Claim: 300 people have died of bird flu in China

November 25th, 2005

A Japanese scientist is making the sensational claim that over 300 people have died of bird flu in China (rather than the two officially tallied).

A respected Japanese scientist, who works with the World Health Organization, says 300 people have died of H5N1 bird flu in China, including seven cases caused by human-to-human transmission.

He says he was given the information in confidence by Chinese colleagues who have been threatened with arrest if they disclosed the extent of the problem.

The allegations, which he revealed at a meeting in Germany, contrast sharply with China’s official position. It reports three confirmed cases of H5N1 in people: a boy in Hunan province who recovered, and two women who died in Anhui province, the latest of which was announced on Thursday. There may be another probable case in Hunan.


Editor’s note: this scientist is not some crackpot looking to sell a book. He’s a respected scientist with the World Health Organization. China has a history of misleading the world about the status of internal issues (e.g. SARS). Many experts have been expressing surprise and skepticism at China’s low bird flu counts. Would it really surprise anyone if this report were true?

Bird flu patient flees quarantine in Vietnam

November 25th, 2005

A man who checked into a hospital in southern Vietnam with bird flu-like symptoms fled quarantine.

Meanwhile, a man was admitted yesterday to the General Hospital in southern Tien Giang province with a high fever and difficulty breathing, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper said. He was transferred to an isolation ward, left to buy personal items and never returned, it said.

The man told doctors he slaughtered his sick chickens a week before falling ill, the newspaper said. Officials in his home province of Ben Tre have been trying to persuade the man to return to the hospital, it said.


Editor’s note: quarantine… left to buy personal items… I don’t get it…

Bird flu spread throughout Jakarta

November 25th, 2005

Bird flu has been found running rampant through backyard farms throughout Indonesia’s capital city.

“It is very serious,” said Indonesian Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono. “Based on our research, the virus has spread all over the city” of Jakarta. The findings were announced after random samples were gathered from backyard farms throughout the sprawling capital. Authorities on Friday also destroyed 400 fowl in a residential area of Jakarta near the home of a young girl who died from the disease.


Chinese vaccine a year away

November 25th, 2005

The good news is that China is developing a vaccine for bird flu in humans and has approved human trials.

The bad news is that it is at least a year away from being available to the public.

“It is not decided yet when the human trials will begin. We just got approval on November 22 by the State Food and Drug Administration and now we are adjusting our research schedule according to the approval,” Yin said.

Initial human testing on 100 volunteers will take 210 days and then there will be a production cycle of 128 days before the vaccine is ready for market, said Yin from his office near the university district in northwest Beijing.


Editor’s note: I’m not necessarily a vaccine expert, but I’m curious as to how one can develop a vaccine for a form of a disease that does not yet exist.

China confirms 2nd bird flu death

November 23rd, 2005

China confirmed a second person has died from bird flu.

The 35-year-old farmer identified only by her surname, Xu, died Tuesday after developing a fever and pneumonia-like symptoms following contact with sick and dead poultry, the Health Ministry said.


Latest human cases tally

November 22nd, 2005

H5N1 has killed 67 people in Asia since 2003.

4 in Cambodia
1 in China
7 in Indonesia
13 in Thailand
42 in Vietnam


Editor’s note: total known cases is 130, which yields a very high mortality rate. However, it is not known how many cases might have occured that have not been reported.

Tamiflu, Masks called “useless”

November 22nd, 2005

An infectious disease expert in New Zealand has called stockpiling masks and Tamiflu as “futile.”

Editor’s note: governments around the world continue to stockpile both masks and Tamiflu.

More bird flu in Canada

November 22nd, 2005

A second bird flu outbreak has been reported in Canada.

The influenza was discovered during tests of birds at farms within 5 km (3 miles) of a facility near Abbotsford, British Columbia, where a duck was found last week to have the disease, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said.

The new farm was associated with the original farm, and an official said the infection may have been spread by equipment traveling between the operations.


Editor’s note: The US has suspended imports of birds from British Columbia due to the outbreak.

China vows to fight harder

November 22nd, 2005

China pledged to step up anti-bird flu measures, calling it a “serious epidemic.”

China called bird flu a “serious epidemic” and pledged to step up measures to fight the deadly virus Tuesday as officials announced three new outbreaks of the disease in poultry in the country.

The outbreaks were detected last week in western and southern China, resulting in the killing of nearly 175,000 birds, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The latest outbreaks brings the total for China in recent weeks to 20.

A cook prepares ducks for one of the most famous Chinese dish
A cook prepares ducks for one of the most famous Chinese dish “Peking Duck” Tuesday Nov. 22, 2005 in Shanghai, China. China will step up measures to combat its “serious epidemic” of bird flu but has no plan to shut its borders to contain the disease, said a foreign ministry official Tuesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) (Eugene Hoshiko - AP)

The massive nation _ where billions of poultry are being vaccinated _ has reported one human fatality and one suspected death.

(Washington Post)

Expects concerned about bird flu/AIDS interaction

November 17th, 2005

Some experts are concerned that the H5N1 virus could mutate more readily if it infects someone with a depressed immune system, such as someone afflicted with AIDS.

He said experience with immune-compromised cancer patients at his hospital had showed they are unable to clear normal flu virus from their systems, and can shed copies of the virus for weeks.

The same could be expected of AIDS patients coming down with H5N1, he said.

“We’re all very worried by the prospect,” he told the BBC.

Reproducing over a long period inside a human would be the ideal conditions for more infectious forms of the virus to develop.

H5N1 has not reached East Africa yet, but it is the final destination for many birds currently migrating from infected areas.

(BBC News)

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