Bird Flu :: Bangladesh seeks international help to upgrade bird flu testing

Bangladesh has called for international help to upgrade its bird flu testing. There is a large outbreak of avian bird flu in poultry in Bangladesh.

Samples are sent to the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute but the laboratory cannot do the full range of testing needed to confirm the presence of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

Samples have to be sent to Bangkok for confirmation, a costly and time-consuming step.

About 55,000 chickens have been culled since the outbreak of avian flu was confirmed in nine farms near the capital Dhaka and northern Jamalpur district last week. No humans have been confirmed infected.

Since 2004, some 270 humans have been infected with bird flu in 10 countries, with about 167 fatalities, mostly in Asia, according to the World Health Organization.

With the flu spreading around the world, the virus has turned up in birds in Asia, Europe and Africa. So far, bird flu has mostly been passed from birds either to other birds or, in isolated cases, to humans. In June 2006, WHO reported the first case of human transference of the disease, when an Indonesian man died after catching the flu from his 10-year-old son. If the flu mutates into a strain that can pass more readily from human to human, people will have no immunity and the flu will probably pass rapidly from person to person, creating a pandemic. Flu vaccines can only be made to protect against a particular virus, and, since the virus had yet to be passed from human to human, no vaccine has been developed.

Leave a Comment