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Info on the Flu that is "in the news"--Avian Flu

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Info on the Flu that is "in the news"--Avian Flu
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Information on the flu that is receiving so much attention in the world news--Avain Flu (Bird Flu).
     The "most current" updates I have found are at the end of the first section, before the links. 
     Note that news on this flu is breaking and being updated in some sort of form everyday, particularly in most of the national/ international press/media and medical/science journals.  Since the day to day info cannot be included on this site,  some sites for most recent updates are included.  Check those for the most recent info.
      A basic information document on Avian Flu (as of Spring 2006, the H5N1 strain, tho see most recent updates below that another strain has been discovered) is included at the end of this page.
     

Avian Flu is a strain of flu that originates in birds (poultry), and can be transmitted to humans and other animals. 
As of March, 2006, research studies indicate that there are two strains of avian flu. (see latest news below). The human cases are rare, and mostly associated with those that have had direct contact with infected birds. 
Other animals such as cats have been tested as infected, and the conclusion is that the cats ate an infected bird.
There is some concern that the Bird Flu can be transmitted through airborne infection, primarily during actual contact with an infected bird.  Most of the human cases are  traced to direct contact with birds.
Additionally, some cats have developed the same strain of flu after eating infected birds.
There is a world wide concern that this flu will mutate and become infectious to humans, and thus create a "pandemic".
At this time, (spring 2006), the risk to humans is minimal if not in contact with infected birds.
And health organizations all over the world are doing continual research and monitoring on the circumstances.
 
There have been cases reported in SouthEast Asia (primarily), other East Asia countries (China, etc.), North America, Europe and Africa.
 
Below are links to the US Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization and other resources for information.
See WHO link  or US Govt. Pandemic Flu sites for countries affected.
 
The "Basic Advice" seems to be avoid poultry markets (esp. common in East Asia), and be certain that all of your poultry products are cooked thoroughly.  Cooking thoroughly WILL KILL the virus in its present form.
Avoid touching birds (swans included) that might be infected.
Keep cats and dogs on leash and indoors.
(Cat cases reported from Europe in early 2006, presumeably ate infected birds).
However, see the links below for specifics.
 
At the end of the page is a basic info document that I have constructed that is a sort of "Frequently Asked Questions" document.
See the below links for further information.
The World Health Organization has a very complete section on Bird Flu, and is spearheading the efforts to research and prevent, as well as educate on the possibilities of a pandemic.
 
 
MOST CURRENT UPDATES:
 
March 2006
TWO STRAINS OF BIRD FLU FOUND

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4828078.stm

 

The H5N1 virus responsible for the current virulent strain of bird flu has evolved into two genetically distinct strains, US scientists have confirmed.

They fear this could increase the risk to humans - and complicate the search for an effective vaccine.

The US team analysed more than 300 H5N1 samples taken from infected birds and people between 2003 and summer 2005.

Details were presented to the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

Prior to 2005 every known human case of bird flu had been caused by a particular subtype of the H5N1 virus, which infected people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

But the latest analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a genetically distinct variant which appears to have emerged last year, infecting people in Indonesia.

Courtesy BBC news.

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CATS FOUND TO BE INFECTED WITH BIRD FLU
March 2006
 
Some cats in Europe have been found to be infected with the Bird Flu.  It is presumed that these cats ate an infected bird.
Thus, it is being recommended that people with cats should keep them on leash or indoors.
Email for press information link or copies of the press information/articles.  This was widely reported in the Interational and National news medias, so stories should be widely archived.
 
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Winter 2005-2006
Winter 2005-2006 has seen significant increase in bird flu cases, particularly in Europe, Turkey and Africa.
To see a list of all of the infected countries, see the World Health Organization link below or the US Pandemic Flu site.
 
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BIRD FLU VACCINES QUESTIONED
Vaccines for birds developed with the purpose to prevent
Bird Flu (Avian Flu) are being questioned by scientific and political communities for their actual effectiveness.
The scientific community is concerned that the strain is mutating so fast that the vaccines may not be effective.  The WHO (World Health Organization) is already working on a second vaccine.  The first was developed in 2005.
The political community is expressing the same concern; additionally that the vaccine might actually MASK THE SYMPTOMS instead of PREVENTING THE SPREAD of the flu.  This primarily from the experts of the British Govt.
Email me for links to press information or copies of the articles/press information from Jan-March, 2006.
 
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RESEARCH FOR HUMAN VACCINES TO PREVENT BIRD FLU January 2006
 
A research study is starting in the US to develop a human vaccine to fight the Bird Flu.
January 2006.
Funded by National Institute of Health, USA.
 
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LINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON BIRD FLU
NORTH AMERICA and INTERNATIONAL
 
 
 
 

 

 

LINKS FOR CURRENT INFORMATION ON 

 BIRD FLU

 

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 US CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC)

 

 

CDC Basic information on Avian Flu

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/

 

CDC travel notice regarding Avian Flu

As of October 5, 2005

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/avian_influenza_se_asia_2005.htm

 

CDC—Avian Flu in North America

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/outbreaks/us.htm

 

AVIAN FLU INFORMATION AT CDC

Aug 5, 2005 guidance for traveling

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/avian_flu_ig_americans_abroad_032405.htm

 

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WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

AVIAN FLU INFORMATION AT WHO

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

 

This seems to be the most concise and comprehensive site for global information on bird flu.

 

World Health Organization:

 WHO: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050914090608.htm 

Less Virulent strains of Avial Flu can infect humans.2005.

 

htpp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040115075707.htm

World Health Organization monitors outbreak of Avian Flu in Humans and Poultry in Viet Nam. 1-15-04

 

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The following link provides fact sheets, recent information and an e-mail contact for further information

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navid=AVIAN_INFLUENZA&navtype=SU

 

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UNITED STATED DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR

Links to US Geological Service and National Wildlife Health Center

 

This site includes in particular recent surveillance efforts to monitor birds migrating to the US from Asia.

See the links below for further information.

 

 Department of the Interior - H5N1 National Surveillance Efforts

The global spread of H5N1 increases the likelihood that it will eventually be detected in North America. There are a number of pathways through which the virus could be brought to this continent; introduction by wild migratory birds is one possible pathway that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior are working together to address.

The Department of the Interior is responsible for managing wildlife, including migratory birds, under various laws and treaties, and for ensuring public health on more than 500 million acres of land across the country. To carry out these responsibilities, the Department and its partners are investigating highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in migratory birds and making plans to protect the health of employees and the 450 million people who visit Department-managed lands each year. (More...)

http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/avian_influenza/index.jsp

 

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United States Geological Service—US Dept. of Interior

Link to http://www.usgs.gov/ then link to Avian Flu on left-hand column

March 8, 2006

 

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US National Wildlife Health Center

Avian Influenza

Direct page is http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/avian_influenza/index.jsp

 

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US Government site on Pandemic Flu

http://www.pandemicflu.gov/

 

One stop access to U.S. Government avian and pandemic flu information. Managed by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Includes countries and current news.


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BASIC INFORMATION ON BIRD FLU
Below is a brief summary of Avian Flu (H51N strain).
(Note that as of March 2006, research indicates that there are two strains of the bird flu.  See most recent updates above.)
 
 

What is Avian flu?

  1. This strain (H51N) of flu is almost exclusively contained to poultry—chickens and other poultry in particular and birds such as swans.  Concern has been expressed by most medical communities that people might be affected, and a some human cases have been reported.

What countries are affected by Avian flu?

  1. While the original cases since the 1997 Hong Kong outbreak that  resulted in destruction of all poultry have been concentrated in Southeast Asia, cases have been reported in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  See news releases at www.sciencedaily.com for all countries reporting cases.  For a list of the countries, log onto the World Health Organization site or the US Governemnt Pandemic Flu site.

 

What symptoms should make you consider that you have contracted Avian Flu?

  1. Basic flu-like symptoms, especially suspect if around live poultry.  For further information see information from CDC, World Health Organization, etc.

What should a person do in order to determine if they have Avian Flu?

  1. Find a doctor that is knowledgeable in this area and keeping up with the research
  2. Current research does indicate that X-rays are becoming increasingly reliable to provide early detection of Avian Flu.  See full news release from the North American Radiological Assn annual meeting in December 2005 at:

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051205115435.htm

 

  1. Certain antivirals drugs such as -- oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) -- have shown good activity against most H5N1 strains.   See further info at:

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206084029.htm

 

Can Avian Flu be prevented?

  1. As of December, 2005, there is not a vaccine against Avian Flu.  However Vanderbilt University just announced clinical trials starting for the final stage of developing such, and the World Health Organization has been supporting such efforts. The US National Institute of Health announced their support of a research study in January 2006.

 

2. The above-mentioned antiviral drugs are being used in certain cases to prevent the disease.  However, there is concern that prevention useage may deplete supplies in case there is an actual epidemic.  And tho the FDA has approved the use of Tamiflu in November, 2005, several cases that are resistant to this drug have been documented since that time.   See: December 22, 2005 article in New Scientist at:

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8509

 

Can a person get AF by eating contaminated poultry?

1.      No cases of this have been reported directly.  However, it is clear that most of the people infected were around the birds that were probably being used for food, and thus this factor might not have been isolated yet.  See (2) below tho—heat kills the virus.

March 2006 update on this question: cats reported in Europe to have contracted Avain Flu from eating infected birds.  More research needs to be done in this area.

Horses do not normally eat birds, however owners should watch for dead birds on premises that horses might "nose" to identify the object.  And in some areas, birds such as ergots will alight on the backs and necks of horses and pick off insects like flies, ticks, etc. for feeding.  Horses tolerate this.  It is possible that an infected bird could transmit the virus to any other animal in which they come into contact.

 

2.      BE CERTAIN that any poultry you eat is THOROUGHLY COOKED.  Heat does kill the virus.

A sidenote on this:  The director of the FDA stated at the US Congressional hearings on Avian Flu in November, 2005 that he was going to “have a turkey during the holidays” as he normally does.  This seems to be more of a concern than the literature reflects.

See further information at:

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206084029.htm

 Other general information states that eggs are safe to eat since the infected birds generally stop producing eggs or produce eggs that are inferior in quality and not selected for sale purposes.

More info at the www.pandemicflu.gov website.

 

Can a person get Avian Flu from an infected person?

1.      While this is not common as of  December, 2005, this so-called “secondary transmission” has been documented, primarily within families and from people that got the original infection from being around or handling poultry..  See information from WHO at

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040202073047.htm

.

The concern is that the strain may mutate and make human-to-human infection  common and possible, and this is the fear behind the use of the word “Pandemic” of Avian Flu.  Further information from the World Health Organization at:

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040123081551.htm

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040115075707.htm

From the Mayo Clinic:

URL:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040414005511.htm

NOTE: these articles are from 2004.

 

 

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L.Robinson, agent
L.Robinson is a professional equine agent that markets horses for breeders and owners and finds horses for those looking for them.
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