Dec 30, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – New outbreaks of avian influenza in birds were reported this week in Romania and Turkey, but wild birds that died mysteriously in Malawi in southern Africa were found to be free of flu viruses.Tests in Britain detected H5N1 viruses in seven samples sent from four areas in southeastern Romania, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report published yesterday. The story did not specify what kinds of birds were involved.Authorities had ordered the precautionary culling of birds in the affected areas after initial tests pointed to an H5 virus, AFP reported.With the latest findings, the deadly virus has been detected in 22 Romanian localities since early October, the story said. More than 100,000 poultry and other birds have been slaughtered to contain the disease since then.In Turkey, poultry in the eastern province of Igdir, near the Armenian border, tested positive for an H5 virus, but it was not yet known whether it was the deadly H5N1 strain, according to a Dec 27 AFP report.About 1,200 birds died in the area in mid-December, and another 350 were culled as a precaution, the story said. An agricultural official said samples from the latest outbreak had been sent to Britain for testing.If confirmed, the latest finding would represent Turkey’s second outbreak of H5N1, according to the story. The first one was discovered Oct 5 on a turkey farm in Balikesir province in western Turkey.In Malawi, the government said tests in South Africa found no avian flu virus in samples from migratory birds that died mysteriously about 2 weeks ago, according to a report published by the Chinese news service Xinhua and carried by ProMED-mail.Thousands of birds called fork-tailed drongos had died on a hill in the central district of Ntchisi, the story said. The tested samples showed “no presence of avian influenza,” said Ben Chimera, chair of the country’s Avian Influenza Technical Committee.Chimera said the cause of the birds’ death remained unknown, but he added that they might have died because of heavy rains in the area.In other developments, another suspected human case of avian flu was reported in Indonesia today, according to an AFP story carried by the Jakarta Post.A local health official was quoted as saying a 48-year-old man died 10 hours after he was admitted to a hospital in the central Java town of Magelang with a high fever and respiratory problems.Blood samples were sent to Jakarta for testing, and samples would also be sent to Hong Kong for tests, the story said.
The North Sumatra administration has canceled its plan to suspend all air and sea travel to and from Nias Island to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the popular tourist destination.North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said although access to air and sea transportation would remain open, entrance points would be closely guarded by integrated posts.In addition, the province will oblige people leaving for Nias to carry a COVID-19-free certificate and undergo self-isolation for two weeks after arriving on the island.“These posts will monitor people arriving by land, air or sea. Those who come to Nias have to show a negative COVID-19 swab test certificate to the postal officers, who will direct them for isolation,” Edy told reporters on Tuesday.Health workers and security officers would be exempt from this provision, he added.Edy said the provincial administration would distribute logistical assistance to visitors under self-isolation.Read also: North Sumatra to restrict access to Nias Island following surge in COVID-19 casesEdy announced the 14-day lockdown plan after a meeting with Coordinating Maritime and Investment Minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan on Monday. The coordinating minister, however, did not give permission immediately.Gunungsitoli Legislative Council (DPRD) chairman Yanto disagreed with the governor’s plan, arguing it was not the main solution in breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission.“COVID-19 already exists on Nias Island, and it is spreading rather fast. What the provincial administration needs to do now is to multiply swab tests instead of isolating [the region],” Yanto said on Wednesday.Yanto claimed that hundreds of people were now waiting to get tested amid limited testing equipment. In such circumstances, he added, hospitals on Nias Island were forced to send swab samples to Medan city.The Nias COVID-19 task force said the island had zero confirmed cases last month, before being infected recently, with more than 90 people testing positive for the coronavirus so far. (syk)Topics :
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