Published Date: 2009-01-03 14:00:43
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza (01): India (AS), Viet Nam
Archive Number: 20090103.0023
AVIAN INFLUENZA (01): INDIA (ASSAM), VIET NAM
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
In this update:
 Viet Nam: 2008
 India: Assam, West Bengal update
 Future of H5N1
 Viet Nam: 2008
Date: Wed 31 Dec 2008
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Viet Nam [edited]
Summary of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) situation in Viet
Nam (31 Dec 2008)
In 2008, sporadic outbreaks of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza
(HPAI) were reported in 27 provinces in Viet Nam. The latest outbreak
was detected in Thai Nguyen province on [25 Dec 2008] and reported by
the Department of Animal Health on [29 Dec 2008].
The sporadic outbreaks have continued from October 2007. The 5th wave
of HPAI was reported from [May 2007] - September 2007, mainly
affecting 22 provinces in the North. The 4th wave of HPAI was
reported in Viet Nam from December 2006 - January 2007, mainly
affecting 12 provinces in the South.
In 2008, 5 human cases were reported, all fatal. In 2007, 8 human
cases were reported, 5 fatal and 3 recovered.
ProMED-MBDS Rapporteur Vern Weitzel via ProMED-MBDS
[This is the summary of the H5N1 avian influenza situation in Viet
Nam reported to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The
previous H5N1 outbreak occurred in Thai Nguyen city from Thai Ngyuen
province, where nearly 4200 chickens were culled (see prior PRO/MBDS
posting Avian influenza - MBDS region (70): Viet Nam (Thai Nguyen)
For maps of Viet Nam with provinces, see
The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Viet Nam can be accessed at
This map shows other outbreaks in Viet Nam and surrounding countries
that have been reported on ProMED-mail and PRO/MBDS. The postings can
be directly accessed through this map. - Mod.YMA]
 India: Assam, West Bengal update
Date: Fri 2 Jan 2009
Source: Government of India Press release DS/GK/Flu/429 [edited]
Status report on avian influenza in Assam and West Bengal as of 1 Jan 2009
The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, GOI (Government of
India) has notified an avian influenza outbreak in Englishbazar
block, Malda District of West Bengal on 15 Dec 2008. Ten days
post-culling, active house-to-house surveillance has been completed
and passive surveillance is on.
The 1st notification of avian influenza in Assam was in Hajo block of
Kamrup district on 27 Nov 2008. Since then, 17 other epicenters have
been notified. The last notification was on 24 Dec 2008. For the past
week no new centres have been notified.
Brief of containment operations
o Culling activities have been completed in all earlier notified
blocks. Mopping up and sanitization are underway. So far a total of
432 948 birds have been culled. [See commentary below on this figure.
o A total of 326 animal health workers, who were deployed for the
culling activity are on chemoprophylaxis.
o Central government RRT [rapid response training] is covering the
epicenters notified on 24 Dec 2008. They are working with the state
o Active house-to-house surveillance for 10 days post culling/mopping
up is over in Rajabazar [Hajo block], Sarpara [Rampur], Central Chick
farm [Khanapara] in Kamrup district, Katajhar [Gobardhana block] of
Barpeta District, Khelwari Para pt II [Boitamari Block] of Bongaigaon
district, and Kathla [Paschim Nalbari] of Nalbari District. In these
areas passive surveillance is continuing.
o In the remaining affected areas active house to house surveillance
is being followed in the 0-3 km [0-2 mi] zone. In the 3-10 km [2-6
mi] area surveillance is conducted in phases. As per the reports
received, a population of 258 685 was covered in the 0-3 Km area and
135 018 in the 3-10 km area.
o 53 cases of upper respiratory infection [URI] with fever were
detected [25 in the 0-3 km and 28 in the 3-10 km zones]. None of them
had history of handling dead or sick birds.
o 38 cases of URI with fever in the outpatient department were
detected in the identified health facilities.
o 808 health workers are deployed for surveillance.
40 000 capsules of Tamiflu, 12 000 surgical masks, 1200 personal
protective equipments [PPE], 400 N-95 masks, 50 bottles of Tamiflu
syrup, and 8 ventilators have been supplied by MoHFW [Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare]. Sufficient anti-viral drugs and PPE are
in stock with the State Government.
o Messages to create public awareness are being telecast/broadcast in
local channels and AIR.
o Local campaign such as miking [sic] and interpersonal communication is
followed in all epicenters.
The situation is being monitored on a daily basis.
[The summarised animal-health related information on the northeastern
Indian epizootic, which reportedly started on 21 Nov 2008, with a map
including all accumulated foci, is available at
According to the data, 18 outbreaks have been recorded there so far.
Follow-up report no 4, submitted on 2 Jan 2009, is accessible (with
map) at the URL above. It addresses the 5 recent outbreaks, which
started in Assam between 17-19 Dec 2008. Out of the total of 27 438
susceptible birds on these 5 affected holdings, 299 cases were
observed (dead birds); the remaining 27 049 birds were reportedly
When the numbers of destroyed animals, as included in the immediate
notification and the 4 follow-up reports to the OIE are added up, the
calculated total, as of 2 Jan 2008, is 480 595 destroyed birds.
The following epidemiological commentary was included:
"Epidemiological investigation is ongoing. Stamping out of all
domestic poultry is being applied in an approximately 5-km (3-mi)
radius zone around the outbreaks followed by compensation of the
owners. An intensive surveillance campaign has been launched in a
10-km (6-mi) radius zone including:
o closure of poultry markets and prohibition on sale and
transportation of poultry products in the infected zone;
o disinfection of premises after culling and sealing of premises
Restocking will be applied in accordance with a specific protocol." -Mod.AS]
 Future of H5N1
Date: Thu 1 Jan 2009
Source: CTV.ca, The Canadian Press report [edited]
Researchers ponder future of bird flu
5 years after the avian influenza strain H5N1 started killing
poultry and people in Southeast Asia, researchers still don't know
what to make of the dangerous and unpredictable virus.
After cutting an ever-widening swath through poultry flocks and
infecting -- and killing -- mounting numbers of people in Asia, the
Middle East, and Africa, the virus seemed to almost take a breather
in 2008. The year that just ended saw fewer recorded human cases than
any since 2003, when this cycle of H5N1 activity began.
Science knows too little about how flu viruses emerge, spread, and
jump -- or don't jump -- from one species to the next to answer that
question. Given the knowledge gap, influenza scientists are still
pushing for pandemic preparedness.
"Whether or not H5N1 virus is going to cause a human pandemic --
nobody can predict that," says Dr Tim Uyeki, deputy chief of influenza
surveillance and prevention for the US Centers for Disease Control [&
Prevention]. "I believe it's still a threat. But it's not the only
threat," he adds, noting a 2-month-old Chinese girl was hospitalized
in Hong Kong in late December  with an H9N2 avian flu infection.
Whatever the uncertainty about H5N1, one thing is clear. A fog of
exhaustion has settled over the influenza science community as well
as the public health officials who have been slaving over pandemic
plans. A healthy portion of the broader public is probably sick to
death of the subject too.
"I think flu fatigue is certainly a phrase, which is thrown around a
fair amount in the past several months or past year or so," admits Dr
Keiji Fukuda, head of the World Health Organization's global
[The decreased acuteness and alarming position of HPAI H5N1,
described above, has been reflected also in the number of ProMED-mail
postings addressing avian influenza during 2008. Since 2005, these
2005 - total number 566, of which 222 addressed human cases;
2006 - total number 610, of which 266 addressed human cases;
2007 - total number 442, of which 193 addressed human cases;
2008 - total number 240, of which 86 addressed human cases.
Maintaining the responsible, scientifically measured golden path
between wolf crying and complacency has remained one of ProMED-mail's
main objectives. - Mod.AS]