Friday, December 23, 2005

News - Two more avian-flu deaths in Indonesia

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Two more people have died from avian influenza in Indonesia, the World Health Organization confirmed Thursday.

The latest victims, an 8-year-old boy and a 39-year-old man, both of whom had been previously reported as suspected avian-flu cases, take the total number of bird-flu fatalities in Indonesia to 11.

Meanwhile:

-- Following reports that H5N1 is developing a resistance to Tamiflu, Roche, the makers of the anti-viral, has announced that it is investigating new ways of using Tamiflu effectively in the face of a potential pandemic.

One approach may be to increase the doses, which would have the side-effect of further reducing a global stockpile that has already been deemed insufficient.

The World Health Organization attempted to reassure the public in the face of this latest potential pandemic setback. "Whenever you use any kind of drugs, anti-virals or antibiotics, you expect to see resistance develop," the BBC reported Keiji Fukuda, a scientist in the WHO's global influenza program, as saying.

-- Avian influenza outbreaks in birds are drawing ever closer to the Romanian capital of Bucharest.

On Wednesday outbreaks were reported 100 miles east of the city.

Government officials Thursday confirmed the presence of an H5 avian-influenza outbreak in a village 60 miles east of Bucharest, although they are awaiting confirmation regarding the N1 substrain.

In response to the outbreak, the now usual quarantines and culling of domestic birds have been imposed.

-- Bird flu has been ruled out as the cause of death of thousands of birds found dead in Malawi last week.

Instead, it appears that the birds died as a result of heavy rains.

United Press International - Consumer Health - Two more avian-flu deaths in Indonesia

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