Bird Flu Developments

Girl in China dies, the tenth official victim.

In China, the latest human deaths have raised questions over how the virus is spreading.

The 32-year-old man is the first bird flu death in an urban centre in China and occurred in an area where there have been no reports of the disease in birds. He was believed to have contracted the virus at a poultry market.

The dead girl, from Anji County, had visited relatives who kept poultry, and some chickens raised there had died during at least one of her visits, Xinhua said.

Zhong Nanshan, director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, said both victims might have been infected by chickens carrying the virus but not sickened by it.

“There is a possibility there could be human cases of H5N1 in places without outbreaks of the disease in birds. That is, there could be chickens carrying the virus but which are not sick themselves and they can infect people,” Zhong told reporters in Beijing.

Julie Hall, in charge of the WHO’s outbreak response team in China, said studies were needed into whether China’s ambitious programme to vaccinate billions of poultry might be masking the virus, making it harder to detect.

Trading practices at markets as well as the role of migratory birds also merit further scrutiny, she told Reuters on the sidelines of a WHO meeting in Geneva.

The appetite for poultry has nosedived in parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, despite politicians’ publicly eating poultry and the WHO reminding people that well-cooked chicken and eggs are safe.

Time to be paying regular visits to MaxedOutMama who has some of the best reporting on the topic.

2 thoughts on “Bird Flu Developments”

  1. Finland is worrying about the huge number of migratory birds which will return within the next few weeks

    I do wonder if a huge part of this is simply scare mongering. Influenza is a killer. But so is malaria and we hear next to nothing about that – because it’s not ‘at home’

  2. Lorna, As far as I can tell they are concerned that this bird flu will be global and deadly in impact. I can’t gauge whether is is scare tactic or not.

    We haven’t seen anything like this in our lifetimes, while we have gone through some false alarms, that combination could lead us to be complacent. It bears keeping tabs on this… as it is perhaps a case of no one knowing until after the fact and the stance now is to take precaution.

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