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Friday, July 29, 2005

Heads Up!

A gift from a dear friend (.wmv file).

Okay. Now, if that didn't shake you up a little, here's today's bird flu (H5N1) update. The reports of H5N1 in Novosibirsk, Russia prompted a massive quarantine. However, the virus was almost certainly spread by migrating wild birds, so the quarantine may delay but can't prevent further spread. Newsday/AP:
Investigators have determined that a strain of bird 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.
Worse yet, earlier there were three human deaths in Jakarta from the virus. It was three members of one family who lived in the suburbs (two children and their father). The only evidence they have found is that pigs around the area seem to have been infected - however, the only local source of infection that has been found was a pet bird across the street. (Recombinomics) (WHO):
Extensive epidemiological and environmental studies are ongoing around this family cluster. The Minister of Agriculture stated that laboratory results detected H5-infected bird faeces in a bird cage opposite side of the road of the family's house; cloacal and throat swabs of the pet bird inside the cage were negative for H5. This is the first, and, thus far, the only, indication of a possible source of exposure. Other environmental sampling was negative.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to monitor over 300 contacts. None of the contacts have shown any symptoms to date. Seroprevalence results are still pending. Surveillance has been intensified in affected areas and throughout the country. Forty-four referral hospitals have been identified and are being prepared to receive possible cases. Health education campaigns are being conducted nationwide.
Again, this appears to be a very contagious virus. Earlier Boxun reports from China also commented on strains of the virus that were infecting entire ponds through virus-laden feces. Last year over 100 tigers died from the virus.

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