World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN health agency reports rapid spread of bird flu

UN health agency reports rapid spread of bird flu to 13 new countries in February

Thirteen countries have now reported the occurrence of bird flu in wild and domestic birds since the beginning of the month, part of a recent pattern of rapid geographical spread of the virus, which in a worst case scenario could develop into a lethal human pandemic, the United Nations health agency said today.

But apart from Iraq, none of the countries newly affected during February has reported human cases of the H5N1 virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Iraq has reported two human cases, both of which were fatal; samples from several other patients are currently undergoing tests.

The 13 countries, listed in order of reporting, are Iraq, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Iran, Austria, Germany, Egypt, India and France. Malaysia yesterday reported a fresh outbreak in poultry after having been considered free of the disease for more than a year.

Since the first reports of H5N1 in Asia at the end of 2003, 170 human cases have been reported, 92 of them fatal, mostly in South-East Asia and China. Nearly 200 million domestic poultry have died or been culled in order to contain the spread. The economic loss to the affected Asian countries has been estimated at around $10 billion.

UN health officials have warned that the virus could evolve into a lethal human pandemic if it mutates into a form which could transmit easily between people. Cases so far have been traced to infection directly from diseased birds. The so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1920 is estimated to have killed from 20 million to 40 million people worldwide.

The situation in the 13 recently affected countries varies greatly. Most European countries with good veterinary surveillance have detected the virus in a small number of wild birds only, with no evidence to date of spread to domestic birds.

In Azerbaijan, detection has coincided with die-offs of domestic birds. In Egypt, outbreaks in domestic poultry have now been confirmed in 10 governorates; deaths have also been reported in exotic zoo birds. In Iraq, presence of the virus in birds was found only after the country confirmed its first human case.

In Nigeria, as in India, the first cases were detected in large commercial farms, where the disease is highly visible and outbreaks are difficult to miss.

For human health, experience elsewhere over the past two years has shown that the greatest risk of cases arises when the virus becomes established in small backyard flocks, which allow continuing opportunities for close human contact, exposures, and infections to occur.

All available evidence indicates that the virus does not spread easily from poultry to humans. To date, very few cases have been detected in poultry workers, cullers, or veterinarians. Almost all cases have been linked to close contact to diseased household flocks, often during slaughtering, de-feathering, butchering, and preparation of poultry for consumption.

No cases have been linked to the consumption of properly cooked poultry meat or eggs, even in households where disease was known to be present in flocks.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gaza.Scoop: Another Israeli Attack On A Hospital

Israeli tanks attacked Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, killing five patients and doctors, and injuring more than 70. More>>

ALSO:

MH17: Black Boxes Recovered by Malaysian Government

'Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17's black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis. More>>

ALSO:


Gaza Update On 15th Day Of The Israeli Offensive

Dozens of Palestinian Civilians Killed or Wounded as Israeli Forces Attack Apartment Buildings, Mosques, Hospitals and Schools; White Phosphorous Bombs and Flechette Shells Fired by Israeli Forces in Border Areas... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>

Papua New Guinea: Indonesian Troops Fire On PNG Soldiers Along Border

Indonesian troops have opened fire on a PNG Defence Force border patrol, increasing further tension at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border. The flare-up at the border compelled the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration to summon the Indonesian ... More>>

World News: Internet Well On Way To 3 Billion Users - UN Telecom Agency

Releasing new statistics today, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users – two-thirds of them from the developing world – with mobile-broadband ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news