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Avian Flu News Tracker
posted by admin on 23/05/06
Monday, May 22
3:45 p.m.: The WHO's World Health Assembly opened today amid a sombre mood due to the death of WHO Director-General Lee Jong Wook. Excerpts of a speech Dr. Lee was to deliver were read to the assembly by the executive director from Dr. Lee's office. Avian flu was among the issues slated to be addressed at the conference (May 22-27 in Geneva) in addition to HIV/AIDS, polio and other global health concerns.
11:25 a.m.: Roche has decided to increase its advertising budget for Tamiflu to close to $30 million from the less than $2 million it spent in the last two years, Advertising Age reported. The Swiss drug maker awarded the ad account to GSW Worldwide, executives told Ad Age.
10:30 a.m.: Open bodies of water such as reservoirs, lakes or rivers that have been contaminated by H5N1-infected birds might be able to spread the virus to humans who drink or swim in the water, the iFlu.org blog reported, citing a recent WHO report. However, there is insufficient data to be sure, the report said.
9:55 a.m.: Merill Lynch analysts upgraded poultry producers Gold Kist, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride to "buy" from "neutral," saying they believe the worst stage of the poultry cycle is now behind the industry. "We have long argued that the time to buy the poultry companies on normalized earnings is when the bottom has been seen and conditions are improving. We believe that time is now," the analysts wrote in a note to clients. Still, the analysts noted the emergence of H5N1 in the U.S. would puncture demand and prices.
4:30 a.m.: WHO Director-General Lee Jong Wook, who spearheaded the agency's fight against bird flu and a possible human-influenza pandemic, died after undergoing emergency surgery for a blood clot in his brain. He was 61. Assistant Director-General Anders Nordström, chosen by Lee as his deputy in 2003, will serve as acting director-general.
3:45 a.m.: Indonesian health officials reported that a sixth member of a family on North Sumatra has died of H5N1. The 32-year-old man died after refusing to take antiviral drugs and fleeing a hospital in search of alternative treatment. Health officials said preliminary testing had uncovered two other cases, one in Jakarta and another on East Java; the Jakarta victim died May 19. I Nyoman Kandun, Indonesia's top official for communicable-disease control, said that human-to-human transmission can't be ruled out in the case of the family cluster, the AFP News Service reported. He said the investigation remains inconclusive.
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