NEWS SCAN: H5N1 vaccine problems, outbreaks in 2 countries

Feb 3, 2010

Indonesian scientist says H5N1 may be outwitting poultry vaccines
An Indonesian virologist says the H5N1 avian influenza virus in Indonesia may have evolved so as to make the poultry vaccines used there less effective, according to a report in the Jakarta Globe. The virologist, I Gusti Ngurah Mahardhika, said genetic differences of up to 8.7% were found when viral isolates collected at farms with vaccinated flocks in 2008 and 2009 were compared with a virus isolated from Legok, Banten, in 2003. The Legok virus is still being used by most vaccine producers in Indonesia, the story said. Mahardhika suggested that the viral mutations may explain a series of outbreaks in Indonesian flocks over the past 2 years and said he had "strong evidence" that vaccines based on the Legok virus are not effective against newer strains. Another scientist, Amin Soebandrio of the University of Indonesia, said he concurred with Mahardhika's findings and commented, "We need to see whether the changes increase the capacity of the virus to infect the human respiratory system."

Cambodia, Vietnam report H5N1 outbreaks
Cambodian authorities began culling ducks yesterday to control an H5N1 avian flu outbreak that killed more than 15,000 ducks last week in the southern province of Takeo, the Associated Press reported. Samples tested positive for the virus yesterday. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 ducks were infected with avian flu on a farm in Vietnam's central province of Quang Tri, leading to the culling of another 1,000 ducks, vaccination of 8,300, and other control measures, Viet Nam News reported today. The province's animal health officer said the ducks' owner was slow to report the outbreak, which allowed the disease to spread.
Feb 3 Viet Nam News report

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