Wednesday, August 17, 2005

August 17 Flu Update

Russia continues slaughter program to try and fight bird flu.

As Recombinomics speculated yesterday, media reports in Russia say flu has spread to the Urals.

WaPo on bird flu...interviewing experts. Here are some snippets.

"Will this make its way to Western Europe? I think most of us have no doubt," said Michael Osterholm, an expert on bird flu and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in the United States.

"Theoretically, because it's going to be stopped in its tracks, it's not going to infect humans because of the quick detection, and therefore it would have less of a chance to become adapted to humans," Lubroth said.

However, Osterholm noted that each time the virus passes from one bird to another presents another opportunity for it to mutate.

"This is genetic roulette," he said. "Every bit of spread just adds that much more potential for a mutation to occur that results in a strain that would be more readily transmitted between humans."

In Russia, experts are calling for a federal flu program.

The Washington Times (WaTi??) on the spread in Russia.

Stepping up the pace of bird vaccinations in Vietnam.

In what could still be an optimistic assessment, the Russians say bird flu won't be contained until October.

In Altai (Russia), hunting waterfowl is banned.

Mother Jones asks if time has already run out for the pandemic (good articles).

The new U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told the Associated Press in early August that an influenza pandemic was now an "absolute certainty,"
Here's a canary in the mine...WHO is urging regional offices to have drugs stockpiled for staff.

CIDRAP on the Russians ratcheting up their flu efforts.

CIDRAP says the pig outbreak in China appears spent, and that WHO says all signs continue to point to a pig bacteria.

Russia thinks it would take a year to develop a flu vacccine.

A local task force is formed as part of comprehensive plans to fight flu in the Phillipines.

In New Zealand, they are downplaying the dangers of flu coming in via migratory birds.

Recombinomics says bird flu is confirmed in another part of Kazhakstan.

ProMed has the same story.

Crofsblogs finds this from Znet on the coming flu pandemic. Author is Mike Davis, who has a book coming out soon on the global flu threat.

Crofsblogs pointed us yesterday to a Canadian financial analysis that said a flu pandemic could cause a global depression. Here's a link to a .pdf of the report, also courtesy of Crofsblog.


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