Friday, March 9, 2007

Bird Flu Booklet - 'What You Need to Know' - is Available from United Poultry Concerns in PDF and Printed Formats

MACHIPONGO, Va., March 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Poultry Concerns is pleased to announce publication of our new 8-page booklet, "Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) - What You Need to Know." The booklet provides facts and expert opinions on the role of poultry production practices in promoting avian influenza viruses. It can be ordered in quantity from United Poultry Concerns and read on the Web at
While the avian flu virus H5N1 has appeared mainly in non-western countries, last month's outbreak on a large turkey farm in Britain confirmed predictions that the virus will most likely enter western countries through an infected poultry trade, including the trade in live birds, contaminated feedstuffs and fertilizer.
Avian flu viruses have already struck North American poultry flocks. For example, in 2004, the Canadian government destroyed 19 million birds to combat the H7N3 virus that infected bird flocks in British Columbia. In 2002, U.S. companies destroyed 4.7 million turkeys and chickens to combat the H7N2 avian flu virus that infected poultry flocks in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. In 2004, tests confirmed avian influenza on chicken farms in Pennsylvania and Delaware, including a supplier to the live bird markets in New York City.
Many Americans would be shocked to learn how many tax-funded massacres of birds are quietly conducted on U.S. factory farms to control the viruses and bacteria that thrive in those places, supporting the claim in World Poultry (Jan. 16, 2007) that "Disease causing organisms are ubiquitous in poultry producing facilities all around the world."
"'Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) - What You Need to Know' is a concise resource for people interested in learning more about bird flu within the larger context of transmittable poultry diseases and disease-causing practices, and what people can do to eat healthier, more humanely produced, bird-friendly food," says Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns. "We don't need to be hostages to bird flu. We can have a better life, and so can the birds."
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.

On the Web at

FACTBOX-Bird flu's spread around the globe

March 9 (Reuters) - The deadly bird flu virus is spreading into southern provinces of Laos, a government spokesman said on Friday.
Laos confirmed on Thursday its first human death from bird flu, a 15-year-old girl living in a suburb of Vientiane where the virus was found in poultry last month.
Bird flu first broke out in Laos in January 2004 in Vientiane and nearby provinces.
The outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza began in Asia in 2003 and has spread rapidly over the past year.
Following are some facts about the H5N1 avian flu virus and its spread around the globe.
* Since the virus re-emerged in Asia in 2003, outbreaks have been confirmed in around 50 countries and territories, according to data from the World Organisation for Animal Health.
* More than 30 countries have reported outbreaks in the past year, in most cases involving wild birds such as swans.
* The virus has killed 168 people since 2003, according to thr WHO. Countries with confirmed human deaths are: Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Nigeria, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.
* In total, the virus is known to have infected 277 people since 2003, according to the WHO. Many of the dead are children and young adults.
* Vietnam and Indonesia have the highest number of cases, accounting for 105 of the total deaths.
* The H5N1 virus is not new to science and was responsible for an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Scotland in 1959. Britain confirmed new cases in birds in Scotland in April 2006 and in Suffolk earlier this month.
* H5N1 is not the only bird flu virus. There are numerous strains. For example, an outbreak in 2003 of the H7N7 bird flu virus in the Netherlands led to the destruction of more than 30 million birds, around a third of the country's poultry stock. About 2.7 million were destroyed in Belgium and around 400,000 in Germany. In the Netherlands, 89 people were infected with the H7N7 virus, of whom one (a veterinarian) died.
* The H5N1 virus made the first known jump into humans in Hong Kong in 1997, infecting 18 people and killing six of them. The government ordered the immediate culling of the territory's entire poultry flock, ending the outbreak.
* Symptoms of bird flu in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches, to eye inflammations (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications.
For a chronology of bird flu developments, double click on [ID:nL09373496]
For a Factbox of WHO figures for bird flu cases in humans, double click on [ID:nL09373098]
(Sources: OIE, WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


New bird flu assays expected to expand on detection kits

Applied Biosystems and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA), a UK government agency specializing in animal disease surveillance and veterinary research, have announced a strategic collaboration to manufacture and commercialize the VLA's molecular avian influenza and Newcastle disease environmental detection kits.
These kits are expected to be broadly available in Europe and other parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa. This collaboration is intended to help early detection of these harmful bird diseases, which is a critical step in managing the threat posed by these diseases.
The VLA has used these tests to confirm that the avian flu strain that recently killed 2,600 turkeys in Suffolk, England was the H5N1 virus. It was the first reported case of H5N1 on a UK commercial farm. The agency said that early detection enabled immediate response to contain the outbreak. These tests have also been used in a follow-up enhanced survey of the wild bird population.
The goal of the VLA and Applied Biosystems agreement is to make these types of tests - known as assays - more readily available for the same type of early warning detection in various countries. In addition to the Influenza A virus and its H5 subtype, the assays are also expected to address the H7 subtype and Newcastle disease. The new assays are designed to rapidly and reliably detect a broad range of avian influenza strains in laboratory samples.
"This collaboration agreement between Veterinary Laboratories Agency and Applied Biosystems is an ideal opportunity to combine both VLA's experience and expertise of these two very important avian diseases and Applied Biosystems' expertise and manufacturing skills," said Professor Steve Edwards, chief executive of VLA. "As with any notifiable disease, rapid confirmation is essential for control measures to be implemented quickly and to minimise the impact. These molecular detection methods should help to improve, sensitivity, specificity and turnaround time. We look forward to a long and successful partnership."
Under the terms of the agreement, Applied Biosystems will commercialize the VLA real-time PCR assays. Real-time PCR is a laboratory method used to simultaneously detect and determine the amount of nucleic acids present in samples.
The VLA assays are veterinary molecular tests that are used in a laboratory. Applied Biosystems intends to further develop these assays in a new dry format designed to render more reliable results by consolidating steps in the testing process and minimizing manual procedures. The VLA will perform the validation prior to the release of the tests, which are intended for use in animal health laboratories around the world outside the United States.


Migration Of Avian Flu Virus Reconstructed By UCI Scientists

UC Irvine researchers have combined genetic and geographic data of the H5N1 avian flu virus to reconstruct its history over the past decade. They found that multiple strains of the virus originated in the Chinese province of Guangdong, and they identified many of the migration routes through which the strains spread regionally and internationally. By knowing where H5N1 strains develop and migrate, health officials can better limit the spread of the virus by strategically intervening. Local vaccinations can be better administered by using strains from regions that have repeatedly contributed to infections. "If you can control the virus at its source, you can control it more efficiently," said Walter Fitch, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the School of Biological Sciences at UCI and co-author of the study. "With a road map of where the strain has migrated, you're more likely to isolate the strain that you should be using to make the vaccine." The study appears this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This research offers the first statistical analysis detailing the geographic distribution of influenza A H5N1, the bird flu strain. While previous work informally identified H5N1 strains by location, the UCI analysis is the first to systematically track the migration of H5N1 through its evolutionary history, adding new details that identify the relative importance of the geographic and evolutionary advances the virus makes. From 192 samples obtained across Eurasia, the UCI team reconstructed the virus's geographic reach and evolution. The analysis shows that Guangdong - home to a large poultry industry - is the source of many H5N1 strains that have spread to other provinces and countries. To the south in nearby Indochina, the strains appear largely limited to dispersal among local areas. Genetic sequences the scientists analyzed suggest that parallel evolution of different H5N1 strains lets the virus infect and cycle through different host species in a region, regardless of the host or vector species it infects first. This way, the virus can find the right host to spread the infection to the next location. This parallel evolution - the independent evolution of similar traits - enables H5N1 to spread quickly, the scientists believe. "The ability to develop the right mutation allows the virus to hop from one host type to the next," said Robert Wallace, UCI postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study. "By spreading across a large area, the virus in essence can run multiple experiments in multiple locations, increasing the likelihood that it will mutate into a form that can be transmitted from human to human." Avian flu has been isolated almost exclusively among bird populations. The H5N1 virus has only sporadically been passed on from a bird host to humans; there is little evidence that the virus can efficiently be passed on from human to human. Although fewer than 300 recorded human cases of this flu have been recorded worldwide, its high mortality rate raises concerns that if the virus mutates to where humans can pass it on, a flu pandemic may occur. ### Hoang-Minh Ho-Dac and Richard Lathrop in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UCI also worked on the study, which was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,800 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.7 billion. Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger University of California - Irvine

Bird flu virus high on Health Ministers' agenda

THE threat of an influenza pandemic caused by the highly pathogenic (H5N1) avian influenza virus circulating in a number of countries around the world will be high on the agenda of Health Ministers and senior officials from 21 Pacific Island countries when they meet in Vanuatu next week.
Discussions on this subject will focus on the World Health Organisation's Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED), the International Health Regulations (2005) and the Pacific Leaders response to the avian influenza threat in the region through the Pacific Regional Influenza Pandemic Preparedness initiative (PRIPPP).
The three-day meeting from 12 March will also seek ways to further promote health of the Pacific Island people and to strengthen the collaborative fight against diseases.
Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director-General of the SPC, said: ''I am happy to see the agenda of the meeting giving more prominence to a strategic approach to health in the region. Tabling non-communicable diseases at the meeting is very important, as recent studies indicate that diseases related to lifestyle are becoming a major threat for Pacific Island people.''
The meeting is jointly organised by the SPC and WHO.

Avian influenza in Laos

The Ministry of Health in Lao People's Democratic Republic has confirmed the country's first death from H5N1 avian influenza. The 15-year-old female from Vientiane, whose infection was announced 27 February, died on 7 March after being hospitalized in neighbouring Thailand.

Viral diseases in ostriches : a review article(BY: A.ghalyanchi1 , S.M.M.Kiaei 2 , M.modirsanei2 , A.shojaee 3

During the last decades there have been many reports on virus isolation and viral diseases in ostriches. Scientific knowledge of ostrich diseases is incomplete and very fragmented, with specific details on technical aspects of diagnostic , epidemiological and/or screening tests which are completely absent in most cases. The ostrich viral diseases wich are discuss in this paper are :Newcastle disease , other paramyxo viruses , Avian influenza, Fowl pox, Borna disease ,Crimean_ Congo hemorrhagic fever, Spongiform encephalopathy, Eastern and Western equine encephalitis ,coronoviral enteritis , Gumboro and other viral infections that caused by adenovirus , reovirus ,herpes viruses ,circovirus , retrovirus ,rotavirus ,astrovirus,picornavirus .

Avian flu in iran

Iranian veterinary organization declare all tests for H5N1 are negative.