t could be a Hollywood Worst Case Thriller, but it is real: According to the scientific network PROMED, Baxter International Inc. in Austria "unintentionally contaminated samples with the bird flu virus that were used in laboratories in 3 neighboring countries, raising concern about the potential spread of the deadly disease".
As PROMED reports, the contamination has been discovered when ferrets at a laboratory in the Czech Republic died after being inoculated with vaccine made from the samples early this month.
"The material came from Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter, which reported the incident to the Austrian Ministry of Health, Sigrid Rosenberger, a ministry spokeswoman, said today in a telephone interview", the network-alert-system is quoting.
"This was infected with a bird flu virus," Rosenberger said. "There were some people from the company who handled it."
There are severe signs that the long expected pandemic avian influenza could be on its way to conquer the world - even without Baxter's error driven help. by Vlad Dan Georgescu and Marita Vollborn
First deaths in Asia concern little children, which from virological point of view is a rather new aspect, and could be the evidence for a new spread.
While scientists expect this pandemic to happen in the near future, the new President should also stay alert: A coming influenza pandemic would deteriorate the global economy even without financial crisis, recession - or Baxter.
Evidence for the global threat comes from China, where a 2 year old girl has been confirmed to be infected with bird flu in the northern Shanxi Province, as government officials said last Saturday.
The child was found ill on 7th of January in the central Hunan province - the little patient still is in critical condition.
According to the test result of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the girl had been tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.
On the other site of the globe, the Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt announced a new human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection last week, the case being a 21 month old girl Kerdasa District.
“Infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus was diagnosed by PCR at the Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratory and subsequently confirmed by the U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3) laboratories”, reports the special wire PROMED.
According to PROMED, investigations into the source of her infection indicate a recent history of contact with sick and dead poultry - 23 similar cases in Egypt have been fatal up to date.
Latest surveillance data coming through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) from virologists and clinicians indicates that the influenza A(H3N2) virus is the predominant strain in Europe so far this season (2008/2009). Based on the data published by ECDC the pharmaceutical company Roche confirms that the oral antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is fully active against influenza A(H3N2) and influenza B, which currently comprise 94 percent of circulating viruses in Europe this year. Tamiflu resistance reported in the 2008-2009 influenza seasons is confined to H1N1. No resistance has been seen with other circulating seasonal viruses - H3N2 and influenza B.
[link to www.lifegen.de