December 07, 2005

Reuters AlertNet - Latest bird flu cases in humans

Dec 7 (Reuters) - A 10-year-old girl in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi is the latest human victim of H5N1 avian influenza, the World Health Organisation confirmed.

The girl developed symptoms of fever and cough on Nov. 23, followed by pneumonia and is being treated in hospital, the WHO said.

Comment: initial reports have suggested that the girl is in an area where no birds are sick, raising questions about whether she caught the infection from a bird or another person.

Continued concerns that milder cases of humans with bird flu may be being missed, and that human to human spread could begin without being obvious, if the illness is insufficiently serious to raise suspicion.

Central and Eastern Europe: proceed with caution, 3i warns the food industry

Part of the press release from 3i following my speech in Prague 10 days ago to food and drink industry analysts, investors, bankers:

The Central European region contains 100 million consumers with rising incomes and an appetite for higher quality products. Combine this with the lower wages prevalent throughout the region and it makes for a highly attractive market for retailers and manufacturers alike.

Dr Patrick Dixon, one of Europe's leading futurologists, is optimistic about the potential for food and drink companies in Central Europe, but he cautions companies to be aware of the long-term economic, social and political drivers affecting the region. "It is a common mistake to group the Central and Eastern European countries together. Each is radically different and any company wanting to succeed needs to fully understand the dynamics of each market and get under its skin," he comments.

3i's global head of food and drink, Keith Ellis agrees, "There is no doubt the region represents a first-class opportunity for European food and beverage producers, but for successful strategies, the devil will be in the detail, in terms of location, product, distribution and timing."