posted by admin on 27/04/06
Wednesday, April 26.
"Avian flu virus is very similar to the virus that caused the influenza pandemic of 1918, which was responsible for 40 million deaths”4:20 p.m.:
Kentucky Fried Chicken is waging a pre-emptive strike on avian-flu panic, should the virus emerge in the U.S. The fast-food giant is putting stickers on the lid of every bucket of chicken, assuring customers that the chicken is "rigorously inspected, thoroughly cooked, quality assured." The sticker "doesn't specifically mention avian flu, for deliberate reasons," a Yum Brands spokesman said, but "it reassures our customers that our food is perfectly safe."4:05 p.m.:
Bird flu has hit 45 countries and killed more than 100 people, U.N. bird-flu chief David Nabarro said. And it has moved rapidly in 2006. Nabarro pointed out that, between 2003 and 2005, the virus was reported in 15 countries; in the first four months of this year, it has spread to 30 new countries. "This is very similar to the virus that caused the influenza pandemic of 1918," Nabarro said. It's not identical but it's similar." By some estimates, the 1918 pandemic was responsible for 40 million deaths.3 p.m.:
As concern about human infections of bird flu increases, it's worth noting human symptoms of bird flu and how they differ from those associated with standard flu. First, bird flu is more likely to cause diarrhea than normal flu, and diarrhea can appear up to a week prior to any breathing problems. Shortness of breath is also common with bird flu, though a runny nose -- typical of the standard flu -- is less likely with bird flu. Conjunctivitis (eye infections) are also a symptom of bird flu. The iFlu.org blog sums it up nicely.1:15 p.m.:
If a pandemic of flu struck the U.S. in the next year or so, the few weapons the country has to keep it from spreading would do little, a new computer model shows. Such a pandemic would likely strike one in three people if nothing is done, the AP reported, citing the results of computer simulation published in Thursday's journal Nature. If the government acts fast enough and has enough antiviral medicine to use as a preventive measure -- which the U.S. doesn't have -- that could drop to about 28% percent of the population getting sick, the study found. "Both cases we came up with were very pessimistic," said lead author Neil Ferguson of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College in London. "There is no single magic bullet for stopping pandemic flu," he added.11:20 a.m.:
The Ivory Coast reported its first cases of H5N1 bird flu -- in both domestic poultry and in wild birds -- WHO said. The cases were found in the commercial capital Abidjan in backyard free-range chickens, ducks and a sparrowhawk, the agency said. Bird flu had previously been detected in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Egypt and Burkina Faso.10:55 a.m.:
Swiss drug maker Roche Holding reported its sales jumped 22%, helped by strong demand for cancer medications and Tamiflu. Sales of Tamiflu shot up 37% to 601 million Swiss francs (US$474.1 million).6 a.m.:
Ten domestic hens have died from suspected bird flu in a village in central Kazakhstan, a regional emergency-services official said. Tests revealed avian influenza antibodies in the dead hens and one live hen and one duck, who belonged to a resident of the village of Krasnaya Niva in the Karaganda region, he said. Further tests were being conducted for confirmation.5:30 a.m.:
The Swiss government said it would lift a ban on keeping poultry outdoors, as the risk of bird flu spreading in domestic fowl had decreased. The ban on free-range poultry expires May 1. Switzerland hasn't reported any cases of bird flu. But Germany, which has, extended its order to keep poultry indoors through May 12.3:30 a.m.:
WSJ's Nicholas Zamiska reports. Local health officials in China have failed to report possible human cases of bird flu to the central government, raising the possibility that China's death toll from the disease is higher than the official tally of 12 people.