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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Asian AI In Alaska/AI In India, China, etc.

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    Posted: December 26 2008 at 10:59pm
It is true.... not directly coming from Asia....from our own back yard.
Wild birds carry avian flu viruses to North America: Report, Reuters
Birds can carry dozens of different flu viruses, some dangerous and some not. So far there is no evidence any have carried H5N1 with them to North America from Asia.
A Likely Candidate.......?

Listen Here-
The breeding habitat is fresh and salt-water wetlands throughout much of the world. The subspecies N. n. hoactli breeds in North and South America from Canada as far south as Patagonia, and the nominate race N. n. nycticorax in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Black-crowned Night Herons nest in colonies on platforms of sticks in a group of trees, or on the ground in protected locations such as islands or reedbeds. Three to eight eggs are laid.
This heron is migratory outside the tropical parts of its extensive range, where it is a permanent resident.
The North American population winters in Mexico, the southern United States, Central America, and the West Indies, and the Old World birds winter in tropical Africa and southern Asia.

Black-crowned Night Heron tests positive for H5N1 virus
    The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said today (February 1) that the Black-crowned Night Heron found earlier in Southern District was confirmed to be H5N1 positive after a series of laboratory tests.
The bird carcass was collected on January 28 at the Ocean Park, Southern District. The Black-crowned Night Heron is a common resident and winter visitor to Hong Kong.
    A department spokesman reminded people to observe good personal hygiene.
They should avoid personal contact with wild birds or live poultry and clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them," he said.
Ends/Friday, February 1, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:16
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Male%20and%20female%20%28left-right%29Call %28help·info%29
 Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
 author- J.M.Garg


The northern pintail, Anas acuta, is a large dabbling duck that breeds in northern areas of North America (including Utah), Asia, and Europe. Many northern pintails migrate south for the winter, and some of the largest concentrations non-breeding (wintering) pintails occur near Utah's Great Salt Lake.
Northern pintails prefer to breed near shallow wetland areas that are vulnerable to drought and human impacts from agriculture. Consequently, breeding conditions for northern pintails are often poor, and northern pintail numbers have dramatically declined in Utah and across North America.
Compounding the problem is the fact that northern pintail clutch size is small, with hens usually producing only six to nine eggs per clutch. The decline in northern pintail numbers has lead to increasingly strict hunting regulations for the species.
Northern pintails are generalist feeders, with a diet consisting of invertebrates, aquatic vegetation, grains, small fishes, tadpoles, and other items. 

The Northern Pintail has a large range, estimated at 10 million square kilometres (0.4-3.8 million sq mi), and a population estimated at 6.1–7.7 million individuals. It is therefore not believed to meet the IUCN Red List threshold criterion of a population decline of more than 30% in ten years or three generations, and is evaluated as Least Concern.[1]

Feeding male

In the Palaearctic, breeding populations are declining in much of the range, including its stronghold in Russia, and are otherwise stable or fluctuating.[34]

Pintails in North America at least have been badly affected by avian diseases, with the breeding population falling from more than 10 million in 1957 to 3.5 million by 1964. Although the species has recovered from that low point, the breeding population in 1999 was 30% below the long-term average, despite years of major efforts focused on restoring the species. In 1997, an estimated 1.5 million water birds, the majority being Northern Pintails, died from avian botulism during two outbreaks in Canada and Utah.[22]

See Map... of Northern Pintail In North America
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Swans, Geese, Ducks - Anseriformes
Charadriiformes - Shorebirds, Gulls, Puffins
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA

Received 21 July 2008;
revised 3 October 2008;
accepted 16 October 2008.
Available online 6 November 2008.


Wild birds in the Orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes are the natural reservoir for avian influenza (AI) viruses.

Transmission within these aquatic bird populations occurs through an indirect fecal-oral route involving contaminated water on shared aquatic habitats. In order to better understand the influence that aquatic environments exert on AI transmission and maintenance in the wild-bird reservoir system, we determined the duration of persistence for 12 wild-bird origin AI viruses under natural ranges of pH, salinity, and temperature.
Viral persistence was measured using a laboratory-based distilled water model system. The AI viruses varied in their response to each of the examined variables, but, generally, the viruses were most stable at a slightly basic pH (7.4–8.2), low temperatures (<17 °C), and fresh to brackish salinities (0–20,000 parts per million (ppm)).
Alternatively, the AI viruses had a much shorter duration of persistence in acidic conditions (pH < 6.6), warmer temperatures (>32 °C), and high salinity (>25,000 ppm).
The results of this research suggest that the pH, temperature, and salinity in natural aquatic habitats can influence the ability of AI viruses to remain infective within these environments.
Furthermore, these results provide insight into chemical and physical properties of water that could enhance or restrict AI virus transmission on an aquatic bird habitat.
There remains considerable uncertainty regarding the role of wild birds in the spread of highly pathogenic
H5N1 across Asia and Europe. Given the occurrence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in Asia,
the question remains: what is the likelihood that this particular virus will disperse to North America via
wild birds? For this transmission to be completed, two things have to occur (1) birds have to cross the
inter-continental boundary (one or both ways), and (2) during periods of population overlap, there has to
be successful transmission of the virus, either within or among species. The probability of this series of
events occurring is a topic of debate. Certain species are known to regularly cross the inter-continental
boundary, but it is uncertain what the likelihood of them exchanging viruses with the resident population
might be. However, examination of exchange rates of viruses other than H5N1 subtype could be a useful
model for predicting the probability of H5N1 dispersal from Asia to North America via wild birds.
Figure 1. Generalized distribution map of Northern Pintails in North
America and Asia.
Northern Pintails are a good
candidate species for
consideration of virus exchange
rates. Northern Pintails are
fairly ubiquitous in both North
America and Asia and show
generally similar patterns of
wintering in temperate areas
and breeding in the sub-arctic
and arctic zones (Alaska
Interagency HPAI working
Group 2006; Figure 1).
Satellite telemetry data indicate
that Northern Pintails wintering
in North America regularly
migrate to Asia (Miller et al.
2005). It is uncertain if a
similar relationship exists for
Northern Pintails originating in
Asia. Further, Northern Pintails
can be captured in large
numbers facilitating adequate
sample size for characterization of virus populations. Finally, Northern Pintails have been shown to carry a wide variety of viruses facilitating comparison of virus populations amongst continental populations of
Population status
North America – The North American
breeding population is currently estimated at
approximately 3 million birds. The majority
of these birds breed in the prairie pothole
region of the U.S. and Canada as well as
Alaska (Bellrose 1976). The majority of the
North American population winters along
the Pacific Flyway with the largest
concentration in California.
Japan – Up to 500,000-1,000,000 Northern
Pintails winter in eastern and southeastern
Asia with the largest known wintering
groups occurring in Japan (Figure 2;
Perennou et al. 1994, Wild Bird Society of
Japan 1992, Rose and Scott 1994,
Miyabayashi and Mundkur 1999). Other
important east Asian wintering areas exist in
China and South Korea (Figure 2;
Miyabayashi and Mundkur 1999). The
largest winter concentrations in Japan occur on the northwestern portion of Honshu in the Aomori, Akita,
and Yamagata prefectures. However, Northern Pintails winter throughout the islands of Honshu,
Shikoku, and Kyushu (Perennou et al. 1994).
S. Korea
N. Korea
S. Korea
N. Korea
Figure 2. Locations of major wintering and staging
areas for Northern Pintails in eastern Asia . Figure
adapted from Miyabayashi and Mundkur (1999).
Band recoveries indicate that most Northern Pintails which winter in Japan originate from nesting areas
on the Chukotka and Kamchatka peninsulas in eastern Russia (Yamashina Institute for Ornithology 1985,
Bianki and Dobrynina 1997). Twenty-two Northern Pintails that have been marked on breeding or
molting areas in North America have also been recovered during winter in Japan (Yamashina Institute for
Ornithology 2004, Nicolai et al. 2005). Conversely, there are at least 37 winter recoveries in North
America of Northern Pintails that were banded at wintering sites in Japan (Yamashina Institute for
Ornithology 2004). Furthermore, some Northern Pintails migrate from wintering areas in North America
to nesting and molting areas in eastern Russia (Rienecker 1987, Miller et al. 2005), where they could
come into contact with birds that migrate from Asian wintering sites. Thus transcontinental exchange of
avian-borne pathogens could occur through (1) mixing of North American and Asian migrants on shared
summer habitats in eastern Russia, (2) Northern Pintails that migrate between North American nesting
areas and Asian wintering areas, or (3) birds that shift wintering sites from Asia to North America.
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H5N1 found in Canada
In two wild ducks
Is this like being... a little pregnant?

Bird flu found in Canada, H5N1, but not Asian form
Article Date: 20 Nov 2005
Canadian authorities have confirmed that two wild ducks have tested positive for the H5N1
bird flu virus strain - however, it is not the same as the virulent one that has killed so many birds in Asia.
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H5N1 found in Canada
3 yrs later...
"Captain, I've set up a forcefield around the USA, no way can H5N1 penetrate here."
BIg%20eyes%20-%20Click%20image%20to%20download.                                Big%20head%20-%20Click%20image%20to%20download.                   Alien%20in%20jar%20-%20Click%20image%20to%20download.
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Only Canada?



Expect H5N1 virus in Canada soon: UN

Last Updated: Thursday, March 9, 2006 | 1:35 PM ET

CBC News
The dangerous H5N1 form of the bird flu virus could reach Canada and the rest of North America within six to 12 months, according to the United Nations' top avian flu preparedness official.

Dr. David Nabarro said wild birds will likely bring the virus from West Africa across the North Atlantic and into the Arctic this spring.

"Birds carrying the virus along the West African-Atlantic flyway will move into the area of Greenland and Northern Canada and then, probably towards the latter parts of this year, move down into the American continent," he told CBC News on Thursday.

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Migratory Ducks Carry Bird Flu From Asia to Alaska
RESTON, Virginia, October 27, 2008 (ENS) - Wild migratory birds appear to be important carriers of avian influenza viruses from continent to continent, according to new research that scientists say has important implications for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus surveillance in North America.

Migratory bird species, including many waterfowl and shorebirds, that frequently carry low pathogenic avian influenza and migrate between continents may carry Asian strains of the virus along their migratory pathways to North America.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska and the University of Tokyo, have found genetic evidence that northern pintail ducks carried Asian forms of avian influenza to Alaska.

"Although some previous research has led to speculation that intercontinental transfer of avian influenza viruses from Asia to North America via wild birds is rare, this study challenges that," said Chris Franson, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and co-author of the study.

Most previous studies examined bird species that are not transcontinental migrants or were from mid-latitude locales in North America, regions far removed from sources of Asian strains of avian influenza, Franson said.

For this study, scientists with the USGS, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, and Alaska native communities, obtained samples from more than 1,400 northern pintails from locations throughout Alaska.

Samples containing viruses were analyzed and compared to virus samples taken from other birds in North America and Eastern Asia where northern pintails are known to winter.

Researchers capture northern pintail ducks at Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma, Japan. (Photo courtesy USGS Alaska Science Center)
The scientists observed that nearly half of the low pathogenic avian influenza viruses found in wild northern pintail ducks in Alaska contained at least one of eight gene segments that were more closely related to Asian than to North American strains of bird flu.

None of the samples were found to contain completely Asian-origin viruses and none were highly pathogenic.

The low pathogenic form of the disease commonly causes only mild symptoms such as ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production, and may easily go undetected.

The highly pathogenic form is far more dramatic. It spreads very rapidly through poultry flocks, causes disease affecting multiple internal organs, and has a mortality that can approach 100 percent, often within 48 hours.

Under the crowded conditions of intensive poultry farming, some variants of the H5 and H7 viral subtypes derived from wild birds can evolve into highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses.

It was a highly pathogenic form of the H5N1 bird flu virus that spread across Asia to Europe and Africa over the past decade, causing the culling of hundreds of millions of chickens and ducks, and the deaths of 245 people, raising concerns of a possible human pandemic.

Avian influenza viruses do not normally infect humans but there have been instances of certain highly pathogenic strains causing severe respiratory disease in humans. In most cases, the people infected had been in close contact with infected poultry or with objects contaminated by their feces.

Still, there is concern that the virus could mutate to become more easily transmissible between humans, raising the possibility of an influenza pandemic.

In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released results of a study suggesting that some North American avian influenza A H7 virus strains have properties that might enhance their potential to infect humans and their potential to spread from human to human.

"We know that influenza viruses are constantly changing and that is why it's so important to watch them carefully," explained Dr. Jessica Belser, CDC lead author on the project. "In this study, we discovered that some recently identified avian influenza A H7 viruses have some properties that could enhance their potential to infect people and possibly spread among people."

The role of migratory birds in moving the highly pathogenic virus to other geographic areas has been a subject of disagreement among scientists that focused on how likely it is for H5N1 to disperse across continents via wild birds.

For this study, the researchers chose northern pintails because they are fairly common in North America and Asia, they are frequently infected by low pathogenic avian influenza, and they are known to migrate between North America and Asia.

In addition to the samples from more than 1,400 ducks, the scientists utilized satellite telemetry in their research. In February 2007, biologists from the Alaska Science Center worked with Japanese scientists to mark 27 northern pintail ducks with satellite transmitters at Lakes Izunuma-Uchinuma in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan. In February 2008, this international research team marked 52 pintails with satellite transmitters. Pintails were again marked at Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma as well as at Gosho Reservoir in the Iwate Prefecture. An additional sample of pintails will be marked in 2009, the final year of the study.

"This kind of genetic analysis - using the low pathogenic strains of avian influenza virus commonly found in wild birds - can answer questions not only about the migratory movements of wild birds, but the degree of virus exchange that takes place between continents, provided the right species and geographic locations are sampled," said John Pearce, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS Alaska Science Center and co-author of the study.

"This research validates our current surveillance sampling process for highly pathogenic avian influenza in Alaska and demonstrates that genetic analysis can be used as an effective tool to further refine surveillance plans across North America, said Pearce.

The study is published this week in the journal "Molecular Ecology."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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Website for USGS northern pintail avian influenza research:

Implications of the Research:

  • Migratory bird species, including many waterfowl and shorebirds, that frequently carry low pathogenic avian influenza and migrate between continents may carry Asian strains of the virus along their migratory pathways to North America.
  • USGS researchers found that nearly half of influenza viruses isolated from northern pintail ducks in Alaska contained at least one of eight virus genes that were more closely related to Asian than North American strains.  None of the samples contained completely Asian-origin viruses and none were highly pathogenic forms that have caused deaths of domestic poultry and humans.
  • The central location of Alaska in relation to Asian and North American migratory flyways may explain the higher frequency of Asian lineages observed in this study in comparison to more southerly locations in North America.  Thus, continued surveillance for highly pathogenic viruses via sampling of wild birds in Alaska is warranted.
Genetics Provide Evidence for the Movement of Avian Influenza Viruses from Asia to North
America via Migratory Birds
Released: 10/27/2008 11:49:09 AM
Future surveillance for avian influenza in wild birds should include the type of genetic analyses used in this study to better understand patterns of migratory connectivity between Asia and North America and virus

click%20for%20larger%20image;%20see%20caption%20for%20details   click%20for%20larger%20image;%20see%20caption%20for%20details
A male Northern Pintail duck in Japan. Photo courtesy of the USGS   Dr. Hiroyoshi Higuchi (left), Mr. Ken-ichi Tokita (right), and other cooperators from the University of Tokyo, work with USGS scientists to attach a satellite transmitter to the backs of Northern Pintail Ducks on wintering areas of Northern Honshu, Japan. Transmitters are used to evaluate their movements, migration, and areas of overlap with North American Northern Pintails. Photo courtesy of USGS
click%20for%20larger%20image;%20see%20caption%20for%20details   click%20for%20larger%20image;%20see%20caption%20for%20details
A flock of wintering northern pintail ducks takes flight in Northern Honshu, Japan. Photo courtesy of USGS   A flock of wintering northern pintail ducks in Northern Honshu, Japan. Photo courtesy of USGS
A resident of Iwate Prefecture feeds a wintering flock of northern pintail ducks and Whooper Swans in Northern Honshu, Japan. In spring of 2008, both of these species occurred on wetlands in Japan where the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza was detected and several swans died from exposure to the virus. Photo courtesy of USGS
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The districts hit by bird flu are:
Kamrup (Metro),
Kamrup (Rural),
Barpeta and
Culling is being carried out in about 200 villages in the six districts.
VIDEO..  Town of Dibrugarh

300,000 people in bird flu-hit Assam under surveillance

Guwahati, Dec 12 (IANS) Health authorities in Assam have placed under surveillance about 300,000 people in bird flu affected areas with reports of some 150 people suffering from fever and upper respiratory infections, fuelling fears of the deadly virus spreading to humans, officials said Friday.
"Isolation facilities have been strengthened to admit and treat suspect cases although no cases of influenza like illness with history of contact with infected poultry have been detected so far,"
Parthajyoti Gogoi, regional director (northeast) of the central health and family welfare department, told IANS.
"About 150 people were treated for fever and upper respiratory tract infections in bird flu hit areas. We have put the patients in isolation, although the symptoms do not indicate influenza like illness," he added.
The bird flu virus has spread across six Assam districts, with authorities claiming it has assumed an epidemic proportion. More than 250,000 poultry has been culled in the past two weeks in Assam and an estimated 150,000 more are ordered to be killed.
Health authorities have sounded a general alert fearing strains of the deadly bird flu virus spreading to humans and sparking a pandemic in the state.
"We are really worried about the bird flu virus spreading to humans as the strains transmit rapidly. We don’t know for sure if our health department would be able to cope if such a thing happens," said Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
"We want the people of Assam to cooperate with the veterinary department so that the culling operations are carried out properly. Otherwise, we might face a disaster," he added.
The districts hit by bird flu are Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Barpeta and Chirang.
The poultry targeted includes ducks and chickens. Authorities have imposed a ban on sale of poultry and poultry products in most parts of Assam after the bird flu outbreak.
"Additional logistics are being mobilised and we are monitoring the situation of a daily basis," Gogoi said.
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H5N1 was Confirmed in in West Bengal's Malda District


155 poultry culled in West Bengal's bird flu-hit Malda

December 17th, 2008 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS -
Kolkata, Dec 17 (IANS) Full-fledged operations to tackle bird flu have began in West Bengal's Malda district, where the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus was confirmed Monday, but only 155 poultry have been culled due to fog and inadequate manpower, a government official said Wednesday. “
We could cull only 155 poultry Tuesday - the first day of the culling operation -
at Narhatta and Satgheria villages under the English Bazar police station in Malda
because of fog and bad weather condition. Also, the number of workers for distribution of compensation was inadequate, Dilip Chakraborty, principal secretary of state Animal Resources Development (ARD) department, told IANS Wednesday.
However, Chakraborty said the culling operation are now full-fledged.
"There are adequate number of workers Wednesday and they are operating at full strength since morning. We hope to cull substantial number of poultry by the end of the day," Chakraborty said.
The principal secretary further said a mopping-up operation would start in Malda as soon as culling was over.
The ARD authorities have decided to cull 16,000 chickens and ducks in all. Culling operations, within a radius of three kilometres in the affected area, should be over by Thursday, or latest by Friday. We will start a two-day mopping-up operation after that," he said.
Seventeen culling teams with a total of 85 workers - wearing white protective suits, gloves and masks - Tuesday started killing and burying chickens and ducks at Narhatta and Satgheria villages in Malda, 350 km from here.
In January, over 200,000 birds were culled when avian flu was detected in several districts. An outbreak of bird flu had been detected in Malda in March and more than 50,000 birds were culled. This is the second outbreak in the district of the dreaded disease caused by the H5N1 virus.
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WHO Joint Flu Surveillance
Multi National Effort To Stop Bird Flu
West Bengal, India ... Mynmar, Nepal, Bangladesh
Bird flu outbreak in WB serious: WHO
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FAO South Asia

On hand is the FAO South Asia Sub-Regional Coordinator

Dr. Mohinder Oberoi
Record-level US support for bird flu programme
Indonesia, Viet Nam and Egypt among major beneficiary countries


11 November 2008, Rome - The United States will provide an additional

$44.4 million in support of FAO's avian influenza control and prevention campaign,

FAO announced today.

With the new funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US support to the FAO avian influenza programme has reached a total of $112.8 million. The United States remains the largest donor to FAO's bird flu control activities implemented in more than 96 countries.

The funds are mainly earmarked for

avian influenza control in

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, South Asia, West and Central Africa and Viet Nam,

as well as global efforts. Indonesia, Viet Nam and Egypt will be the top beneficiaries.

"Although many countries have successfully managed to get avian influenza under control, the virus remains present in ten countries and is mainly entrenched in countries like Egypt, Indonesia and Viet Nam. The additional US funds will enable FAO to continue its work in support of countries that are still struggling to get the virus under control," said FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech.

"The strong partnership with FAO is an integral component of our international efforts to contain and control Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza at its animal source," said Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez of the US Mission to FAO.

The main donors to FAO's avian influenza programme, which currently amounts to around $282.7 million, are: the United States, Sweden, Australia, Japan, the European Commission, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, the World Bank, UN Development Programme, the Asian Development Bank and France. The programme is also supported by funds from FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme.


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From Assam News...

By Dr Jnanendra N Sharma


China has found a vaccine recently and it has been proving successful over the last few years. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first approval in the United States of a vaccine for humans against the H5N1 influenza virus in 2007. Should such an influenza pandemic emerge, these vaccines may provide early limited protection in the months before a vaccine tailored to the pandemic strain of the virus could be developed and produced.

The present vaccine was obtained from a human strain and is intended for immunizing people 18 through 64 years of age who could be at increased risk of exposure to the H5N1 influenza virus contained in the vaccine. H5N1 influenza vaccine immunization consists of two intramuscular injections, given approximately one month apart. Treatment is primarily symptomatic and there is no specific drug to kill the virus. Use of an antiviral drug may make the disease less severe if the medicine is started within 48 hours of onset of symptoms.


And there seems to be a change in Diet in the area...

The foodies might miss the Chinese cuisines from the carte du jour for the New Year, courtesy the spread of bird flu. Those who want to take a break from chicken and egg food items would get a chance to relish mutton delights, mostly prepared in Mughlai or Kashmiri style.


This volitile area has seen many terror attacks...


AGARTALA Dec 27– Additional BSF troops were deployed along the Indo-Bangla border in Tripura keeping in mind general elections in Bangladesh slated for December 29.

With increasing threat of terrorism from across the border, the role of BSF has become important, he said. Sarkar also appreciated the dedication of the force and discussed about ways to improve overall border management.

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West Bengal Beefs up Surveillance
Calcutta India in West Bengal Gets Level 3 Bio-security Lab
Times Of India

City lab to make flu detection faster

22 Dec 2008, 0044 hrs IST, Prithvijit Mitra, TNN
KOLKATA: Even as bird flu rages in Malda and the threat of an epidemic looms large, there is some good news for beleaguered poultry farms and 
chicken-lovers. Detection of bird flu will now be faster, thereby reducing the chances of an outbreak.
Blood samples will no longer have to be sent to the animal diseases laboratory in Bhopal to confirm bird flu, as Kolkata will soon have its very own bio-security level-three laboratory at Belgachhia. Being set up at the Regional Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), the state-of-the-art centre will be run by the state government.
"We have invited tenders for laboratory instruments. It will have the best facilities and we'll no longer have to wait for the test results to arrive from Bhopal," said Dilip Chakrabarty, secretary, animal resources development.
Researchers and experts agreed. The time gap between sample collection and the arrival of the test report, they said, was time-consuming. "RDDL will make the process faster. RDDL, being in our own backyard, we should now have the reports in a day or two," said Dr Barun Roy, animal diseases expert and a teacher at the University of Animal and Fisheries Sciences.
Virology research is also expected to receive a fillip. The laboratory will have facilities for research on dengue, Japanese encephalitis, measles, viral diarrhoea and several other diseases.
A section of experts, however, fear that the laboratory might pose a health hazard, since it is being set up in a densely populated residential area. "It is a potential health hazard. Accidents can't be ruled out. The lab could have been set up in a neighbouring district," said Roy.
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Fresh bird flu outbreak in Assam

Supratim Dey / Kolkata/ Guwahati December 29, 2008, 0:19 IST 
At a time when it appeared that the bird flu virus was waning out in Assam, confirmation of fresh outbreak in five new locations has stunned everyone.

The new locations are one each in Nagaon, Baska and Bongaigaon districts and two in Kamrup district.

Sources said that containment operations are being instituted in the new epicenters. The central rapid response team, stationed at Barpeta, has swung into action in Baksa district.

New team has been sent to Nagaon district whereas the teams already in Kamrup and Bongaigoan districts have moved into new locations in these districts.

The avian influenza virus was first detected in a village in Hajo block of Kamrup (rural) district on November 27. It's almost a month past and the state and the central governments are still grappling to control the virus. Bird flu outbreak in Assam has been the most deadliest outbreak in India till now. Nowhere in the country in the recent times did it take such a long time to control the outbreak.

Till now, 4,08,379 birds have been culled in nine locations across the state.

With bird flu spreading at an unprecedented rate, the state's poultry sector is reeling under losses and an uncertain future looms large. As per estimates made by the All Assam Poultry Farmers' Association (AAPFA), the state's poultry sector has incurred a loss of around Rs. 65 crore till recently.

Nearly 5.5 lakh people associated with poultry business in the Assam have been affected since the outbreak, said Rajiv Sarmah, president of AAPFA.

Sarmah said that the business has come to a complete halt across the state and as a result the lives of the farmers, most of whom are marginal, and others associated with the business, has become pitiable.

"Ban or no ban, poultry business has come to a grinding halt. It has really become very difficult for the farmers and others associated with the business to sustain their livelihood as their source of income has suddenly dried up," said Sarmah.

According to him, it would be difficult for marginal farmers to bounce back without the support of government as poultry business has been hit twice this year.

Earlier this year, due to outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal, the poultry sector of Assam too was hit as panic had gripped the state. According to Sarmah, almost 50 per cent of farmers will perish due to non-availability of funds if the government does not announce any scheme for their rehabilitation.

Since the outbreak of bird flu, 50 cases of Upper Respiratory Infection [URI], with fever, has been confirmed among humans. Those people are under surveillance and medical care.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2008 at 1:41pm
date of her post is Jan...2008...last year when Calcutta was hit
Opinion from globalgramma...
Villagers were not educated about the dangers of the disease, have continued to eat, handle sick and dead animals, further exposing themselves and their children to the disease. They have smuggled poultry out of their districts, continue throwing dead birds into rivers and canals, and have refused to hand over birds to the few culling teams that are functioning until they are paid.
Villagers have severely beaten one culling team (they had to be hospitalized) and threatened others. A number of culling teams refused to go to work in certain areas, demanding police protection, further slowing response. A number of photos of culling operations show the culling team in their hazmat gear slaughtering chickens with unprotected villagers only feet away (exposure can occur through air particulates). Other photos show children less than 2 feet away from dead birds.
Four days ago, a small item appeared on page 3, that a bird seller in Kolkata's Kalighat area had six birds die with bird flu symptoms and many other birds of his were sick. "I'm taking all of the precautions," the bird seller stated. But nothing has appeared in the way of follow up to say whether the birds were tested, or what the results were. (Lab tests have to be flown to Delhi, take days to process).

And only today has the first mention appeared anywhere about testing of people exposed to, or having symptoms of, the disease. 5 villagers have all the symptoms who handled dead birds in one district with all the symptoms have been tested. (How's that for rising to a challenge.) Another 600 villagers in one area are sick...but no specifics on whether they are actually being tested for the disease. It is simply not credible that, given the extent of continued human exposure, no human beings have contracted the disease.

Today, the Chief Minister of West Bengal is quoted as saying the disease "has been contained" at the same time that new districts surrounding Kolkata reporting new outbreaks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2008 at 9:43pm

Government of India
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Status Report on Avian Influenza in Assam and West Bengal
West Bengal

Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, GOI has notified Avian Influenza Outbreak in Englishbazar block, Malda District of West Bengal on 15.12.2008.  Containment measures have been instituted. In total 22665 birds have been culled.  199 animal health workers are under chemoprophylaxis. The active surveillance in 0-3 Km is continuing.
84 health workers have been deployed for active surveillance. Surveillance data is at Annexure-I

      The State Govt has adequate  stock of ventilators, PPE and Oseltamivir 


      The first notification of Avian Influenza in Assam was in Hajo block of Kamrup district on 27.11.2008. Since then 12 other epicenters have been notified. The details of the epicenters are at Annexure-II. The last epicenter was notified on 16.12.2008.

Brief of containment operations
Culling activities has been completed in all blocks except district Chirang. Mopping up and sanitization is underway in other blocks. A total of 3765 birds were culled [cumulative 4,05,001].
A total of 660 Animal Health workers, deployed for the culling activity are on Chemoprophylaxis.

Central government has deployed RRTs to cover all epicenters. They are working with the  state RRT teams.
Active house to house surveillance is being followed in 0-3 km zone in all epicenters and in 3-10 km in phases. A population of 2,65,247 was covered in 0-3 Km area and 1,06,847 in 3-10 km area.
110 cases of Upper Respiratory Infection [URI] with fever were detected [80 in 0-3 Km and 30 in 3-10 Km]. None of them had  history of handling dead or sick birds. 
32 cases of URI with fever in the outpatient department were detected in the identified health facilities.
1066 health workers were deployed for surveillance.
Available details of epicenter-wise surveillance is at annexure-I.

30,000 capsules of Tamiflu, 9,000 surgical masks, 900 personal protective equipments, 300 N-95 masks and 8 ventilators have been supplied by MoHFW. Sufficient anti-viral drugs and PPE are in stock with the State Government.

Messages to create public awareness are being telecast/ broadcast in local channels and AIR.
Local campaign such as miking and interpersonal communication is followed in all epicenters.

Hon'ble Minister for Health and F.W. reviewed the situation with the State Health authorities of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Meghalaya. The concerned Central Ministries/ Departments also participated in the meeting.
The situation is being monitored on a daily basis.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2008 at 1:28am
The problem of people getting birdflu from birds could eventually happen in India
And then comes dealing with it for years, like in China. indonesia, etc. ...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FluMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2008 at 2:05pm
You are so correct Mary08 India scares me because of the amount of people packed in just like China. You information is great and keeps us up to date. Thanks
Always Be Prepared
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