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In brief

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 15 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:128

Avian flu breaks out in Far East: Fresh outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred in Vietnam, Thailand, and China, and thousands of birds have had to be culled. The cause of the Chinese outbreak, in Anhui province, has been confirmed as the H5N1 virus. So far only poultry has been affected and migratory birds are suspected of having brought the disease to Anhui.

Respect for drug industry falls: Pharmaceutical companies were ranked in the bottom half of industries considered to be doing “a good job of serving their consumers,” a recent US Harris poll shows. They came 11th out of 15; only health insurance companies, oil companies, managed care companies, and tobacco companies had a worse ranking. The annual poll, of 978 adults, shows that the proportion of respondents saying they have a positive attitude towards the pharmaceutical industry fell from 79% in 1997 to 44% in 2004—a bigger drop than for any other industry. See

Mothers in England not given breastfeeding support: New mothers in England are the least likely in the United Kingdom to be given support with breastfeeding, a report from Unicef UK says. Only 11% of maternity units in England had achieved Unicef's Baby Friendly accreditation—a worldwide initiative to support breastfeeding—compared with 48% in Scotland, 36% in Wales, and 29% in Northern Ireland. See

McDonald's head launches national diabetes week: Bill Glasson, the president of the Australian Medical Association, has described inviting the head of McDonald's to launch national diabetes week as like “inviting Dracula to the opening of a blood bank.” The not-for-profit organisation Diabetes Australia said that Guy Russo, the head of McDonald's in Australia, had been invited to join its board and launch the event as he had worked to introduce healthier food.

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