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Avian Flu News Tracker
posted by admin on 20/04/06
Wednesday, April 19 , 2006 at 7:15 p.m.: European governments have drawn up good plans to prepare for a flu pandemic.
But major gaps remain in their ability to put the blueprints into practice, according to a study published Thursday in Europe by the Lancet medical journal. A survey of 29 European countries published in the journal's online edition found 21 had published a national preparedness plan, as advised by the World Health Organization. However, only three - the U.K., the Netherlands and France - had tested their plans in simulation exercises. The plans were based on estimated death rates from flu of between 230 and 465 people per 100,000.
6:15 p.m.: Tyson Foods warned that results would be sharply below previous guidance, in part due to the effects of bird-flu fears on chicken consumption. On bird flu, the company said that "H5N1 avian influenza in other parts of the world has reduced U.S. chicken export prices more than expected." Weak chicken and beef prices prompted the company to reduce its full-year per-share earnings view to a range of a loss of 25 cents to a profit of 10 cents. That's well below the estimate of 50 cents to 80 cents it gave in January.
1:45 p.m: The WHO confirmed China's 17th human case of H5N1, a 21-year-old male migrant worker, and offered a few more details. The man was employed in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, and is presently hospitalized and in stable condition. The source of contact is under investigation as no poultry outbreaks have been reported in Hubei Province since November 2005.
11:30 a.m.: If bird flu shows up in U.S. chickens or turkeys, the government will kill off any flocks suspected of having the virus even before tests are completed, officials said. "We can't afford for this virus to be smoldering six months before we find it,'' Ron DeHaven, head of the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said in an interview with the Associated Press. Most U.S. chickens come from big commercial farms that are well-protected against the spread of disease. Yet there are many small backyard and free-range flocks -- as many as 60,000 in Los Angeles alone -- where birds are outdoors and are harder to protect.
10:10 a.m.: U.S. hospital leaders said they don't have the money for all of the pandemic-preparedness measures the federal government is asking them to make, WebMD reported. "The problem is, we are just good enough for what happens now," W. Frank Peacock, chairman of emergency preparedness at the Cleveland Clinic said at a disaster-preparedness summit sponsored by U.S. News & World Report magazine. "To ask any industry to double its infrastructure with no funding is really a hard row," Peacock said. Read U.S. News' special report on emergency preparedness.
9:55 a.m.: Five members of an Indonesian family were admitted to a hospital with symptoms of bird flu, the Jakarta Post reported, raising concerns about potential human transmission of the disease. Three other children were already diagnosed with bird flu; two died. "This is serious bad news," Crawford Kilian wrote on his H5N1 blog. "If this really is H5N1, it's the worst single cluster since the Kocyigit family in eastern Turkey in the week after Christmas." Separately, Indonesia confirmed its 24th human death from bird flu.
4:30 a.m.: Roche said a rapid response stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu was ready and at the disposal of the World Health Organization. The stockpile of three million treatment courses could be used by WHO in response to any pandemic flu outbreak
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