house where three people are suspected to have died of bird flu, the agriculture minister said on Monday.

The deaths of a father and two young daughters in Tangerang on the outskirts of Jakarta in recent days, if confirmed, would be the first from bird flu in the world's fourth most populous country.

"If we find an animal contaminated by the virus, we will immediately clamp down on the area," minister Anton Apriyantono told reporters during a farm visit in Tangerang.

Authorities are concerned about possible human-to-human transmission as there was no evidence of contact with poultry in the human deaths.

More samples have been sent to a laboratory in Hong Kong for testing and results could take more than a week. A previous test showed signs of the H5N1 strain of the virus.

The mother of the two girls and her eldest son were under observation, but so far they appeared healthy.

Over the weekend President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on authorities to swiftly investigate the three deaths and ordered officials not to cover up their findings.

Last month, Indonesia reported its first human case of bird flu in a poultry worker, but the man did not develop symptoms and remains healthy.

The H5N1 strain has killed more than 50 people in Asia since 2003. More than 140 million chickens have been culled in the region to halt the disease, causing million of dollars in losses.

Bird flu found in 21 Indonesian provinces

Bird flu outbreak has affected 21 out of 30 provinces in Indonesia with the number of chickens killed by the virus totaling 9.53 million, a government official said here Thursday.

Bird flu cases have been found in at least 132 regencies and cities across Indonesia, said Mathur Riyadi, director general of veterinary with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Further investigation also indicated preliminary attack of birdflu in four other provinces, namely South Sulawesi, Jambi, East Kalimantan and North Sumatra, he said on the sidelines of a hearing with legislators at the parliament compound.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health confirmed that three people of the same family in the town of Tangerang have died recently from bird flu, becoming the country's first human death caused by the virus.

Avian Flu Virus Could Hide in Ducks

Changes in the avian flu virus have made it less deadly to ducks, potentially turning them into medical Trojan horses where the flu can hide while continuing to infect other birds and humans.

Waterfowl such as ducks have been natural hosts of this type of influenza before but rarely became ill from it until 2002, when an evolving strain killed of a large number of the birds.

Since then, however, the virus has continued to change, reverting to a form less dangerous to ducks but still able to cause illness and death in chickens and humans, according to a study in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"These results suggest that the duck has become the Trojan horse of Asian H5N1 influenza viruses," reported a research team led by Robert G. Webster of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

"The ducks that are unaffected by these viruses continue to circulate these viruses, presenting a pandemic threat," the team said.

The researchers infected domestic ducks with flu isolated at various times.

They found that ducks infected with H5N1 from 2003 or 2004 were contagious for 11-17 days, a longer transmission time than pre-2002 strains. The researchers also noted that the virus was transmitted primarily through the upper respiratory tract instead of through fecal matter as in older strains.

When flu virus from ducks that had survived the disease was administered to healthy animals, it no longer caused disease in ducks, but still caused disease in chickens.

Over the last two years, hundreds of millions of birds, including poultry and wild birds, have died or were slaughtered across Asia because of the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has also infected some humans, killing 51 people in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

The humans appear to have been infected by contact with birds. Experts fear that if the virus mutates into a form that could be passed easily from person to person it could spark a global pandemic, killing millions.

Manila says bird flu case may not be deadly strain

The Philippines said on Friday initial findings showed that ducks found to have bird flu in a remote town north of Manila may not be carrying the deadly strain of the virus.

Outgoing Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told reporters the ducks were suspected of having the H5N3 strain, although an Australian laboratory had yet to release final results of blood tests on the infected ducks.

"The disease is not yet here. There is no mortality," Yap said. "It's like you have HIV but you don't have AIDS."

The deadly strain of the avian influenza virus -- H5N1 -- has killed 40 people in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand and four in Cambodia. Indonesia is investigating if three people who died there succumbed to the virus. The World Health Organisation has warned the H5N1 strain could kill millions of humans if it mutates and is passed from person to person.

More than 140 million chickens have been killed in the region to try to halt the spread of bird flu, causing millions of dollars in losses.

Philippine health authorities have kept 230 ducks on the affected farm and set up a quarantine zone in the town of Calumpit in Bulacan province.

Yap said if the Australian findings confirmed the initial data on the virus, authorities would monitor the infected ducks until Sunday and then lift the quarantine if none died.

The government halted trading and sale of poultry for a week within the quarantine area, while exporters voluntarily stopped sale of poultry products to Japan.

The poultry industry in the Philippines is worth about 150 billion pesos ($2.7 billion) and employs 300,000 people.

The infected ducks were found to have a low strain of avian influenza on Friday after the owner applied to export "balut", a Filipino delicacy of unhatched duck embryos.

The ducks came from a farm located on the periphery of the Candaba swamp, a bird sanctuary frequented by migratory birds.

Scientists have said the spread of avian flu among migrating geese and other birds at a wildlife refuge in China meant the birds could carry the devastating virus out of Asia. This made bird flu even more of a global threat, they said in reports published jointly by the journals Science and Nature last week. ($1 = 55.8 pesos)

Bird flu becomes endemic in Thailand

The latest outbreak of avian influenza found in central Thailand showed the disease had become endemic in the region, said an official from Public Health Ministry.

The H5N1 virus was detected in the central province of Suphan Buri in every round of X- ray surveillance, newspaper Nation on Tuesday quoted Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of the Disease Control Department, as saying.

Fresh bird flu cases have been found in the province and hundreds of fowls have been culled, the Agriculture Ministry said on Sunday.

The official assured the public there is no need for panic, forno humans have been infected and the virus has not spread to other areas.

The Disease Control Department would continue surveying the area for 10 days, he added.

Thailand has never been clean of bird flu virus since the beginning of last year, when the first wave of avian influenza hit the kingdom.

Recurrent bird flu outbreak has dealt great impact on the kingdom's poultry industry, which supplied world's fourth largest poultry export shipment.

The latest outbreak also shelved the Agriculture Ministry's campaign to boost Thailand's fresh chicken exports in the second half of the year.

Japan bird flu outbreak contained

A ban on shipments of chickens from an area of Japan where two cases of bird flu were found last week is likely to be lifted later this month because the disease is being contained, a local agriculture official said on Tuesday.

"We will lift a limit on chicken shipments around July 27, unless we detect any new case of the disease," the official in Ibaraki prefecture, near Tokyo, said.

Chickens on affected farms are being culled while fowl in other farms tested negative for the illness, the official said.

The prefecture reported the first outbreak of the avian influenza in Japan since last year.

Since the "H5N2" strain of the bird flu virus was detected at a farm in Ibaraki on June 26, the government has restricted the movement of chickens in a 5-km (3-mile) radius around the farm to prevent the disease from spreading.

The same strain of the virus was confirmed last Friday at another chicken farm close to where the first case was found.

The official said the local government had checked all the chicken farms within the restricted area and found that fowl on five farms might have contracted the disease. Birds on the other 12 farms tested negative for the disease.

The government finished killing more than 38,000 birds by Monday and will cull an additional 90,000 chickens on the affected farms.

The government has already allowed shipments of eggs from farms where chickens tested negative for the disease.

The "H5N2" strain is weaker than the "H5N1" strain found in previous avian flu outbreaks in Japan early last year.

It was the first time the H5N2 strain has been detected in Japan, an agriculture ministry official said.

Bird flu returned to Japan last year for the first time in 79 years.

Between January and March in 2004, Japan had four outbreaks of bird flu, including one in Kyoto in western Japan in February 2004 that led to the disposal of some 240,000 chickens and 20 million eggs.

The H5N1 type first surfaced in poultry in Hong Kong and China eight years ago and has killed a total of more than 50 people in countries including Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

Philippines has suffered there first case of bird flu.

The Philippines announced today that it has suffered its first case of bird flu after ducks were found to be infected in a town north of Manila.

Health Secretary said samples had been sent to Australia to determine whether the strain of avian influenza was the same as the one that has killed dozens of people elsewhere in Asia.

Agriculture Secretary said that it would stop exports of poultry products to Japan following the discovery of the strain.

The H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus has killed 54 people of 154 infected in Asia so far. More than 140 million chickens have been killed in the region to halt bird flu, causing millions of dollars of losses.

WHO calms fears of bird flu virus mutation

Tests have yielded no evidence so far that the bird flu virus is mutating and becoming easier to transmit between humans, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

In May the WHO warned that the virus in Vietnam, the country with the highest number of cases, could be changing and becoming easier to pass on.

Such a mutation could herald the start of a long-predicted international flu pandemic capable of killing millions of people around the world.

But the Geneva-based body said in a brief statement that laboratory and epidemiological examinations of recent Vietnamese cases, carried out by an international team, had revealed no change to the virus.

"We did not find evidence to substantiate what was suggested in Manila," said WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng, referring to the meeting in the Philippines where the concerns first surfaced.

"They (the investigators) have not found any change in the virus," she said, but she added further tests would be needed.

"While these results are reassuring, further testing of clinical specimens will continue over the next few weeks to provide the most reliable possible foundation for risk assessment," the WHO statement said.

Cheng said that the tests would be carried out in laboratories in the United States, Britain and Japan.

A total of 39 people have died in Vietnam, 19 of them since the H5N1 virus returned in December. Bird flu, which broke out in Asia in late 2003, has also killed 12 Thais and four Cambodians.

The Vietnamese Health Ministry has launched a campaign to raise public awareness and clean up the environment between now and December to combat the poultry virus, which seems to thrive best in the winter but jumps to humans in the hot months.


Nearly Current overview from AP / WHO / CDC catching bird flu

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