August 25 Flu UpdateEU Veterinary Experts are meeting, and they are split over the necessity of Dutch plans to keep birds indoors.
The Head of the British Veterinary Association says that it is inevitable that migratory birds will bring bird flu to Britain.
A UN expert paints a scenario where the Balkans are the gateway where bird flu comes to Europe.
Birds heading south for the winter from Siberia may carry a deadly strain of avian flu to the Balkan peninsula and mingle with other flocks from northern Europe, experts said on Thursday.
Millions of birds migrate each year to Black Sea neighbors Romania and Bulgaria for the milder winter climate, making the area a potential gateway to central Europe for the bird flu virus, which has already swept into Russia from southeast Asia.
The Russian agriculture minister says bird flu is under control there.
Russia says there have been 91 villages effected by the bird flu.
In France, Chirac says France will spare no expense to protect its people from the pandemic.
In Australia, a government minister says hunting fowl is safe.
New Scientist has bird flu knock-knock-knocking on Europe's door.
Indiana has released its bird flu plan.
The Ft. Wayne paper has the Indiana story, too.
There were lots of stories today about WHO getting the Tamiflu from Roche, which I am not repeating here. But, Helen Branswell is a different case. Her story we run. And she lays bear the internal conflict on the "containment" strategy.
Here's the WHO perspective.
"We want to nip a pandemic in the bud - if we can do it," Dr. Margaret Chan, the agency's special representative for influenza said at a news conference in Geneva.
"Even knowing we may not be successful, we need to try. Because the potential damage of a pandemic of influenza is so devastating not to try it we would be failing the world. And that's the sentiment of many of us who are working in this area."
Here's Dr. Osterholm's perspective.
"More than anything, I want to stop this in its tracks. But you know what? Feeling good and facing reality sometimes just don't mesh," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a leading proponent of pandemic preparedness who fears a containment strategy will create a false sense of security that will undermine preparedness efforts."I fear desperately by the mere presence of this activity it will give many others excuses to say: 'Don't worry. We'll stop it in its tracks. We don't need to prepare for a pandemic,' " said Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Here's the Branswell analysis:
Despite the widespread skepticism - even within WHO - over whether containment could work, the agency may have had no choice but to commit to such an effort after the publication earlier this month of two mathematical modelling studies that suggest an emerging pandemic could be snuffed out.
Here's a more official report about what went on in Brussels.
Here's a Q&A from Brussels on what the EU is up to with bird flu.
Here's a timeline of EU actions.
CIDRAP says Europe is relatively dismissive of the threat from birds. They feel protective measures such as in Holland are "disproportionate."
ProMed has this same take.
Recombinomics on the Swedish decision to also load up on cheaper Amantadine as well as the more expensive N-inhibitors.
CIDRAP has this very interesting story on efforts to develop a universal, perennial flu vaccine by targetting the M2 protein, which shifts less than the H and the N parts. The article refers to it as the "Holy Grail" of flu protection.
A scientists from Mayo College said this:Effect Measures notes that WHO continues to say that while the disease spreads (despite killing 100s of millions of birds), there is no evidence of human transmission. Revere isn't too sure, noting a tendency among pandemics for their to be a smoldering effect.
"We need a proof of principle at this point," he said. "There are a number of entities trying to develop a similar vaccine. I do think it's theoretically possible. From an immunologic point of view, the key will be choosing the right antigen [viral protein] and knowing that the antigen is displayed early in the infection, so that an immune response can be generated early enough to abort the infection. My concern is if you find antigens that are displayed late in the infection, you may generate an immune response too late to do much good."
ProMed has this from Russia, where officials say the sick bird in Altai was the only one (?). ProMed's mods continue to ask for evidence of disease in healthy birds.
Avian flu kills civets in captivity in Vietnam, via crofsblog.