Bird flu appears again in heavily populated region of India

International experts have established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for melamine, the chemical found recently in contaminated milk products. The TDI is the outcome of a meeting organized by WHO held this week in Ottawa, Canada. The TDI is lower than previous TDIs suggested for melamine by some national food safety authorities. “We expect this

Full Post: New guidelines for tolerable daily intake of melamine

Another outbreak of deadly bird flu in India has put health authorities on high alert following the deaths of thousands of chickens.

This latest confirmed outbreak of the H5N1 virus is the fourth to occur in the eastern West Bengal state in the past year.

West Bengal Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rahaman says several thousands of poultry have died in Darjeeling’s hilly Mathigarah villages of Siliguri and Pubang and samples taken from the dead poultry have tested positive for bird flu.

A further 20,000 infected birds are being culled by 30 culling teams sent to the affected areas but beyond the 5 km radius of the two epicentres there are no restrictions on the selling and consumption of birds and poultry products.

In 2008 the West Bengal state authorities were forced to slaughter five million poultry to control the virus during India’s worst bird flu outbreak when the virus spread to 14 of the 19 districts in the state.

West Bengal is heavily populated and has more than 80 million people but India has not had any reported human cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus to date.

In December officials in the northeast state of Assam culled 250,000 chickens in order to control the spread of the deadly infection, which had sparked fears of a human case after a number of people were reportedly sick.

Bird flu first appeared in India in 2006 and it has resurfaced from time to time causing millions of chicken and ducks to be culled to contain the virus.

Experts have been warning since 2003 that the H5N1 virus might mutate or combine with the highly contagious seasonal influenza virus and spark a pandemic that could kill millions of people across the world.

According to the World Health Organisation, H5N1 bird flu has infected more than 390 people in 15 countries and killed at least 247 of them since the virus resurfaced in Asia in 2003.


A dead chicken on a backyard farm in northern Thailand has signalled another outbreak of bird flu and comes six months after the country declared itself free of the disease. According to Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture, the H5N1 virus was found in the bird on a native-chicken farm in the northern province of Sukhothai and

Full Post: Another outbreak of bird flu in Thailand has authorities on high alert

Another outbreak of bird flu has hit Vietnam this time affecting the north of the country. This latest outbreak has resurfaced in poultry in northern Vietnam and killed ducks and chickens at two farms following a number of months without any new cases of the deadly H5N1 virus. According to reports the outbreak occurred

Full Post: Bird flu returns again to Vietnam

After a break of almost a year bird flu has appeared again in China. This latest outbreak has claimed the life of a young woman in eastern China and a young girl in the north of the country remains critically ill. Chinese Health officials say the 27-year-old woman, Zhang, from Jinan, the capital of Shandong

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If a case of avian flu is discovered in a U.S. poultry flock, it’s likely that poultry consumption would decline. The level of decline would also be likely to vary in different parts of the nation. Kansas State University surveyed 2,000 people by mail in Wichita, Kan., and Los Angeles - 1,000 in each city

Full Post: If avian flu hits poultry consumption could decline

A virus that causes cold-like symptoms in humans originated in birds and may have crossed the species barrier around 200 years ago, according to an article published in the December issue of the Journal of General Virology. Scientists hope their findings will help us understand how potentially deadly viruses emerge in humans. “Human metapneumovirus may

Full Post: Common cold virus originated in birds