June 17 Flu UpdateYesterday, Revere @ Effect Measure tantalized us with a promise of what he thinks needs to be done. Its here, and we're supportive. We'll try to continue to be a news resource to people. Don't forget, the web is about interaction...put your comments in.
The big news today is from Vietnam...
Physician in Vietnam catches bird flu. (This is a Stage 6 hallmark).
Just as alarmingly, Recombinomics reports that 23 new cases are in the hospital in North Vietnam.
Here's the original media report about the 23 cases.
WHO is reporting four additional cases.
Effect Measure writes, effectively as always, that its hard to tell if these are four new cases, some of the six announced yesterday, etc. (I thought it was just me).
Here is the single thing that got me interested in the flu.
Under the surface, the serious public health situation of responding to an impending pandemic reveals a deeper connection with matters of war, peace and crimes against humanity. Something to ponder, even as we scramble to prepare for avian influenza.
CIDRAP confirms that WHO doesn't know if these are new cases or not.
Recombinomics has the same complaints. Note this interview snippet at the start of the article.
LIZ FOSCHIA: The World Health Organisation says news of the infections is being reported locally in Vietnam.
Peter Cordingly is based in the organisation's Asia-Pacific headquarters in Manila.
PETER CORDINGLY: We've seen media reports of six people in a hospital in Hanoi being tested positive for H5N1. In fact we're not quite sure whether it's six patients plus one doctor, or five patients plus one doctor. The media reports are a little bit contradictory, and we don't have any official information from the Vietnamese to work on.
So basically we have to do our best guess work on this one. And this does worry us a little bit. If six people are infected in one hospital, this would be the first time we've seen this. There's no evidence so far, not even in the media reports, or anything we've seen to date, that suggests that there is human-to-human transmission going on in Vietnam.
But this one we will be looking at very carefully........
LIZ FOSCHIA: Is it the fact that it's a group of six people that's concerning?
PETER CORDINGLY: Yes. Clusters always send our blood pressure up. This is the biggest one. The previous one was five, so it's not an enormous jump, but they do catch our attention.
And we need to have very swift information on this, because while we don't know how a pandemic will start, it will almost certainly start through a cluster, so every cluster has to be very closely examined.
I should say that every one that has been closely examined to date has shown that poultry was the source of infection, and that may well be the case here as well. So basically we have to do our best guess work on this one. And this does worry us a little bit. If six people are infected in one hospital, this would be the first time we've seen this. There's no evidence so far, not even in the media reports, or anything we've seen to date, that suggests that there is human-to-human transmission going on in Vietnam.
Later in the day, Recombinomics wrote about wishful thinking at ProMed, and what could well be a "sudden explosion" of cases in North Vietnam.
ProMed has an update on the Vietnam situation that includes a short discussion of the efforts to model a flu containment strategy.
ProMed reports more on Vietnam.
Finally, Recombinomics has the story of a bird flu outbreak (non-human) in South Vietnam and works to connect the dots.
Other updates from yesteday....
I think the fact that tamiful was the only antiviral available for bird flu was well known, but the Washington Post today has a big story on how it got there. Apparently, the Chinese used it to treat chickens, against international convention. Interesting read, also provides historical context from SARS.
Recombinomics says that the resistance issue is a little more complicated than suspected.
The Guardian on flu incubators in pigs.
Story on a swamp in the Phillipines that hosts many migratory birds, could be flu hotspot.
India is wisely beginning meetings on the bird flu pandemic.
CIDRAP has the news of the Infectious Disease Society saying US tamiflu stocks are woefully inadequate.
WebMd picks up the Osterholm story from yesterday.