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Indian Government Responds To New Avian Flu Outbreak

“Authorities in eastern India will start culling chickens and destroying eggs to contain a new outbreak of H5 bird flu, the government said in a statement on Tuesday, as a mutant strain of the virus is spreading elsewhere in Asia,” Reuters reports (Williams, 9/20). “A mutant strain of avian influenza — for which there is no vaccine — appeared recently in China and Vietnam. But Indian authorities did not specify which strain of the H5N1 virus had been detected in the West Bengal region, which has been a hot spot for avian flu in the past,” the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports. The blog provides a link to track the movement of bird flu on the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s avian influenza pages and a link for additional information on the virus from the CDC (9/20).

Genetic Factor Found In Link Between H1N1 Flu Vaccine And Children's Narcolepsy, Finland Institute Says

“Finland’s national health institute said on Thursday its latest research on previously found links between children’s narcolepsy and GlaxoSmithKline’s [GSK] Pandemrix vaccine against [H1N1] swine flu also involved a genetic risk factor,” Reuters reports. In Finland, where 98 narcolepsy cases have been reported following the flu vaccinations, researchers found vaccinated children ages four to 19 “had a 12.7 times higher risk of experiencing narcolepsy than those who were not,” the news agency notes (9/1).

'No Evidence' Mutant Bird Flu Virus Poses Increased Risk To Humans, WHO And FAO Say

After the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “last week voiced concern about the appearance in Vietnam and China of” a mutant strain of the H5N1 avian flu virus, the WHO and FAO on Monday “said in a joint statement issued in response to questions from Agence France-Presse” that “[t]here is no evidence to suggest yet that this new virus strain will have any increased risk to human health,” the news agency reports. “‘Nevertheless, poultry producers and the general public should always take simple precautions to reduce exposure to the virus from infected poultry,’ it said,” the news agency writes, noting the “H5N1 virus typically spreads from birds to humans via direct contact” (9/5).

GAO Reports On Government Response To H1N1 Pandemic

GAO on Monday published two reports on the government’s response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. The first report examines lessons learned from the government’s response that can be incorporated into future planning (6/27). The second report examines how production delays for the H1N1 vaccine “heightened interest in alternative technologies…

World Must Invest Equally In Bird Flu Prevention And Response

The “reports during the past two weeks of two recent infections and another death” from H5N1 (avian) influenza “raised little concern except among public health officials,” Robert Gatter, co-director of the Center for Health Law Studies and professor of law at Saint Louis University, writes in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece, adding that “[t]he fact that bird flu in developing nations receives little public attention reveals that the world has become complacent about this threat.”

WHO Considers Sending Experts To China As Death Toll From H7N9 Virus Hits 7

The WHO “is talking with the Chinese government about sending international experts to China to help investigate a new bird flu strain that has sickened at least 24 people, killing seven of them,” the Associated Press reports. “A 64-year-old retired man in Shanghai became the latest victim of the H7N9…

un agReports Of H7N9 Cases, Deaths Continue From Across China

“Two more people have died in China from a new strain of bird flu, raising the death toll from the virus to 13, state media reported Sunday,” the Associated Press reports. “A total of 11 new cases were reported Sunday — including two in a central province that previously had…

Health Officials Have Reason To ‘Remain Hypervigilant’ Over H7N9

“Just as the world was breathing easier about a deadly bird flu virus that killed 371 people over the past decade before dropping out of sight, a different form of bird flu has emerged in China that is causing concern among health experts,” a New York Times editorial writes. “So far there…