FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 in Bangladesh, flu hybrid in Hong Kong pigs, anti-vaccine group vs AAP

Nov 16, 2011

11,000 chickens culled after H5N1 outbreak in Bangladesh
Some 11,000 chickens and 43,000 eggs were destroyed after an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu was confirmed on a Bangladeshi farm, according to a report today from the Dhaka-based Daily Star. The farm, in Charlaxmipur village near Dhaka, had more than 1,000 chicken deaths several days ago, and the remaining birds and eggs were destroyed on Nov 14. Lab results confirmed H5N1 in sick poultry, and the farm is being disinfected. The country has confirmed 167 outbreaks of avian flu this year, according to the Bangladesh Department of Livestock.
Nov 16 Daily Star story
Meanwhile, Vietnamese health officials culled nearly 1,000 ducks in the Mekong Delta after some of them tested positive for the H5N1 virus, according to Saigon Giai Phong, official newspaper of Vietnam's communist party. After lab tests confirmed the presence of the virus, authorities from the Ca Mau province's Department of Animal Health culled almost 1,000 46-day-old unvaccinated chicks. The farm is in Thoi Binh district.
Nov 16 Giai Phong report

Hong Kong reports 15 cases of H3N2-pH1N1 viruses in pigs
Hong Kong officials announced today that 15 samples from pigs were recently found to contain an H3N2 swine influenza virus with genes from 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu (pH1N1). In a report on about 1,000 samples taken during surveillance from August to mid October, the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) said the virus is "unlikely to cause any major human health risk or problems in food safety." In August the agency said that 16 samples collected from May through July also tested positive for the virus. The report made no comparison of the hybrid virus to swine flu viruses detected in other countries, such as the H3N2-pH1N1 combination isolated from eight people in the United States since September.
Nov 16 Hong Kong CFS press release
Aug 26 CFS release

Anti-vaccine group objects to AAP's protest of Delta Airlines flu ad
In a press release yesterday, the anti-vaccine group National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) expressed outrage over The American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP's) recent letter to Delta Airlines that objected to an NVIC ad that downplays the flu vaccine. The ad is being run this month on Delta flights. In the press release, the NVIC says, "Without cause, the AAP has used their considerable financial resources and political influence to intimidate Delta for simply showing a video that offers accurate information about ways to stay healthy during the flu season, including talking with doctors about getting a flu shot." The NVIC ad mentions the flu vaccine near the end of its 2-minute, 50-second ad but never recommends it. Instead the ad directs viewers to the NVIC Web site, which contains extensive anti-vaccine material. According to a Nov 7 Forbes article that displays the text of the Nov 4 AAP letter to Delta, AAP President Robert W. Block, MD, wrote, "By providing advertising space to an organization like the NVIC, which opposes the nation's recommended childhood immunization schedule and promotes the unscientific practice of delaying or skipping vaccines altogether, you are putting the lives of children at risk, leaving them unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases."
Nov 15 NVIC press release
Nov 7 Forbes article

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