NEWS SCAN: Barriers to health workers in a pandemic, avian flu in poultry

Feb 12, 2009

Obstacles to healthcare workers during a flu pandemic
A survey of 64 British healthcare workers found that though many feel obligated to come to work during an influenza pandemic, several barriers might affect their willingness, including the well-being of family members, a lack of trust in the National Health Service, a lack of information about the risk, and a feeling that employers don't take staff needs seriously. The authors, who published their findings in the latest issue of BMC Public Health, advise pandemic planners to take steps to minimize these obstacles.
[Feb 12 BMC Public Health abstract]

Avian flu hits second British Columbia farm
Canada's Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) yesterday announced that it has detected an H5 avian influenza at a second commercial poultry farm in southern British Columbia. The flock was within the 3-km surveillance zone of the Abbotsford turkey operation where the low-pathogenic H5N2 virus was detected in late January. Initial testing in the latest outbreak suggests a low-pathogenic strain, and authorities will conduct further tests to confirm the subtype, the CFIA said. The farm's 12,000 breeding chickens will be culled, according to a report yesterday from Reuters.
[Feb 11 CFIA statement]

Indonesian province reports avian flu in poultry
A district official from Indonesia's Yogyakarta province on Java island said today that avian flu has recently struck poultry in four subdistricts, according to a report from Xinhua, China's state news agency. The official, from Bantul district, said heavy rains were contributing to the spread of the virus and that area residents have been advised to take steps to control the spread of the virus.
[Feb 12 Xinhua story]

Rituals involving poultry may help spread H5N1 in Indonesia
Traditional and religious rituals involving chicken and duck sacrifices on Indonesia's Bali island may play a role in the spread of H5N1 avian influenza, according to a survey conducted by animal health officials in Bali's Klungkung regency. The survey found that animals bought specifically for the rituals are often slaughtered in large groups by people who don't wear protective equipment, and the carcasses are cleaned in rivers or gutters that local people use for bathing or drinking water, according to a report today from the Jakarta Post. The 2007 survey included responses from 641 people from 18 villages that had been hit by outbreaks and 25 uninfected villages.
[Feb 12 Jakarta Post story]

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