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Avian flu outbreaks wax, wane

Apr 17, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Poultry deaths due to the H5N1 avian influenza virus are spreading in some parts of the world as cases decline elsewhere.
In Pakistan, the health of four poultry workers was being tracked following an outbreak of H5N1 on a farm near Islamabad, according to a story today by Reuters news service. About 3,500 birds on the farm were culled recently. Authorities were asking people in a 3-mile radius of the farm if they were experiencing any avian flu symptoms, the story said.

Although they haven't found any human infections since the poultry outbreaks began in February, officials expressed concern because a lack of resources is affecting monitoring, Reuters reported.

"An effective system needs money, and that is what we don't have," said Rana Ikhlaq, deputy commissioner of the agriculture ministry.

The Pakistani Agriculture Ministry confirmed the poultry outbreak on Sunday.

Concerns about a potential outbreak in the West African country of Ivory Coast rose earlier this month when five dogs died after eating poultry carcasses from a large bird die-off in the town of Bondoukou, according to the Independent Online (IOL) Web site from South Africa. Bondoukou is 500 kilometers east of the city of Abidjan.

Authorities in Ivory Coast today announced that local tests showed the outbreak was not related to the H5N1 virus, according to Today Online of Singapore. The tests were conducted at Bingerville laboratory in Abidjan. The results have not been confirmed at a World Health Organization (WHO) lab. In addition, authorities did not offer an explanation for the rapid deaths of more than 200 chickens found dead at the end of March in the village of Soko.

Two villages in Cambodia have confirmed the influenza virus in poultry since Mar 20. About 700 birds were involved in an outbreak in Tuol Prich village in Kompong Speu province, and about 247 birds died or were culled in Kamakor village of Kompot province, Cambodian authorities confirmed Apr 13 in a report to the World
Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Russia, the H5N1 virus is waning, according to a story today in Russian News and Information Agency Novosti (RIA Novosti).

"The bird flu situation has now improved, and the number of quarantine zones has been sharply reduced," Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said. "Birds are being vaccinated in migration stopover areas for wild birds."

Fourteen towns in four regions continue to have avian flu outbreaks in Russia today, the agriculture ministry announced today, according to RIA Novosti. About 1.1 million birds have died and roughly another 300,000 have been culled, the story noted.

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