Second bird flu death in Hong Kong this winter

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has confirmed the death of a 62 year old man from avian flu.

The man had been traveling from mainland China. He was the second person to die of avian influenza in Hong Kong this winter. The first patient died on Christmas Day.

The man, who visited the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in mid-December and was hospitalised in the neighboring city of Dongguan earlier in the week, died from H7N9.

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Another MERS death in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced five new MERS-CoV cases, one of them fatal.

Over the past two days there have been five new reported cases of MERS infections. One of these people, an 88 year old Saudi woman from Buraydah, has subsequently died.

The other cases of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) included two males in their 50s in the capital city Riyadh and two elderly females from Buraydah in the north central part of the country.

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UK Avian Flu Prevention Zone extended until 28 February

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer has extended a Prevention Zone to help protect poultry from avian flu.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since 6 December will be extended until 28 February 2017 to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu. The Protection Zone was originally to run until 6 January.

The Prevention Zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

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New avian flu outbreak in south Wales

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has confirmed Avian Influenza H5N8 in a back yard flock of chickens and ducks on a premises near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire.

Prior to confirmation it was decided to cull the birds on strong suspicion of disease.

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading and as part of the wider surveillance and disease control measures.

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Avian flu found on RSPB nature reserves

RSPB Frampton Marsh nature reserve, Lincolnshire The highly pathonegic avian influenza H5N8 has been found in wildfowl on two RSPB reserves in England.

The virus has been detected in dead birds found at Frampton Marsh nature reserve in Lincolnshire and Marshside reserve in Southport, Merseyside.

Following advice from Public Health England the RSPB is not initially closing the reserves. Signage at the affected sites provides guidance to visitors, emphasising the importance of hygiene. Visitors should take care to avoid physical contact with dead or sick birds, which should be reported to site staff or directly to the Defra hotline (03459 33 55 77).

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Bill Gates concerned about flu epidemic over next decade

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme former Microsoft chief Bill Gates highlighted his concerns about a possible flu pandemic.

Speaking to guest editor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, the billionaire philanthropist said that we are “a bit vulnerable right now” to a fatal flu pandemic.

Bill Gates explained his view :

“There’s a lot of discussion right now about how do we respond in an emergency. How do we make sure that the regulatory and liability and organisational boundaries don’t slow us down there.

I cross my fingers all the time that some epidemic like a big flu doesn’t come along in the next 10 years.

I do think we’ll have much better medical tools, much better response. But we are a bit vulnerable right now if something that spread very quickly like a flu that was quite fatal.

That would be a tragedy and new approaches should allow us to reduce that risk a lot.”

Sally Davies responded :

“Yes I agree. Interestingly we have just been practising a nasty flu in this country and for all we practice a lot we realise we need to do more.”

Dr Davies went on to say that although in the UK the NHS was “pretty well prepared” it would take at least six months from the start of a flu pandemic to get an effective vaccine.


  • BBC Radio 4 Today – Bill Gates : We are vulnerable to flu epidemic in next decade [30 Dec 2016]



Bird flu in Nigeria – 9000 birds culled in Kano

Kano State government in northern Nigeria has so far culled 9,000 birds since avian flu reappeared in the state in mid December.

This was confirmed by Dr Shehu Bawa, the Director of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The birds were killed at two poultry farms that had been infected with the disease in the state.

Dr Bawa announced that the ministry was increasing surveillance and disinfection of other farms to check the spread of the disease.

He also urged the Nigeria Government to pay compensation to farmers who lost their birds as this would help prevent the spread of the disease. Farmers are more likely to report outbreaks if know they will receive compensation for any birds that are killed.


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