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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Global spread of H5N1 Bird flu

Can wearing a face mask and regularly cleaning hands stop the spread of deadly bird flu. Students at the University of Michigan have started a living experiment to find out. They are using the peak of influenza season to see if simple cotton masks and little bottles of hand sanitizer will protect them. Health experts fear the H5N1 avian influenza virus might mutate any moment and start a pandemic — a global epidemic that could kill millions. If not H5N1, some other new virus could do the same, world health officials agree. They also agree there is no easy way to stop one. So low-tech measures will be the first line of defense against any rapidly spreading new disease. “There is some anecdotal evidence from prior pandemic outbreaks that masks may have helped, but no firm data,” Monto said in a statement. Monto’s team has begun handing out 800 cases of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in small bottles for students to carry, and larger pump bottles for their rooms. They will use the products as soon as influenza is detected and reported among students. The researchers will simply watch and see if the groups get influenza and related illnesses at different rates. The H5N1 flu remains mainly a disease of birds, but it has infected 270 people since 2003 and killed 164 of them. AFP - More wild birds have been found dead of the H5N1 bird flu virus in Germany, where domestic poultry were infected last month, authorities in Bavaria said Saturday. Imphal, Aug 12 (ANI): Health officials in Manipur have begun sealing poultry farms following an outbreak of bird flu in the state. Health workers sealed the farms yesterday after completing the second phase of culling, mopping and sanitizing procedure within a 5-kilometre radius here, where symptoms of the H5N1 influenza were detected. Though no human infection of the virus has been reported so . Reuters - India declared a fresh outbreak ofavian influenza among poultry, the first this year, but asenior official said on Wednesday authorities were yet toconfirm if it was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain.The risk will increase if influenza viruses, such as those involved in the recent outbreak of flu in north China, combine with bird flu virus strains, said Zhong Nanshan, a renowned medical expert and academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Could some people have a little immunity to the H5N1 bird flu virus. PARIS.

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