Avian flu has broken out again in commercial poultry in Russia this week. More than 100,000 chickens on a farm in the southern region of Krasnodar, on the northeastern side of the Black Sea, have been killed to contain the outbreak, according to the AP. See also: The World Health Organization (WHO) said today its collaborating laboratory in Britain has confirmed the second fatal human H5N1 case in Iraq. The case, in a 39-year-old man, was announced previously by Iraq’s health ministry and the WHO. An official at Sulianti Saroso Hospital said the two patients were transferred there early today, according to the story. He said seven other patients at the hospital were being treated for suspected avian flu as well. Mar 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) US health officials announced today they have ordered more than 14 million treatment courses of two antiviral drugs to add to the 5.5 million courses already bought in preparation for a possible influenza pandemic. Mar 1 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_03_01a/en/index.html The HHS announcement came as concern about the spread of H5N1 avian influenza continued to increase in Europe and elsewhere. The British lab is also testing samples from some suspected human cases from the northern Iraqi province of Sulaimaniyah and the southern provinces of Basra and Missan, the WHO said. In Germany, disease-control officials said the cat recently found infected with avian flu almost certainly had the deadly strain of H5N1, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today. If so, the cat will be the first known instance of a mammal infected with the virus in Europe. Captive tigers and leopards and a few domestic cats were infected in Asia in 2004. The HHS pandemic plan calls for buying enough doses of antivirals to treat 25% of the US population, according to the release. The department didn’t say how soon it expects to receive the doses just ordered. In Indonesia, two more people, a 20-year-old and a 12-month-old, were hospitalized in Jakarta with suspected cases of avian flu, according to another AFP report today. Thomas Mettenleiter, head of Germany’s Friedrich Loeffler Institute, said the cat is believed to have eaten an infected bird, according to an Associated Press (AP) report published last night. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ordered 12.4 million courses of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) from Roche and 1.75 million courses of zanamivir (Relenza) from GlaxoSmithKline, according to an HHS news release.
Meanwhile, Gov. Florencio Mirafloresof Aklan, Vice Gov. Reynaldo Quimpo and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawiganwill lead the switching-on ceremony of this year’s Christmas tree and lights around6 p.m. with fireworks display. The Aklan provincial government and the Aklan Culture and Arts Foundation, Inc. will hold the “Paskwahan sa Kapitolyo” today to celebrate the holiday season. AKEAN FORUM Activities included in the celebrationare the ceremonial Christmas tree lighting, chorale competition, performancesand live music, fireworks display, food booths, and the display of tree lightsdecorated around Goding Ramos Park. BORACAY – The Aklan provincialgovernment and the Aklan Culture and Arts Foundation, Inc. will hold the“Paskwahan sa Kapitolyo” today. Paskua sa Malinao, Pamulad Isda ofKalibo Pilot Elementary School, Rigatones of Aklan State University-College ofIndustrial Technology, and Jotabal of Aklan Catholic College will also givetheir performances while local government agencies have prepared thetraditional Christmas carols. Former Ibajay mayor Ma. LourdesMiraflores and former Cong. Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo will lead the blessing andribbon-cutting rites of the “Kaon Ta-Food Court” around 4 p.m. with food boothsserving local dishes. The 24K band will cap the day withholiday favorites at the Goding Ramos Park.(Witha report from Akean Forum/PN)