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New Strain H5N1 Now In Viet Nam - 'This Is Very Bad'
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
"A new virus strain known as H5N1 - has invaded the northern and central parts of Viet Nam, placing veterinary services in the country on high alert as they consider a targeted vaccination campaign for the fall season."
Hello Jeff - This is, indeed, very, very bad. We all remember how SARS spread from China, to Hong kong, to Canada and the world. Bird Flu, this new mutant killer strain, has one factor that makes it very very hard to contain and prevent from spreading across oceans, migratory birds.
Bird Flu Showing 'Major Resurgence' Along With New Mutant Strain
The H5N1 bird flu virus is showing signs of a "major resurgence" and a mutant strain of the virus has appeared in China and Viet Nam, able to avoid protection offered by current vaccines, with health risks linked to the variant virus being unpredictable.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a statement on Monday urging "heightened readiness and surveillance against a possible major resurgence" of the bird flu, and is recommending countries prepare for a flare up of the virus this fall and winter.
Migratory birds may carry the virus over long distances, expanding its geographical range to affect other wild birds or poultry in countries which have been virus-free for several years, the UN notes.
"Wild birds may introduce the virus, but peoples' actions in poultry production and marketing spread it," said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Luan Lubroth in a UN news release.
Since 2003, the bird flu virus has killed or forced a culling of over 400 million domestic poultry, causing a global economic damage estimated at $20 billion. Although domestic poultry outbreaks shrank from an annual peak of 4000 to just 302 in mid-2008, outbreaks have been steadily on the rise, with almost 800 cases reported in 2010-2011.
Although the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was eliminated from the majority of countries it infected during its peak in 2006, it has remained endemic in six countries, including Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam.
These six countries will likely face the biggest problems with the bird flu, but because of the virus's airborne ability, other countries may face challenges as well.
Other countries recently affected by the virus are Israel and the Palestinian territories, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Nepal and Romania, the UN reports.
A new virus strain known as H5N1 - has invaded the northern and central parts of Viet Nam, placing veterinary services in the country on high alert as they consider a targeted vaccination campaign for the fall season.
FAO said virus circulation in Viet Nam also poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The virus can also be spread to other continents by wild bird migratory patterns.
"Preparedness and surveillance remain essential," Lubroth added. "This is no time for complacency. No one can let their guard down with H5N1."
According to the UN World Health Organization, bird flue has infected 565 people since first appearing, killing 331. Earlier this month, Cambodia recorded the latest casualty. So far this year, Cambodia has registered eight cases of bird flu in humans. All were fatal.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:<http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php>http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website: <http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/>http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health
Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." 
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