Bird Flu Update -
Indonesia And Romania
Bird Flu Might Have Spread
To More Provinces In Indonesia

From Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
From ProMed Mail

Authorities have so far confirmed that the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus has infected fowl through 23 of Indonesia's 33 provinces, but senior officials said new infections were suspected elsewhere and that the outbreaks increase the risk of the virus mutating into a strain that's more contagious to humans and could lead to a pandemic that health experts fear could kill millions.
"It might have spread to more than 23 provinces," Agriculture Minister Anton Apriantono told reporters. "University students have collected samples from chickens in Kalimantan, Sumatra and other places. We are now analyzing them."
Apriantono expected that the test results, conducted on blood and other samples from fowl collected by veterinary students from 4 universities, would be announced on 15 Dec 2005.
(18 days seems a rather extended period for the testing; details will be appreciated. - Mod.AS)
Avian Flu Threat Returns
By Mihai Popescu
Nineoclock, Romania, issue 3567, page 6, 28 Nov 2005
Virus H5, responsible for the development of avian influenza, was found 2 days ago, following tests run on samples from a fowl in the village of Scarlatesti, the commune of Ciresu, Braila County.
This focus of avian flu adds to those already found at Ceamurlia de Jos, Maliuc and Caraorman, Tulcea County in early October 2005. The infected samples at Scarlatesti will be sent for further testing at a specialized laboratory in the UK, as decided by the Anti-epizootic National Committee. Braila Prefect Nicolae Mitroi ordered that grade one quarantine be immediately enforced in the village of Scarlatesti. Manned road blocks consisting of gendarme and police crews prevent humans, animals and poultry from leaving the village of Scarlatesti until the avian flu focus has been completely eradicated, and entry into the focus area is only allowed after the individuals concerned have been briefed accordingly.
Not only that, the population is also instructed on the danger posed by avian influenza. Authorities at Ciresu take measures aimed at ensuring a steady supply of foodstuffs and other bare essentials, the supplies being ferried without allowing any access to the isolated area. Local measures have been taken to isolate the virus.
Experts with the Braila Sanitary Veterinarian and Food Safety Department are coordinating the action with a view towards eliminating the focus of the viral infection at Scarlatesti. The vaccination of the local populace began yesterday [27 Nov 2005, see comment further], and so did the killing and incineration of all the fowl in the village, with payment of commensurate compensation.
The Agricultural and Rural Development Department sent teams to the scene to assess the poultry contingent to be sacrificed in any homestead in order to pay damage compensation. Given that the closest populated location is 3 km away from the village of Scarlatesti, bird killings only apply within the radius of the village. Scarlatesti has nearly 400 homesteads, with an estimated 15 000 fowl. No fewer than 249 test samples have been tested in Braila County since early October 2005.
The European Union maintains the restrictions on imports of poultry from 6 counties in eastern Romania: Tulcea, Constanta, Galati, Braila, Ialomita and Calarasi, but will lift the ban for the other regions starting 1 Dec 2005, the National Sanitary Veterinarian and Food Safety Authority says. However, the ban on imports of live fowl from Romania is still in force. The EU suspended in mid-October 2005 the imports of poultry and live fowl from Romania after reports of fowl infected with the avian flu virus.
(The above Romanian newswire is more lucid and detailed than yesterday's (27 Nov 2005) posting on the outbreak in Scarlatesti (20051127.3441). This piece refers specifically to the control measures and the protection of public health. The vaccination of the local populace (with the standard annual human vaccine) has been suggested to prevent mixed infections with human and avian influenza viruses, a situation which theoretically might lead to virus reassortment (see item [2] in 20051010.2950). This vaccination policy was applied in the Netherlands during the H7N7 HPAI outbreak of 2003, for those at risk of exposure to infected birds . It has been widely applied in Tulcea, Romania, since the onset of the avian influenza outbreaks there in October 2005.
According to the official notifications to the OIE, the vaccination of poultry against avian influenza is not prohibited in Romania. However, no avian vaccination has been reported. Further information will help.
It will also be useful to be informed about whether the new outbreak was detected due to clinical manifestation of AI in turkeys or rather by sampling within the reportedly ongoing surveillance activity (sera? cloacal swabs? other tissues?). - Mod.AS]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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