Tuesday, March 08, 2005

March 8 Flu Update

Hong kong plans to spend $254 on antiviral stockpiling.

You can't spend $254 million in cabbage, can you? Korean paper reports that kimchi effective in treating bird flu.

Vietnamese officials are studying whether the "health care" case is a human transmission.

Health official says that flu could cover the globe in 30 days.

Canada says that flu pandemic is imminent, also notes bioterror fear.

New York Times on the 4 new cases.

Thailand agrees to test bird flu vaccine on humans.

Recombinomics notes that 1918 flu and 2005 similar in that early cases misdiagnosed.

Recombinomics writes that atypical cases in clusters point to greater human-human transmission than previously suspected. Still, shouldn't it have spread much faster and more more lethally than before?

New from CDC...fact sheet on history of pandemics, notes "medium" pandemic death tolls. Makes good point on shortages of healthcare workers due to flu and carrying for their own family. I often wonder if this will stretch the binds of our compact.

CDC flu facts...

ProMed has commentary on bird flu vaccines, including from a Texas vet with similar experience..he sounds a cautionary tale on the misuse of vaccine testing.


At 1:39 PM, Blogger contented1 said...

Thanks for doing this blog. I have a feeling your readership is about to expand...

I am curious if you noticed the WHO's quote in the New York Times about having "no knowledge" of the Vietnamese nurse with H5N1 infection. Doesn't this strike you as strange? This comment came a full day after the story broke. Also, the mainstream media seems to be willfully ignoring the story--the NYTimes has yet to mention the nurse's case, and CNN hasn't touched either the story of the nurse, or the story of the 4 false negative cases.

What gives? Any ideas would be helpful. I sort of feel like I am the only one I know who has any concern about this at all...

At 6:48 PM, Blogger jerseycityjoan said...

Just wanted to let you know you have a new reader via Josh Trevino's link at his new blog publichealthblog.org.

I'm just an interested layman, not a colleague. I was surprised and heartened to see the New Yorker magazine articles listed among your few links. I learned about the dangers of flu through those articles and a few others they've published, so I felt like I was in the right place, even though lots of what you'll say here will fly straight over my head.

I'm very, very glad to know that you're here.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger GoodDeed said...

Why so little coverage? First, see www.effectmeasure.blogspot.com for musing on this topic today, 3-9-05. Second, assume humans repeat behavior due to "appropriate" response in specific circumstances. What this means is that in 1918, per the book with that date in its title, which is presented as a comprehensive review of historical facts of that pandemic, the public health officials for the vast and majority part, chose to misrepesent and to remain silent. There are legitimate reasons for this behavior that are both personally protective of career and which serve a filtered projection of how the issue should be explained to the public. Repeatedly, there is a desire not to cause PANIC. Panic will lead to mass hysteria and delusion. For "the" seminal work on mass hysteria, you can find Markey's, "Mass Hysteria and Delusion of the Crowds", a book from the mid 1800's, reprinted in the 1920's-30's courtesy of Bernard Baruch. Panic behavior is strangely very, very predictable, irrational, and with no regard to society's best interests.

The fact that humans in 1918 were no less intelligent than those of us living today means that there are sociological forces operating on people holding lead positions in public health. As MD's, their first commandment is "do no harm". So, they will not be proactive unless they know for certain that their proactive behavior is scientifically defensible. Personal investment in outcome will influence interpretation of, and selection of response options.

It is for you (us) to read the facts as they appear and apply our understanding of historical fact, as well as apply our own conclusions regarding probability of outcome.

Here, the question is whether a vaccine can be fabricated and distributed which is both accurately targeted (see Niman's website, www.recombinomics.com), timely in its production, and able to be distributed broadly and rapidly in the midst of either pre- or pandemic circumstances.

No other solution for the masses appears feasible but for the minority few who have access to anti-virals in quality and quantity sufficient to address this influenza.

There are plenty of competent, knowledgeable folks who have spoken by their actions and by their statements; but the news press will not choose those outside of the mainstream as valid voices on the topic.

If you believe the news press have failed to report accurately, email them with your argument, presenting to them facts. BBC has been notified by me. Reach out to the individual reporter via email so they know they are being supported in their activity...someone's reading their stuff... and in turn they may be receptive to a review of facts omitted or ignored in their reporting. (unless their name is Jeff Gannon and his friendly "bottoms".)

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Thanks for the comments and thanks for reading. I'm enjoying doing it, and glad people appreciate it.

Thanks too for the discussion. It's interesting.

First, I assumed WHO was saying they had "no knowledge" referred to knowledge of the circumstances of infection, and not knowledge of the case itself.

Second, the media in this country isn't covering this because they don't perceive the risk to be close enough to Americans, in my opinion.

Third, on the general concept of causing panic, I think the elephant in the room here is the swine flu vaccine mess from the 70's. In my opinion, the public health field in the US is terrified on ending up in that situation again.

Imagine, if you will, a public health consultant proposing nationwide avian flu vaccination in the absence of an absolute panic. Then, imagine the next five minutes on Fox News.


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