Tuesday, September 13, 2005

September 13 Flu Update

Chapter 85 of the "dead birds don't migrate" debate resurrects the argument over whether migratory birds are spreading the flu. Recombinomics feels strongly that it is, and he's being broadly attacked on some message boards (ridiculed, really) for these beliefs.

I'm not here to sort it out. But let's look at what National Geographic (presumably a credible source) has to say (Answer: nothing definitive, but they clearly take the idea seriously).

But there is another possible carrier of the virus far more difficult to control than domesticated chickens: migratory birds.

Migrating birds may have caused the outbreak of avian flu that killed thousands of domestic fowl in Siberia this summer. Scientists have also found birds on Lake Qinghai in China, where many birds come to migrate, to be infected with the strain.

If avian flu is introduced to North America by migrating birds, "Alaska is the most likely state where it would first arrive, because that's where the … flyways intersect," said Hon Ip, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) virology lab in Madison, Wisconsin. His lab is handling some of the tests.


Recent outbreaks of avian flu in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and southwestern Siberia in Russia have been attributed to H5N1. The incidents mark the first time the virus has extended into the regions, though there is no confirmation that migratory birds brought the disease there. But a study of birds found sick or dying on China's Lake Qinghai last spring showed that they carried H5N1. The lake is a breeding center for migrant birds from Australia to Siberia.

So far, there is no evidence of avian flu in North America. But Ip worries that it might just be a matter of time before the disease spreads out of Asia.

"The longer the virus persists in poultry, the greater the chance that, at some point, it will spread to species of wild birds that can carry the virus to new areas," the USGS virologist said. "It is like playing Russian roulette—time is not on our side."

Reuters says that the bird flu exposes a rich-poor gap in the world.

Indonesia is aggressively checking people who had contact with dead woman for bird flu.

Italy is allocating more money to bird flu.

A quarantine remains in effect in Russia.

A researcher at Purdue has a novel vaccine delivery technique for the flu.

Purdue molecular virologist Suresh Mittal and his collaborators are investigating a new way to provide immunity against avian influenza viruses, or bird flu, the most lethal of which, H5N1, has a 50 percent fatality rate in humans. Under a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the researchers are focusing on using a harmless virus, called adenovirus, as a transmitting agent for a vaccine to fight off highly virulent strains of the avian influenza viruses.

<>Current vaccines are designed for strains of flu found in local areas and are effective only as long as the virus doesn't change form. Existing vaccines will have limited success against new strains of avian influenza, he said. Every time a bird flu mutates, vaccines must be redesigned.

<>Australia says bird flu could kill more than terrorism.....I guess you have to put things in relevant terms.

There's an influenza conference in Malta. They are worried.

Vietnam media story on WHO Official Margaret Chan speaking out on flu.

CDC Influenza Branch Chair Dr. Nancy Cox will chair the Options for the Control of Influenza VI International Conference in Toronto, Canada, June 17-23, 2007.

Must-read from the Orlando Sentinel. Takes the Effect Measure message of Katrina as metaphor for flu preperation, and shows how unprepared we really are for things that upset our systems.

Roche presented a paper at Malta, which said that two studies show Tamiflu reduces death from flu.

Recombinomics writes that investigations in Jakarta are slow and incomplete, marked by false reassurances to the public.

CIDRAP reports on a European paper that, for the first time, shows that people can catch LPAI as well as HPAI.

Effect Measure on the Chan comments.

Crofsblogs has this from Marc Siegel, who says we always fear exotic stuff more than everyday stuff and that the avian flu today won't evolve like the 1918 flu, which took advantage of war conditions. I could swear I saw this somewhere before, but I can't figure out where.


At 3:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a research article at biomedcentral "A new paradigm in respiratory hygiene: increasing the cohesivity of airway secretions to improve cough interaction and reduce aerosol dispersion" http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2466/5/11

Far from working at this stage, but an interesting direction - if we have time.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I saw the 1918 "fluke of wartime conditions" explanation was in Gladwell's piece in the New Yorker.

At 5:29 AM, Blogger harvey said...

Hi nice blog I am blog surfing and foun you I want to spread the word about the bird flu virus people will need to get immunised ebay have stopped people selling anti flu stuff on their website .. try www.cqbid.com they have less restrictions and are new so maybe people will sell from theretamiflu dosing


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