Reports are coming from Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam of bird flu outbreaks resulting in the deaths of thousands of birds thus far. Egypt is reporting more human cases of illness caused by the disease.
There is confusion in Kathmandu, Nepal where hundreds of birds are reportedly becoming ill quickly and dying fast. Health authorities have been experiencing difficulty getting the proper permission to take samples to confirm the deaths are being caused by H5N1, and thus a bird cull has not occurred yet, although it is anticipated that this will change shortly.
One adult has reportedly contracted the virus (in Nepal).
In Bangladesh, the bird cull is well under way, with nearly 120,000 birds killed on one farm alone. After 400 chickens died suddenly on Saturday, a test confirmed bird flu, and most of Kazi Farm’s birds were killed. Thousands of eggs were destroyed as well. So far there have been no reports of human contraction of the virus, and the virus has been found only on the one farm. (Snip) It is not known if the virus has spread to other farming operations.
H5N1 has also been determined to be the cause of illness in a woman in Hanoi, Vietnam. An outbreak of the disease had occurred in a Vietnamese village in late February. Officials reported in early March the outbreak had been contained after thousands of birds were culled.
The deaths of thousands of chickens in Jambi, Indonesia in the past month have been confirmed as caused by the Avian flu. Officials in Jakarta are relocating illegal poultry slaughter houses in an attempt to curb the spread of H5N1. Backyard farming has also been banned. The death of one person in February was attributed to the bird flu in Jakarta, but the country has not released information on outbreaks of the disease.
Egypt is reporting more cases of human illness caused by bird flu, although it is not known how many birds have been affected.
Seven deaths have been attributed to the virus this year, with a total of 289 deaths since 2003. The WHO has long promoted Avian Flu as the possible source of a pandemic with the killing proportions of the influenza pandemics seen in the early 1900’s, although the pandemic has not materialized. While no one can safely predict how the H5N1 virus will mutate, there are fears that it will mutate into a virulently deadly form for humans in the near future.
Vietnamese scientists report “The swine flu A/H5N1 virus has mutated into seven antigen groups since it appeared in the country.”
• Bangladesh slaughters 117,000 birds over avian flu (Link)
• 4 swine flu deaths in Maharashtra, India toll rises to 1410 (Link)
• Bird flu spreading fast in Parasi (Link)
• CA: H1N1 virus widely seen to be tailing off in San Diego City (Link)
• MS: About 39,000 children, adults immunized against swine flu (Link)
• OH: Officials keep guard up despite little flu activity (Link)
• TX: Houston Has Steady Increase in Swine Flu (Link)
• TX: Over 100 cases of Type A flu in Comal County (in 2010) (Link)
• Earth Talk 3/14/2010 (Link)
The WHO’s Mar 12 statement contained new details about the woman’s illness and death, which were first announced by Egypt’s health ministry on Mar 11. The woman from Qualubia governorate, which is about 30 miles north of Cairo, was pregnant. She was hospitalized on Mar 5 and was treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) but died on Mar 9.
The 18-month-old boy is from Kafr El Sheikh governorate, about 83 miles north of Cairo, the WHO report said He was hospitalized on Mar 2 and received oseltamivir; he is in stable condition.
Investigations revealed that both the woman and child had been exposed to sick and dead poultry.