More New Cases - World
Avian Flu Update

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

"However, all available evidence suggests that swine play no role in the transmission of the current strain of H5N1 avian flu virus. Swine sera are difficult to examine and results need to be confirmed by additional tests in a reference laboratory that can carry out validated tests for influenza antibodies in swine. - Mod.CP"
In this statement located at the end of the summary below, the Moderator claims that swine played no role in transmission of current strain of H5N1 viruss in the Indonesian human cases. However, according to the Moderator, additional tests need to be carried out. Swine sera are difficult to examine and results need to be confirmed by additional tests. This sounds as though the verdict is out...until these additional tests are completed.
New Avian Cases Of H5N1 In 8 Siberian Villages
RIA Novosti
New cases of bird flu have been registered in 8 villages in 3 Siberian regions, the agriculture ministry said Friday.
"Fowl infected with avian influenza have been registered in 3 villages in Novosibirsk Region, 4 villages in Omsk Region, and one village in Altai Territory," the ministry said in a statement.
None of the infected birds had been vaccinated against the disease, the ministry said.
The Emergency Situations Ministry said in April 2006 that around 1.1 million birds had died of the disease in Russia, and that 300 000 had been culled in measures to control the spread of the virus since the beginning of February.
No human cases of bird flu have yet been diagnosed in Russia.
[2] Nigeria - New Outbreak Confirmed
The Nigerian Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) on Thursday [25 May 2006] confirmed another outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in Kakara village in the northern state of Kano.
Timothy Obi, leader of the Avian Influenza task force team of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), told reporters that the institute said it had diagnosed samples of dead chickens from the farm and found them to be infected with the deadly H5N1 virus.
An official at the Avian Influenza Crisis Management Center who preferred anonymity also confirmed the outbreak.
"The virus was detected on Monday among the over 16 000 chickens on the farm," he said, adding that 11 samples of the dead chickens from the farm were taken to the NVRI for laboratory analysis which later confirmed the virus.
Malam Mohammed Aminu Adamu, chairman of Kano Branch of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), said that already all birds at Omatiga farm where the outbreak occurred have been culled while the farm had been decontaminated to curtail possible spread.
According to a source at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the government is worried at the resurgence of the disease in Kano, a month after it was declared free of the virus was worrisome.
The source said the government, the Nigeria Veterinary Council and the FAO officials were intensifying their surveillance, while the NVRI was continuing with the task of finding ways to stamp out the deadly disease.
The outbreak of avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu, was first confirmed in the country on 7 Feb 2006. But so far no human being has been infected.
West Java - Brother And Sister Die Of H5N1 In Indonesia
Jakarta Post Online
Preliminary tests have found that avian influenza has killed 2 more siblings in Indonesia, officials said on Fri 26 May 2006, as the country grapples with a separate outbreak involving the largest family cluster ever reported.
Local tests found that a brother and sister from West Java who died earlier this week were infected by the H5N1 virus, said Nyoman Kandun, head of the Health Ministry's office of communicable disease control. The tests will be sent to a World Health Organization laboratory for further confirmation. WHO officials so far have confirmed 33 human deaths from bird flu in Indonesia, out of 124 worldwide. The latest victims, an 18-year-old boy and his 10-year-old sister, died on Tue 23 May 2005 in the state-run Hasan Sidikin hospital in Bandung, the capital city of West Java, said Achmad, an official at the Ministry's special task force post for bird flu, who uses only one name. They died within hours of each other less than a day after arriving at the hospital, he said.
The newest cases come as Indonesia is struggling with a different family cluster in northern Sumatra where 6 of seven family members died of bird flu, the most recent on Mon 22 May 2006. An 8th family member who died was buried before tests could be done, but she was also considered to be among those infected with bird flu. WHO officials have not been able to link the family members to contact with infected birds, and have said it's possible limited human-to-human transmission may have occurred. Similar isolated cases of transmission among humans is believed to have occurred in 4 or 5 other family clusters, said WHO spokesman Dick Thompson. But the Indonesia case is the largest ever reported. However, the WHO has stressed the virus has not mutated in any way and has shown no signs of spreading outside the family -- all blood relatives who had very close contact with each other.
A team of international health experts and villagers is closely monitoring the area where the family lived in northern Sumatra to ensure no one else experiences flu-like symptoms. About 30 people in the village of Kubu Sembelang have been asked to stay inside their homes and avoid close contact as a precautionary measure, Thompson said. Experts also are exploring whether the first woman sickened in the family may have had contact with sick or dead chickens. She also worked at a market where chickens were sold and may have used chicken feces as a garden fertilizer, WHO officials have said.
Sumatra - Chickens Die In Large Numbers
By Tan Ee Lyn
(Reuters) -- Chickens are dying in unusually large numbers in a remote area in Indonesia where avian influenza killed several members of a family, and experts say the first victim in the cluster was probably infected by a diseased chicken. For weeks now, health experts have been trying to hunt down the source that introduced the H5N1 avian influenza virus to the family in Kubu Sembilang village in north Sumatra, killing as many as 7 of them.
The case has drawn immense interest because it is the largest known family cluster involving H5N1 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said this week that limited human-to-human transmission between members of the family might have occurred.
Tests done on samples from pigs, chickens and ducks in the area have been inconclusive and experts have long maintained that nothing can be ruled out. This is the first time that they have narrowed down the likely source to poultry. "What we're finding out the longer our team stays up in that area is that there are many, many outbreaks in chickens that always go unreported," stated Steven Bjorge, an epidemiologist with the WHO. "Just in the past couple of weeks they have found a couple of outbreaks of chickens dying in various villages in that area ... that raises the very real possibility that people can come into contact with this virus."
Referring to the first victim in the cluster, a 37-year-old woman who died on May 4, Bjorge said: "The first case has to get it from somewhere. It has to be something environmental." Asked if sick chickens were responsible for this index case, he said: "We think that it has to be that way."
The WHO has stressed that even if human-to-human transmission did occur, it was in a very limited way and the infection had not spread beyond the initial cluster. In addition, scientific evidence had shown the virus had not mutated into one that can be easily passed among people -- a necessary precursor for a pandemic to start.
Although Bjorge said it was up to Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry to find out if the chickens were indeed dying of H5N1, he said Indonesia was awash with the virus. "Basically, the virus is totally endemic in Indonesia, thoroughly entrenched in backyard chickens. That doesn't mean they are dying every day in the same house. It jumps from place to place," he added.
ProMed Mail
Taken together these reports are consistent with limited person-to-person transmission of H5N1 avian influenza virus among blood relatives (as indicated by absence of transmission between husbands and wives) and some form of contact with diseased poultry or poultry products. H5N1 avian influenza virus is considered to be endemic throughout Indonesia on account of poor containment of outbreaks, and perhaps protective immune responses in flocks (e.g. following attempted vaccination) may mask the presence of HPAI virus. However, until the source of the infection in the cluster of human cases in North Sumatra is definitively identified, all such interpretations remain speculative.
According to the FAO , all laboratory examinations of samples -- mainly from chickens, ducks, swine and manure -- have failed to detect the virus. Antibodies in a low proportion of chickens and ducks could be consistent with known earlier circulation of the avian flu virus in northern Sumatra in late 2005 and early 2006. On the other hand, they could have resulted from vaccination.
An announcement that some swine from a nearby village had tested positive for avian flu antibodies raised concern because this would have represented a new development in the spread of the disease, opening up the possibility of mammal to mammal transmission. However, all available evidence suggests that swine play no role in the transmission of the current strain of H5N1 avian flu virus. Swine sera are difficult to examine and results need to be confirmed by additional tests in a reference laboratory that can carry out validated tests for influenza antibodies in swine. - Mod.CP
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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