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Thread: fearable bird flu

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    The raging bird flu in China is a good reminder the US isn't prepared for a pandemic
    The virus has a fatality rate of up to 40 percent.
    Updated by Julia Belluz@juliaoftoronto Mar 3, 2017, 12:19pm EST

    H7N9 typically surfaces at live poultry markets in China. Forty percent of those with confirmed infections have died — including at least 87 people this year alone. Karl Johaentges / LOOK-foto.

    A strain of deadly bird flu that has a high risk of becoming a pandemic is surging in China, and experts are warning that the US isn’t making the necessary preparations.

    According to an assessment from the World Health Organization this week, China had 460 lab-confirmed human cases of the H7N9 bird flu virus since last October — the most of any flu season since the virus was first reported in humans in 2013.

    This makes the current outbreak the largest on record for H7N9, a virus that typically circulates around poultry markets and can cause pneumonia or death when it spreads to people. Forty percent of those with confirmed H7N9 infections have died — including at least 87 people this year alone. That’s a very deadly pathogen.

    The risk of the current outbreak causing a global epidemic is low right now, the WHO said. Almost all of the current infections were caught directly from birds and there’s no evidence yet of ongoing human-to-human transmission. But whenever bird flu spreads to people, there’s always the worry that it will mutate to become more contagious.

    Ronald Klain ✔ @RonaldKlain
    WARNING: America isn't ready & the Trump Admin--understaffed, inexperienced, isolationist--DEFINITELY isn't ready:
    1:08 PM - 28 Feb 2017

    Photo published for Human cases of H7N9 bird flu are surging, officials say
    Human cases of H7N9 bird flu are surging, officials say
    The H7N9 bird flu virus, which has sickened and killed several hundred people in China, had seemed to be diminishing as a threat.
    731 731 Retweets 650 650 likes
    Most people at risk of H7N9 virus right now are in China, particularly those who work in the poultry sector. Vietnam should also be on guard; reports suggest the virus has surfaced there as well.

    But if this H7N9 outbreak were to spread further, experts say we’re not ready.

    “America has long been unprepared for a dangerous pandemic, but the risks are especially high under President Trump,” the former Ebola czar Ron Klain told Vox.

    Trump hasn’t yet named nominees for a new head to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the agency that would lead a pandemic response. He also hasn’t nominated anyone to head Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or USAID — two other key agencies in a pandemic.

    With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act looming, Trump is poised to gut a key public health fund that accounts for 12 percent of the CDC’s budget, and he’s reinstated the global gag rule, which depletes global health funding. “His proposed cuts in foreign aid,” Klain added, “will devastate work to detect and combat disease outbreaks abroad — the very best way to prevent those diseases from coming to America.”

    If it’s not a bird flu outbreak, it’ll be some other health threat. The pace at which pathogens are flying around the globe and threatening pandemics is only accelerating. Over the past decade, the WHO has declared four global health emergencies. Two of them happened during President Obama’s tenure (Ebola and Zika). There’s slim chance Trump will finish a four-year term without facing an outbreak of some kind.

    As for H7N9, it’s very possible it could spread to birds and people in other countries, said Dr. Tim Uyeki, a medical epidemiologist in CDC’s influenza division.

    “Among the viruses we’ve assessed... H7N9 is the most concerning. It’s at the top of the list,” Uyeki said. “We don’t know when the next pandemic is going to start, where it’s going to start. But at this time the biggest concern is the H7N9 virus.”

    Treating the current cases is also proving to be a challenge since some seem to carry genetic markers associated with drug resistance to antiviral treatments for the disease, like Tamiflu. A new assessment from the CDC also shows the virus has also split into a new lineage — which is a problem because the vaccine development for H7N9 was based on an older lineage of the virus. So we don’t have any vaccine candidates in the pipeline to fully address the current outbreak.
    It's important to understand that H7N9 is different than H5N1. There are about 40 different strains of Avian Flu.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Here it comes...

    BY REUTERS ON 3/5/17 AT 5:35 PM
    First Study Of Human Transmission Of New Bird Flu Raises Worries


    A strain of bird flu has been detected in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Tennessee's Lincoln County and the 73,500 birds will be culled to prevent the virus from entering the food system, U.S. and state agriculture officials said on Sunday.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this represented the first confirmed case of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry in the United States this year.

    The facility has been placed under quarantine, along with approximately 30 other poultry farms within a 6.2-mile (10 km) radius of the site, the Tennessee state government said. Other flocks in the quarantined area are being tested for the virus, it added.

    A Centers for Disease Control scientist measures the amount of H7N9 avian flu virus which was grown and harvested in an unnamed CDC laboratory in 2013.

    In 2014 and 2015, the United States killed nearly 50 million birds, mostly egg-laying hens, during a bout of HPAI. The losses pushed U.S. egg prices to record highs and prompted trading partners to ban imports of U.S. poultry.

    No humans were affected in that outbreak. The risk of human infection in poultry outbreaks is low, although in China people have died this winter amid an outbreak of the H7N9 virus in birds.

    HPAI bird flu was found in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana in January 2016 but there have been no other cases in commercial flocks until now.

    The breeders at the Tennessee facility were for the broiler flock, USDA spokeswoman Donna Karlsons said in an email.

    In January, the USDA detected bird flu in a wild duck in Montana that appeared to match one of the strains found during the 2014 and 2015 outbreak.

    In recent months, different strains of bird flu have been confirmed across Asia and in Europe. Authorities have culled millions of birds in affected areas to control the outbreaks.

    France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has reported outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus. In South Korea, the rapid spread of the H5N6 strain of the virus has led to the country's worst-ever outbreak of bird flu.
    TN has 30 poultry farms within a 6.2-mile radius of the site. That seems dense, but perhaps there are as many poultry farms in any such region. Americans eat a lot of nuggets.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Under the old oak tree

    Chinese herbal remedy Lianhuaqingwen inhibits influenza virus in vitro!po=19.5652

    Easily formulated but contains ephedra, which is banned in the US. Acupuncturists and Herbalists need to unite to educate the FDA on the truth regarding ephedra. In the TCM application of this medicinal, it has a high margin of safety and an incredible efficacy... but that's another discussion for another time.


    Lianhuaqingwen Capsule (LH-C) is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula used to treat respiratory tract infectious diseases in Chinese. The aim of this study was to determine the antiviral activity of LH-C and its immunomodulatory effects on viral infection.


    The in vitro cytotoxicity and antiviral activity of LH-C was determined by MTT and Plaque reduction assays. Time course study under single-cycle virus growth conditions were used to determine which stage of viral replication was blocked. The effect of LH-C on the nuclear export of the viral nucleoprotein was examined using an indirect immunofluorescence assay. The regulation to different signaling transduction events and cytokine/chemokine expression of LH-C was evaluated using Western blotting and real-time RT-PCR. After virus inoculation, BALB/c mice were administered with LH-C of different concentrations for 5 days. Body-weight, viral titers and lung pathology of the mice were measured, the level of inflammatory cytokines were also examined using real-time RT-PCR.


    LH-C inhibited the proliferation of influenza viruses of various strain in vitro, with the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) ranging from 0.35 to 2 mg/mL. LH-C blocked the early stages (0–2 h) of virus infection, it also suppressed virus-induced NF-kB activation and alleviated virus-induced gene expression of IL-6, IL-8, TNF-a, IP-10, and MCP-1 in a dose-dependent manner. LH-C treatment efficiently impaired the nuclear export of the viral RNP. A decrease of the viral titers in the lungs of mice were observed in groups administered with LH-C. The level of inflammatory cytokines were also decreased in the early stages of infection.


    LH-C, as a TCM prescription, exerts broad-spectrum effects on a series of influenza viruses, including the newly emerged H7N9, and particularly regulates the immune response of virus infection. Thus, LH-C might be a promising option for treating influenza virus infection.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    More dead. Less panic. Go figure.

    161 people have been killed by bird flu this winter in China's worst outbreak since 2009
    BY ALEX LINDER IN NEWS ON MAR 14, 2017 12:35 AM

    This year's bird flu season continues to set records in China with the virus infecting another 160 people and killing 61 in the month of February.
    Since last October, 161 people have been killed by the H7N9 virus in the most deadly avian flu outbreak the country has seen since at least 2009, the Chinese government said on Monday.
    Fortunately, the worst is likely behind us. Fatalities dropped in February from a high of 79 in January. Infections tend to fall off at the end of winter.

    Following a bird flu outbreak in 2013 that caused widespread panic, killing 36 people and resulting in more than $6 billion in economic losses for China's agricultural sector, China began to institute measures to contain and prevent the disease.
    This winter, those policies led to poultry markets around the country being shut down and some 175,000 birds being culled as Chinese authorities have become increasingly worried about the spread of the deadly virus.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Under the old oak tree

    Don't start licking those frogs yet

    Not TCM related per se but along the lines of ethomedicine origins of emerging pharmaceutical interventions... h.ox

    Frog Skin Mucus May Help Kill Strains Of Flu Virus
    19 April 2017, 7:13 am EDT By Allan Adamson Tech Times

    Name:  frog.jpg
Views: 939
Size:  92.8 KB

    The slime that coats the skin of a species of colorful frogs found in southern India may help kill strains of the flu virus.

    In a new study involving mice, researchers found that certain peptides present in the skin mucus of the Hydrophylax bahuvistara frogs can kill the H1 variety of influenza viruses.
    What Are Peptides?

    Peptides are short chains of amino acids that are known as the building blocks of protein. The skin of frogs secretes peptides that can kill viruses and bacteria.

    Findings of a new research published in the journal Immunity on April 18 suggest that these peptides could be a potential source of new antiviral and antimicrobial treatments.

    Such treatments can help when vaccines are not available to deal with new strains of pandemic flu or once currently known flu strains develop resistance to available drugs. Flu comes in several varieties and may evolve into new forms, which is why researchers need to develop new vaccines for a specific type of the virus every flu season.

    Frogs As Source Of Defense Peptides

    All animals produce at least a few antimicrobial host defense peptides since these are involved in the workings of their immune systems. Frogs, however, are of interest to researchers as a source of these peptides because it is relatively easy to isolate peptides that are found in their mucus.

    All the researchers need to do is give the amphibians an electric shock. They can also rub a powder on the animals so they would secrete their defense peptides.


    Jacob and his colleagues looked at 32 frog defense peptides for use against a flu strain and found that four of these had flu-busting abilities.

    Unfortunately, when they exposed isolated human red blood cells to these peptides, they found that three of the four peptides were toxic.

    Urumin, one of the peptides present in the frog's mucus, appeared harmless to human cells but was found lethal to a range of flu viruses.
    How Urumin Works Against Flu Viruses

    Urumin works by targeting the viral surface protein hemagluttinin, the H in H1N1.

    "The virus needs this hemagglutinin to get inside our cells," said study researcher Joshy Jacob of Emory University. "What this peptide does is it binds to the hemagglutinin and destabilizes the virus. And then it kills the virus."

    In experiments involving mice, urumin, was found to provide protection to unvaccinated mice. The peptide binds to a protein that is identical across many strains of influenza. Researchers found that the peptide can neutralize dozens of flu strains ranging from the 1934 archival viruses to those that sprung in modern times.
    Urumin As Potential Antiviral Treatment For Flu

    Urumin appears to have limitation. The peptide protected mice against a lethal dose of H1 flu strain but it was not found effective against the H3N2. Researchers though remain optimistic of its potentials as a treatment for flu.

    "Urumin represents a unique class of anti-influenza virucide that specifically targets the hemagglutinin stalk region, similar to targeting of antibodies induced by universal influenza vaccines," Jacob and colleagues wrote in their study.

    "Urumin therefore has the potential to contribute to first-line anti-viral treatments during influenza outbreaks."
    - See more at:

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    ttt 4 2019!

    China reports new bird flu outbreak in Yunnan province

    Reuters 2m

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China reported a new H5N6 bird flu outbreak in the southwestern province of Yunnan, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

    The new case, found on a poultry farm with 2,861 birds in Lijiang city in Yunnan, infected and killed 463 of the animals, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement published on its website.

    Local authorities have culled 55,917 birds following the outbreak, according to the statement.

    (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Tom Hogue)
    poultry pestilence
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Oh ****

    Published: February 4, 2020 3:19 PM UTC
    Bird Flu: China’s Ticking Time Bomb of Infectious Disease
    As the world grapples with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, a new disease emerges: a highly-fatal bird-flu known as H5N1.
    Author: William Ebbs @ebbs_william

    As China's ascendancy to world power continues, infectious diseases could become the norm. | Image: REUTERS / Bobby Yip / File Photo

    A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N1, has caused an outbreak in China’s Hunan province, near ground zero of the deadly coronavirus.

    The disease doesn’t easily infect humans but when it does, it carries a staggering mortality rate of 60% according to the WHO.

    China is a hotbed of emerging diseases. As the country rises to economic prominence, this puts the global economy at risk.

    For most people who live in first world countries, infectious diseases are not a big concern. We get a cocktail of vaccines as children and go on to live relatively healthy lives. The biggest things we have to worry about are the common flu, the common cold, and occasionally, strep throat. As China rises to global prominence, in a world that has grown increasingly interconnected, things may be changing.

    We could be reverting to a time when deadly diseases were a fact of life for everyone – in every country.

    As the global coronavirus outbreak grows to infect over 20,000 with 425 fatalities, China finds itself in the cross hairs of a new, dangerous outbreak: bird flu, an infection that can kill poultry and humans alike. While the disease, known as H5N1, hasn’t infected any humans yet, it’s revealing a disturbing pattern with global implications. New diseases are emerging at an alarming rate, and this puts the whole world at risk.

    The Coronavirus Is Still At Large

    According to the latest data, Wuhan coronavirus has grown to infect 20,680 people – the majority in Hubei province, China. The disease has spread to 27 countries and 427 people have died.

    In response, U.S authorities have taken drastic actions to limit contact with China. The State Department has issued a travel warning, airlines are canceling flights and American companies with Chinese operations are shuttering operations in the country.


    Authorities should have the ability to get the coronavirus under control but what will they do when the next massive outbreak crops up? Can the global economy withstand these repeated shocks?

    Another Outbreak: Bird Flu

    According to China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the nation is experiencing an outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu called H5N1. The disease has already killed 4,500 chickens in Hunan province alone and the government has culled almost 18,000 chickens to prevent its spread.

    According to the United States Geological Survey, there’s no need to panic about the term “highly pathogenic” because it refers to the virus’s ability to kill chickens, not humans.

    They state the following:

    The designation of low or highly pathogenic avian influenza refers to the potential for these viruses to kill chickens. The designation of “low pathogenic” or “highly pathogenic” does not refer to how infectious the viruses may be to humans, other mammals, or other species of birds.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) paints a more disturbing picture of the disease.

    Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.
    They go on to elaborate

    Influenza viruses constantly undergo genetic changes. It would be a cause for concern, should the H5N1 virus become more easily transmissible among humans.

    A 60% mortality rate is staggering. To put this in perspective, note that coronavirus has a mortality rate of only 2.1% while SARS had a mortality rate of 9.6%. With a mortality rate of 60%, the bird flu is as deadly as Ebola. While it doesn’t currently spread well among humans, experts believe it can mutate into more virulent forms.
    This is a ticking time bomb.

    This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.

    William Ebbs @ebbs_william
    As a writer with over five years of experience, William Ebbs has contributed to CCN, The Motley Fool and other wonderful clients. He has earned millions of page views with his hard-hitting, opinionated work. He focuses on financial markets and business. When Will isn't writing, he enjoys strategy gaming, heated debates, and researching for his next article. William Ebbs is based in the United States of America and can be reached at
    Bird Flu
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Still a threat

    Bird flu: humans infected with H5N8 strain for first time in Russia
    Seven poultry workers found to be infected, but no evidence of transmission between humans

    Turkey hens in Germany. The H5N8 strain is deadly for birds, and this marks the first transmission of the strain from animals to humans. Photograph: Jens Buettner/EPA
    Molly Blackall
    Sat 20 Feb 2021 12.17 EST

    A H5N8 strain of bird flu has been detected in humans for the first time, among seven workers who were infected at a Russian poultry plant in December.

    There is no evidence of the strain being transmitted between humans, but Russia has reported the transmission to the World Health Organization.

    The workers now feel well, and “the situation did not develop further”, according to Dr Anna Popova, head of consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor. She said the workers had been infected during an outbreak of the strain at the plant.

    Outbreaks of the strain have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and north Africa in recent months, but only in poultry.

    Other strains of bird flu, including H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2, have been transmitted to humans before.

    The H5N8 strain is deadly for birds, and this marks the first transmission of the strain from animals to humans. While Popova said the strain didn’t appear to be able to spread among humans, “only time will tell how soon future mutations will allow it to overcome this barrier”.

    The discovery of this strain “gives us all, the whole world, time to prepare for possible mutations and the possibility to react in a timely way and develop test systems and vaccines,” she said.

    The Vector Institute in Siberia said on Saturday that it would start developing human tests and a vaccine against H5N8, according to RIA news agency.

    Speaking on state TV, Popova said that Russia had reported the developments to the WHO several days ago, “just as we became absolutely certain of our results”.

    Most cases of human bird flu infections have been linked to direct contact with infected live or dead poultry, though properly cooked food is considered safe.

    The cases tend to be spread via migrating wild birds, leading producing countries to keep their poultry indoors or segregated from wildlife.

    Outbreaks of bird flu often lead poultry plants to kill their birds to prevent the virus spreading further, and often prompts other countries to impose trade restrictions. In the UK, five outbreaks of the H5N8 strain in Gloucestershire, Dorset, Devon, Cheshire and Kent were detected in November, leading officials to implement a prevention zone in England, Scotland and Wales.

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that all birds in the affected areas had been culled “humanely” and control zones introduced.
    The future is in vaxxing...
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    If it's not one plague...'s another.

    October 26, 2021
    12:50 AM PDT
    Last Updated 9 hours ago
    Rise in human bird flu cases in China shows risk of fast-changing variants: experts
    By Dominique Patton

    4 minute read

    A man provides water for chickens inside a greenhouse at a farm in Heihe, Heilongjiang province, China November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

    BEIJING, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A jump in the number of people in China infected with bird flu this year is raising concern among experts, who say a previously circulating strain appears to have changed and may be more infectious to people.

    China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza in 2021 to the World Health Organization (WHO), compared with only five last year, it said.

    Though the numbers are much lower than the hundreds infected with H7N9 in 2017, the infections are serious, leaving many critically ill, and at least six dead.

    "The increase in human cases in China this year is of concern. It's a virus that causes high mortality," said Thijs Kuiken, professor of comparative pathology at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam.

    Most of the cases had come into contact with poultry, and there are no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission, said the WHO, which highlighted the rise in cases in a statement on Oct. 4.

    It said further investigation was "urgently" required to understand the risk and the increase in spill over to people.

    Since then, a 60-year-old woman in Hunan province was admitted to hospital in a critical condition with H5N6 influenza on Oct. 13, according to a Hong Kong government statement.

    While human H5N6 cases have been reported, no outbreaks of H5N6 have been reported in poultry in China since February 2020.

    China is the world's biggest poultry producer and top producer of ducks, which act as a reservoir for flu viruses.

    The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could not be reached for comment on the rise in H5N6 human cases. However, a study published on its website last month said the "increasing genetic diversity and geographical distribution of H5N6 pose a serious threat to the poultry industry and human health".

    Avian influenza viruses constantly circulate in domestic and wild birds, but rarely infect people. However, the evolution of the viruses, which have increased as poultry populations grow, is a major concern because they could change into a virus that spreads easily between people and cause a pandemic.

    The largest number of H5N6 infections have been in southwestern Sichuan province, though cases have also been reported in neighbouring Chongqing and Guangxi, as well as Guangdong, Anhui and Hunan provinces.

    At least 10 were caused by viruses genetically very similar to the H5N8 virus that ravaged poultry farms across Europe last winter and also killed wild birds in China. That suggests the latest H5N6 infections in China may be a new variant.

    "It could be that this variant is a little more infectious (to people)...or there could be more of this virus in poultry at the moment and that's why more people are getting infected," said Kuiken.

    Four of the Sichuan cases raised poultry at home and had been in contact with dead birds, said a September report by China's CDC. Another had bought a duck from a live poultry market a week before developing symptoms.

    China vaccinates poultry against avian influenza but the vaccine used last year may only partially protect against emerging viruses, preventing large outbreaks but allowing the virus to keep circulating, said Filip Claes, Regional Laboratory Coordinator at the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the Food and Agriculture Organization.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

    Backyard farms in China are common and many people still prefer to buy live chickens at markets.

    Guilin city in Guangxi region, which had two human cases in August, said last month it had suspended trading of live poultry in 13 urban markets and would abolish the trade within a year.

    Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Michael Perry
    Gene Ching
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  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Just to keep things in perspective...

    ...epidemics don't necessarily ever go away. They just subside.

    Person Catches Bird Flu in 'Very Rare' Case of Animal to Human Transmission

    BY ROBERT LEA ON 1/6/22 AT 9:16 AM EST

    A"very rare" case of bird flu has been detected in a human in southwest England, a U.K. government agency confirmed on Thursday.

    The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that the person had been in close contact with infected birds and there was no evidence of onward transmission.

    The UKHSA said: "The person acquired the infection from very close, regular contact with a large number of infected birds, which they kept in and around their home over a prolonged period of time.

    "All contacts of the individual, including those who visited the premises, have been traced and there is no evidence of onward spread of the infection to anyone else. The individual is currently well and self-isolating. The risk to the wider public from avian flu continues to be very low."

    The U.K.'s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said in a press release that the risk of the spread of avian flu had been further diminished by rapid action.

    She said: "While avian influenza is highly contagious in birds, this is a very rare event and is very specific to the circumstances on this premises.

    "We took swift action to limit the spread of the disease at the site in question, all infected birds have been humanely culled, and cleansing and disinfection of the premises is underway. This is a reminder that stringent cleanliness when keeping animals is important."

    The UKHSA said that the U.K. has recently seen a large number of outbreaks and incidents of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in birds across the country. This has prompted the U.K.'s Chief Veterinary Officer and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to issue alerts to bird owners.

    This case was detected when APHA identified an outbreak of avian flu in a flock of birds as part of routine testing. The UKHSA said that the World Health Organization had been informed of the infection.

    It added that to prevent the spread of avian flu, it is important that people do not touch or otherwise handle dead birds. Exposed people are offered anti-viral treatment to stop the virus from reproducing in their bodies, thus limiting the spread of avian flu.

    Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, U.K., said in a statement: "Transfer of avian flu to people is rare as it requires direct contact between an infected, usually dead, bird and the individual concerned.

    "It is a risk for the handlers who are charged with the disposal of carcasses after an outbreak but the virus does not spread generally and poses little threat. It does not behave like the seasonal flu we are used to."

    Jones said: "Despite the current heightened concern around viruses there is no risk to chicken meat or eggs and no need for public alarm."

    Mike Tildesley, professor in infectious disease modelling at the University of Warwick, U.K., said in a statement: "This is clearly going to be big news but the key thing is that human infections with H5N1 are really rare and they almost always occur as a result of direct, long term contact with poultry.

    "There has never been any evidence of sustained human to human transmission of H5N1 so at present I wouldn't consider this to be a significant public health risk."

    A stock image of birds being tested for avian flu. UK authorities have discovered a rare case of avian flu in a human.
    Gene Ching
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  11. #26
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    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Avian fllu still fearable...

    Bird flu: 50 million birds die in record US outbreak
    23 hours ago

    Bird flu deaths caused a rise in turkey prices ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday

    Over 50 million birds have died amid a record-breaking outbreak of avian flu in the United States, according to the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
    This year's total of 50.54m birds - including chickens and turkeys - has surpassed a previous high set in 2015.
    Flocks in over 40 states have been affected, more than double the number of states in the previous outbreak.
    While the risk for humans is low, authorities have warned that safety measures should be taken near birds.
    The disease is spread by wild birds which transmit the virus through feathers, faeces and direct contact.
    "Wild birds continue to spread HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] throughout the country as they migrate, so preventing contact between domestic flocks and wild birds is critical to protecting US poultry," Rosemary Sifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
    Why is bird flu so bad this year?
    In a 3 November announcement about the ongoing outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that while the risk to the general public remains low, it is advising Americans to take "preventative measures" - such as avoiding direct contact with wild birds and avoiding unprotected contact with poultry - to prevent spreading the disease to humans, pets, birds and other animals.
    "This applies not just to workplace or wildlife settings, but potentially to household settings where people have backyard flocks or pet birds with potential exposures to wild or domestic infected birds," the statement added.
    While cases of human infections are rare, the CDC's website warns that the virus could spread when airborne - such as via droplets or dust - if it gets into a person's eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled.
    Symptoms of bird flu in humans have previously ranged from eye redness and mild flu-like symptoms, to pneumonia and difficulty breathing. World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that only 868 cases of transmission from birds to humans were recorded between 2003 and 3 November 2022, resulting in 456 deaths.
    In the US, only one case - a Colorado resident who was directly exposed to poultry - has been reported in the recent outbreak. The person reported fatigue for a few days and recovered, the CDC said in April.
    Poultry deaths stemming from avian flu led to rising prices for eggs and turkey ahead of last week's Thanksgiving holiday in the US. The American Farm Bureau, a US-based insurance company and lobbying group, said the price of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey had risen 21% over the last year and now stands at nearly $29 (£24.05) for a 16 pound (7.5kg) bird.
    Record outbreaks of avian flu have also swept across the UK and Europe, as well as parts of Africa and Asia.
    The World Organisation for Animal Health believes the wave of outbreaks is the result of international trade, farming practices and migratory wild birds. Over 4.6 million birds died or were culled between mid-October and mid-November alone, according to the organisation.
    On 31 October, concerns over the outbreak prompted officials in England to order that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors from 7 November.
    A similar measure went into effect on Monday in Northern Ireland, and is scheduled to be implemented in Wales on 2 December.
    I didn't see this at all in the US news...
    Gene Ching
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  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Avian flu outbreak is killing wild birds across California — and there’s no cure

    A new strain of highly pathogenic avian #influenza, #H5N1, is infecting wild #birds in the #SFBayArea in an outbreak that experts say is unprecedented in #California.

    H5N1 causes neurological problems such as tremors and seizures, as seen in these videos. Those who see a bird acting strange, having tremors or looking weak and lethargic should call a local animal control or wildlife center.

    Don’t touch injured or dead birds or let pets or children near them, and report dead birds to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The department also recommends against feeding and giving water to wild birds, since the disease can spread when they’re closer together.

    Credit: Erika Carlos, Stephen Lam
    Read more:
    Gene Ching
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  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    The avian flu is hammering U.S. poultry farmers, leaving experts to ask: What has changed?
    More than 40 million egg-laying hens have been culled in the U.S. alone, making it the worst outbreak on record.

    A man checks his flock of white turkeys at his family's farm last year in Townsend, Del.Nathan Howard / Getty Images file

    Jan. 18, 2023, 12:57 PM PST
    By Denise Chow and Evan Bush
    The worst outbreak of avian influenza on record is threatening to stretch into a second year, as the U.S. races to contain a virus that has already caused some food prices to soar amid a shortage of eggs.

    Nearly 58 million birds from commercial and backyard flocks have been wiped out in the U.S. since last February, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    Experts say the virus, known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, has been difficult to contain because it appears to be more prevalent in wild birds now than during previous outbreaks — a development that also makes future infections more likely. And while the risk of the virus spilling over into humans remains low, scientists say communities will feel the consequences of such a serious and lengthy outbreak for months to come.

    “As it is now, this is the largest animal emergency that the USDA has faced in this country,” said Gino Lorenzoni, an assistant professor of poultry science and avian health at Pennsylvania State University.

    More than 40 million egg-laying hens have been culled in the U.S. alone, causing the price of eggs nationwide to skyrocket, Lorenzoni said. Months earlier, the “bird flu” outbreak drove the cost of turkey meat to record highs.

    The virus can take commercial poultry farms out of commission for extended periods.

    “They have to remove dead birds, disinfect their facility and bring new birds in — that’s a several-month process to do that,” said Kevin Snekvik, the executive director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University. “That’s when production of eggs is hammered.”

    Eggs on a shelf at Pioneer Supermarkets in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Thursday.Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images file
    Efforts to prevent infections in commercial and backyard flocks are ongoing, but slowing the outbreak has been challenging because the virus seems to have gained a foothold in species of wild birds, said Biao He, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

    As these birds migrate, crisscrossing continents and oceans, they can carry the virus with them.

    “That’s how the virus can go from Asia to Europe to North America — all the way around the world,” He said.

    Poultry can become infected through direct exposure to wild birds but more likely from fecal matter that contaminates the ground around farms or yards.

    Once that happens, entire flocks typically need to be culled.

    “The virus transmits very, very rapidly within the flock, so even if birds don’t appear sick, they will eventually die very soon,” Lorenzoni said. “The best way to stop the spread of the disease is if we eliminate all the birds that are in close contact with the contaminated birds.”

    Rescued chickens gather last year in an aviary at Farm Sanctuary’s Southern California Sanctuary in Acton, Calif.Mario Tama / Getty Images file
    Monitoring and prevention of avian influenza has improved since the last major outbreak in 2015, Lorenzoni said, when roughly 50 million birds were killed over six months. The USDA’s “Defend the Flock Program” includes, for instance, information on biosecurity measures and how to spot signs of illness.

    Still, the scale of the spread is putting strain on animal health laboratories. Suresh Kuchipudi, the interim director of the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, said three animal testing laboratories in Pennsylvania are processing several thousand samples each week. His lab is largely operating seven days a week.

    “The spread is much more complex than what we normally predict,” Kuchipudi said. “Nothing like this has happened in the past and the question is — what has changed?”

    The virus’s prevalence in the wild presents new challenges for its containment. Many migrating birds are not sickened by bird flu, which means it’s not well understood just how widespread it is in the wild, Lorenzoni added.

    Local weather conditions also influence how the virus spreads. The sun can, for instance, naturally disinfect surfaces while gloomier days help viral particles survive on surfaces contaminated by infected bird poop, Lorenzoni said.

    And if the outbreak lingers into spring, infections could become even more difficult to prevent as a new wave of bird migrations begin.

    There are also concerns that the virus could mutate as it continues to spread or infect other animals. Though experts have said the virus rarely infects humans, HPAI has been detected in mammals such as skunks, raccoons, harbor seals, red foxes and bears, according to the USDA.

    If allowed to spread unfettered, the pathogen could evolve in such a way that makes it more devastating or harder to control.

    “A virus is single-minded: It has to replicate, to reproduce,” He said. “With all those replications, it can accumulate a lot of different changes. This is happening as we speak, and this is why I’m afraid influenza is going to be with us for a long while.”

    Denise Chow
    Denise Chow is a reporter for NBC News Science focused on general science and climate change.
    About that price of eggs...
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Keeping an eye...

    ...we are too.

    Bird flu isn’t a direct threat to humans yet, experts say, but they’re keeping a close eye on the virus
    By Jen Christensen, CNN
    Published 7:20 AM EST, Tue February 14, 2023


    Avian flu has infected a record number of birds and some mammals across the United States, and scientists are keeping close watch.

    World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that the risk to humans remains low but added, “we cannot assume that will remain the case.”

    As with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 that is believed to have started in animals before spreading to humans, some animal viruses can mutate, jump species to make humans sick and spread quickly around the world.

    But highly pathogenic avian influenza is no Covid-19. Scientists are reassuring the public that, with a few rare exceptions, the virus hasn’t made the jump to humans at a large enough scale to trigger an outbreak.

    It has gone far beyond birds, though, and its recent spread among members of a separate species has some experts concerned about the way the virus is changing.

    What is bird flu?

    Avian flu is a type A influenza virus that originated in birds. The version that’s predominantly causing problems in the Americas and Europe is called H5N1. There are several subtypes, and H5N1 bird flu viruses commonly in circulation now are genetically different from earlier versions of the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Since late 2022, scientists have detected this virus in more than 100 species of wild birds like ducks, seagulls, geese, hawks and owls in the US.

    Globally, this strain of the virus has actually been around a lot longer, said Richard Webby, an infectious disease researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and director of WHO’s Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds.

    “We saw the sort of great-great-granddad of the virus in the late 1990s in Southeast Asia, and we’ve been following its evolution and change ever since,” Webby said.

    By the 2000s, it had spread into parts of Europe and Africa and then got carried into the rest of the world through infected migratory birds. It came to the Americas more recently, Webby said.

    The first infection with this version of the virus was reported in wild birds in the US in January 2022, according to the CDC. The next month, the US Department of Agriculture announced an outbreak among turkeys in a commercial facility.

    Studies have shown that bird flu may spread to songbirds, but the ones that typically gather at feeders – such as cardinals, sparrows or blue jays – and those you may see on the street like pigeons or crows do not typically carry bird flu viruses that would be a threat to humans, according to the CDC.

    Ducks and geese can carry the virus without appearing sick. Poultry isn’t always so lucky.

    Highly pathogenic avian influenza carries “very high mortality rates” among chickens and turkeys. The disease can affect multiple internal organs, causing death in 90% to 100% of chickens within 48 hours of infection, according to the CDC.

    Because it can spread rapidly, farmers usually have to cull uninfected birds along with infected ones to prevent a wider outbreak. It is considered one of the largest known threats to domestic birds.

    As of Wednesday, 6,111 cases had been detected in wild birds in all 50 states, the USDA says. The virus has affected more than 58.3 million poultry birds in 47 states, according to the CDC.

    The sheer volume of cases means that the virus has a better chance of spilling over into other species, experts say.

    More animals getting sick

    Bird flu spreads through things like feces and saliva. It can also spread through contact with a contaminated surface.

    The virus has infected many mammals in the US, mostly in the West and Midwest, as part of the latest outbreak.

    In Alaska, cases have been reported among bears and foxes, according to the USDA. The virus has also been found in a bobcat in California, a skunk in Colorado, a raccoon in Washington, possums in Illinois and Iowa, a mountain lion and grizzly bear in Nebraska, seals in Maine and even a bottlenose dolphin in Florida.

    In total, 17 non-bird species have been infected in 20 states.

    Scientists say that all of those sick mammals probably caught the virus when they ate or otherwise interacted with infected birds.

    But in a concerning development last fall, the virus seemed to spread between mammals – perhaps for the first time – at a mink farm in Spain, according to a study published in the journal Eurosurveillance.

    The mink got bloody noses, developed tremors, lost their appetite and seemed depressed, the scientists said, and had to be killed to keep the threat in check.

    The virus did not spread to humans who worked at the mink farm, but what worried scientists were the multiple mutations found in the virus that made it distinct from sequences found in birds. One mutation made it better at replicating in mammals, although it’s not clear whether the mutation was in the virus before it got to the farm.

    “But it’s when it starts to spread from one mammal to the next mammal to the next mammal, it’s in those environments where we think it’s most likely that it will pick up these changes that allow us to switch hosts, and that’s why we get concerned,” Webby said.

    A handful of human cases

    There have been less than 10 known avian flu cases in humans since December 2021, and none has come from human-to-human transmission, the CDC says.

    The most recent US case was in a person in Colorado who got sick after culling infected birds in April. The person reported being tired for a few days. They were isolated and treated with an antiviral, according to the CDC.

    The agency said at the time that the threat to public health remained low, but it urged people who had any kind of exposure to birds to take precautions.

    “People who’ve typically become ill are one of those individuals who have very intense interactions with wildlife either alive or dead,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and the John Snow professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. “I wouldn’t say there’s another pandemic upon us, because it’s not. We’re not there.

    “What we need to do right now is to watch very closely the way this spreads. We need to contain it in farms and wildlife as best we can,” he added.

    How to stay safe

    Although the threat to people is low, the CDC suggests avoiding direct contact with wild birds.

    Webby says that if you need to handle a dead bird, such as removing it from a feeder, use gloves and a mask. Always wash your hands after touching birds or feeders.

    It’s safe to eat poultry and eggs that are properly handled and cooked, the CDC said. Bird flu is not a foodborne illness, and the poultry industry is closely monitored and has strict health standards that include monitoring and controlling bird flu.

    Always cook poultry and eggs to 165 degrees, a temperature that kills bacteria and viruses, including bird flu.

    In the highly unlikely case that someone became sick, the CDC recommends getting treated right away. Most bird flu infections can be treated with currently available flu antiviral drugs, the agency says.

    The US government also has a stockpile of vaccines, including against bird flu viruses, that could be used if this flu were ever to spread easily from person to person, the CDC says.

    “The chances are not zero that you could get this, and anything you can do to further reduce that risk is a good thing,” Webby said. “But you probably really have to work hard to be infected with this virus.”
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    3 minute readFebruary 24, 20236:49 AM PSTLast Updated 2 days ago
    Bird flu situation 'worrying'; WHO working with Cambodia
    By Jennifer Rigby

    [1/2] A test tube labelled "Bird Flu" and eggs are seen in this picture illustration, January 14, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

    LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization is working with Cambodian authorities after two confirmed human cases of H5N1 bird flu were found among one family in the country.

    Describing the situation as "worrying" due to the recent rise in cases in birds and mammals, Dr Sylvie Briand, the director of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, told reporters in a virtual briefing that WHO was reviewing its global risk assessment in light of the recent developments.

    The U.N. health agency last assessed the risk to humans from avian flu as low earlier this month.

    Cambodian authorities on Thursday reported the death of an 11-year old girl due to H5N1, and began testing 12 of her contacts. Her father, who had been showing symptoms, has also tested positive for the virus.

    "The global H5N1 situation is worrying given the wide spread of the virus in birds around the world and the increasing reports of cases in mammals including humans," Briand said. "WHO takes the risk from this virus seriously and urges heightened vigilance from all countries."

    Briand said it was not yet clear whether there had been any human-to-human transmission, which was a key reason to focus on the cases in Cambodia, or if the two cases were due to the "same environmental conditions," likely close contact with infected birds or other animals.

    A new strain of H5N1, clade, emerged in 2020 and has been causing record numbers of deaths among wild birds and domestic poultry in recent months. It has also infected mammals, raising global concerns.

    However, unlike earlier outbreaks of H5N1, which has been around for more than two decades, this subtype is not causing significant illness in people. So far, only about a half dozen cases have been reported to the WHO in people who had close contact with infected birds, and most of those have been mild. Experts have suggested that the virus might need to change in order for human transmission to occur.

    However, WHO said it was stepping up preparedness efforts regardless, and noted that there were antivirals available, as well as 20 licensed pandemic vaccines if the situation changes, although they would have to be updated to more closely match the circulating strain of H5N1 if needed.

    That could take four to five months, said Richard Webby, director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds at St. Jude Children's Hospital. However, some stockpiled vaccines would be available in the meantime.

    WHO-affiliated labs already hold two flu virus strains that are closely related to the circulating H5N1 virus, which manufacturers can use to develop new shots if needed. A global meeting of flu experts this week suggested developing another strain that more closely matches H5N1 clade, Webby told the briefing.

    Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; editing by Jon Boyle, Jason Neely and Tomasz Janowski
    Gene Ching
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