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Official documents show bird flu in Libyan farms

Promed Report

Date: 12 Dec 2005
From: ProMED-mail <>
Source: Khaleej Times Online [edited]

Official documents show bird flu in Libyan farms
Although Libyan authorities repeatedly denied the presence of the bird flu
virus on Libyan soil, Libyan media sources on Friday [9 Dec 2005] disclosed
that they have a copy of documents which prove that the Libyan security
ministry and senior officials of the Inspection and Control Department were
aware and admitted to the Libyan prime minister, Dr Shukri Ghanim, that the
bird flu virus is widespread in a number of Libyan poultry farms in the
Benghazi region (north east Libya).

"Information reaching us has shown that the Benghazi division of the
anti-poultry diseases committee has conducted routine checks on the poultry
farms in the area, took and thoroughly scrutinized blood samples taken from
those farms. They later sent them on 9 Oct 2005 to a special laboratory in
the United Kingdom for another lab test. The result, which came by fax,
confirmed that all the samples are positive. This shows the prevalence of
the bird flu virus in the eastern part of the country," the Libyan security
minister, Nasr Al Mabrouk, said in a letter to the prime minister. A copy
of the result was attached to the letter. Al Mabrouk complained bitterly
against the agriculture ministry, which he accused of doing nothing to
stave off the disease from entering the country, while chicken and live
birds continue to be sold on the market with no concern.

According to Libya Today electronic newspaper, which got the document
without disclosing the source, there is total chaos and panic over the way
the Libyan authorities handled this dangerous dossier.


[There is an apocryphal saying about ProMED-mail: "It is better to report
an outbreak, because otherwise, you will read about it on ProMED." But we
need clarification as to which avian flu virus this is. H9N2 is enzootic in
the region. From the wording, the anti-poultry diseases committee had sent
surveillance poultry blood or sera to Weybridge for analysis. They may have
noted antibodies to H9N2 but not to H5N1. Would anyone with hard
information please clarify the situation? - Mod.MHJ]

Date: 16 Dec 2005
From: ProMED-mail <>
Source: Sapa-AP via Independent On Line [edited]

Malawi dispatched blood and tissue samples to neighboring South Africa on
Friday to be tested for avian influenza after thousands of migratory birds
were found dead on a hill in the central Ntchisi district.

Agriculture officials expressed alarm after local villagers started
scooping up the dead fork-tailed drongos -- known locally as namzenze -- to
eat earlier this week in the district about 200km east of the capital,

"Someone alerted police that people are feasting on mysterious manna from
heaven," said Wilfred Lipita, director of livestock and animal health in
the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. "We sent officials to
caution the people not to eat them, since they may have the avian flu which
has proved deadly to humans in other countries."

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has ravaged poultry stocks across Asia since
2003, killing or forcing the slaughter of more than 160 billion birds. It
has also killed at least 71 people. Health officials fear the virus could
spark a pandemic if it mutates into a form easily passed from human to human.


[Clearly, everyone is on the alert for avian influenza. We look forward to
hearing the official test results.

Although it is not unheard of for one particular avian species to be more
susceptible to the virus, it seems unlikely that only one type of bird in a
region would be affected. The description of "manna from heaven" makes me
wonder if the birds were literally falling out of the sky. If that were the
case I might be inclined to think about a metabolic toxin of some kind.

For those not familiar with the drongos, they are a common bird with black
feathers and distinctive red eyes. Although usually they are diurnal,
lights around buildings will prompt them to eating the moths attracted to
the light, well into the dark hours. A good picture can be found at :
<> - Mod.TG]

ProMED-mail <>
Last Update: Saturday, December 17, 2005. 12:15pm (AEDT)

Malawi bird deaths fuel avian flu fears

The deaths of thousands of birds in the southern African country of Malawi have raised fears of a bird flu outbreak.

Malawi is the third country in Africa to report a bird flu scare.

Both Kenya and Ethiopia also tested for the deadly H5N1 strain of flu after a high number of bird deaths, but no trace of flu has yet been found on the continent.

In Malawi, thousands of birds have died about 200 kilometres east of the capital Lilongwe.

Authorities believe they may have come from the Middle East after one was found to be wearing a band inscribed with the word Israel.

Malawi is currently in the grip of a food crisis and officials have had to caution villagers who were collecting the dead birds to eat.

Blood and tissue samples have been sent to South Africa for testing

For a map of Malawi check out:

Also Malawi Culture Guide:

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Go with God and in Good Health

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