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Bird flu could threaten Africa’s fight against AIDS

Bird flu in Turkey

By Andrew Quinn, Dar Es Salaam
BIRD flu poses a major threat to Africa’s fight against its AIDS epidemic, challenging overburdened healthcare systems and stretching economies already hit by the impact of HIV, the UN’s AIDS chief said yesterday.

UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot said a human outbreak of bird flu in Africa where the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was detected in poultry in Nigeria this month could be a massive blow to the campaign to rein in AIDS.

"We are on very thin ice here," Mr Piot said in Dar es Salaam where he was on an inspection mission.

"AIDS has made a mess of Africa's health care systems, and none of the factors that created the AIDS disaster have gone away. But with bird flu, we could be looking at things getting worse in a matter of months, not decades."

Cases of H5N1 have been confirmed on four farms in the northern Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna and in the central state of Plateau. There have been suspected outbreaks in at least five other states in the centre or north of the country.

Summer migrating birds, such as the swallow and cuckoo, come to Ireland through West Africa.

No human bird flu case has been found in Africa so far. But detecting such a case will be difficult because mortality rates are high from other diseases and health services are almost non-existent in rural areas, where people are often buried without a medical check.

"We have not seen a human outbreak yet. But if we do, the resources are going to have to come from somewhere," said Mr Piot.

He said precautionary measures such as poultry culls could spell disaster in their own right.

"For many people in Africa, chicken is either the major source of protein or the major source of income. If we try to eliminate chickens, it would be an economic catastrophe, and that has clear implications for AIDS," he said.

 

Bird flu could threaten Africa’s fight against AIDS

Bird flu in Turkey

By Andrew Quinn, Dar Es Salaam
BIRD flu poses a major threat to Africa’s fight against its AIDS epidemic, challenging overburdened healthcare systems and stretching economies already hit by the impact of HIV, the UN’s AIDS chief said yesterday.

UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot said a human outbreak of bird flu in Africa where the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was detected in poultry in Nigeria this month could be a massive blow to the campaign to rein in AIDS.

"We are on very thin ice here," Mr Piot said in Dar es Salaam where he was on an inspection mission.

"AIDS has made a mess of Africa's health care systems, and none of the factors that created the AIDS disaster have gone away. But with bird flu, we could be looking at things getting worse in a matter of months, not decades."

Cases of H5N1 have been confirmed on four farms in the northern Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna and in the central state of Plateau. There have been suspected outbreaks in at least five other states in the centre or north of the country.

Summer migrating birds, such as the swallow and cuckoo, come to Ireland through West Africa.

No human bird flu case has been found in Africa so far. But detecting such a case will be difficult because mortality rates are high from other diseases and health services are almost non-existent in rural areas, where people are often buried without a medical check.

"We have not seen a human outbreak yet. But if we do, the resources are going to have to come from somewhere," said Mr Piot.

He said precautionary measures such as poultry culls could spell disaster in their own right.

"For many people in Africa, chicken is either the major source of protein or the major source of income. If we try to eliminate chickens, it would be an economic catastrophe, and that has clear implications for AIDS," he said.

 

Bird flu could threaten Africa’s fight against AIDS

Bird flu in Turkey

By Andrew Quinn, Dar Es Salaam
BIRD flu poses a major threat to Africa’s fight against its AIDS epidemic, challenging overburdened healthcare systems and stretching economies already hit by the impact of HIV, the UN’s AIDS chief said yesterday.

UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot said a human outbreak of bird flu in Africa where the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was detected in poultry in Nigeria this month could be a massive blow to the campaign to rein in AIDS.

"We are on very thin ice here," Mr Piot said in Dar es Salaam where he was on an inspection mission.

"AIDS has made a mess of Africa's health care systems, and none of the factors that created the AIDS disaster have gone away. But with bird flu, we could be looking at things getting worse in a matter of months, not decades."

Cases of H5N1 have been confirmed on four farms in the northern Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna and in the central state of Plateau. There have been suspected outbreaks in at least five other states in the centre or north of the country.

Summer migrating birds, such as the swallow and cuckoo, come to Ireland through West Africa.

No human bird flu case has been found in Africa so far. But detecting such a case will be difficult because mortality rates are high from other diseases and health services are almost non-existent in rural areas, where people are often buried without a medical check.

"We have not seen a human outbreak yet. But if we do, the resources are going to have to come from somewhere," said Mr Piot.

He said precautionary measures such as poultry culls could spell disaster in their own right.

"For many people in Africa, chicken is either the major source of protein or the major source of income. If we try to eliminate chickens, it would be an economic catastrophe, and that has clear implications for AIDS," he said.

 

Bird flu could threaten Africa’s fight against AIDS

Bird flu in Turkey

By Andrew Quinn, Dar Es Salaam
BIRD flu poses a major threat to Africa’s fight against its AIDS epidemic, challenging overburdened healthcare systems and stretching economies already hit by the impact of HIV, the UN’s AIDS chief said yesterday.

UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot said a human outbreak of bird flu in Africa where the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was detected in poultry in Nigeria this month could be a massive blow to the campaign to rein in AIDS.

"We are on very thin ice here," Mr Piot said in Dar es Salaam where he was on an inspection mission.

"AIDS has made a mess of Africa's health care systems, and none of the factors that created the AIDS disaster have gone away. But with bird flu, we could be looking at things getting worse in a matter of months, not decades."

Cases of H5N1 have been confirmed on four farms in the northern Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna and in the central state of Plateau. There have been suspected outbreaks in at least five other states in the centre or north of the country.

Summer migrating birds, such as the swallow and cuckoo, come to Ireland through West Africa.

No human bird flu case has been found in Africa so far. But detecting such a case will be difficult because mortality rates are high from other diseases and health services are almost non-existent in rural areas, where people are often buried without a medical check.

"We have not seen a human outbreak yet. But if we do, the resources are going to have to come from somewhere," said Mr Piot.

He said precautionary measures such as poultry culls could spell disaster in their own right.

"For many people in Africa, chicken is either the major source of protein or the major source of income. If we try to eliminate chickens, it would be an economic catastrophe, and that has clear implications for AIDS," he said.

 

Bird flu could threaten Africa’s fight against AIDS

Bird flu in Turkey

By Andrew Quinn, Dar Es Salaam
BIRD flu poses a major threat to Africa’s fight against its AIDS epidemic, challenging overburdened healthcare systems and stretching economies already hit by the impact of HIV, the UN’s AIDS chief said yesterday.

UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot said a human outbreak of bird flu in Africa where the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus was detected in poultry in Nigeria this month could be a massive blow to the campaign to rein in AIDS.

"We are on very thin ice here," Mr Piot said in Dar es Salaam where he was on an inspection mission.

"AIDS has made a mess of Africa's health care systems, and none of the factors that created the AIDS disaster have gone away. But with bird flu, we could be looking at things getting worse in a matter of months, not decades."

Cases of H5N1 have been confirmed on four farms in the northern Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna and in the central state of Plateau. There have been suspected outbreaks in at least five other states in the centre or north of the country.

Summer migrating birds, such as the swallow and cuckoo, come to Ireland through West Africa.

No human bird flu case has been found in Africa so far. But detecting such a case will be difficult because mortality rates are high from other diseases and health services are almost non-existent in rural areas, where people are often buried without a medical check.

"We have not seen a human outbreak yet. But if we do, the resources are going to have to come from somewhere," said Mr Piot.

He said precautionary measures such as poultry culls could spell disaster in their own right.

"For many people in Africa, chicken is either the major source of protein or the major source of income. If we try to eliminate chickens, it would be an economic catastrophe, and that has clear implications for AIDS," he said.