Sunday, October 23, 2005

October 22 Flu Update

Long-time readers know that one of the key aspects of the flu isn't what the virus does, but what people do to respond to the virus....the effects we create intentionally. Closed borders is one of them...this Reuters report says the Chinese are prepared to close their borders in the event of a single H2H case in that country.

To enhance that strategy, the Chinese have also implemented new surveillance measures.

On the human behavior front, Reuters writes on the economic shock of the bird flu. (Emphasis added)

"Substantial loss of life would obviously lead to a decline in economic output but we believe fear of infection, leading to drastically altered behavior, would result in the greatest economic damage," said Rob Carnell, economist at ING bank. "We cannot begin to quantify the potential damage in terms of gross domestic product, but a realistic scenario might be GDP declines in the tens of percent," said Carnell. "In the case of slower growing economies such as Europe or Japan, a decade's economic growth could be wiped out."

Effect Measure has this piece on the recent quarantine/border plans you've seen here and elsewhere, including Australia's six-day holding plan. Basic point: while inevitable, they are doomed to fail.

It is inevitable that these kinds of restrictions will come into play if a pandemic is starting. It is just as inevitable they will be costly and will fail. It isn't even sure they will slow things up much. This is apparently an obligatory response that can't be stopped. But it shouldn't also prevent us from beginning the kind of community mobilization that will really make a difference in managing the consequences of a pandemic, should one come.


In Thailand, they have ruled out H2H in the case of the little boy, and he has fully recovered.

ProMed has this story as well.

Despite the parrot, Britain says it is still bird flu free.

Taiwan continues to say it will defy international patent law on Tamiflu.

Tanzania recognizes that its on the migratory bird route, and is taking steps to protect itself against the bird flu.

Earlier, we reported a first case in Croatia...the other shoe is dropping as culling begins.

Bird flu continues its persistence in Russia, despite relatively modern culling techniques. This case has more birds testing positive in the Southern Urals.

On the other hand, Pravda says there is no bird flu in Russia--its all a master plan to damage the poultry industry in Russia.

Crofsblog has this on the potential for bird flu being found in Sweeden.

More examples of flu bringing people together--Cyprus and Turkey cooperating on bird flu measures.

Tamiflu shortages could exist for a year.

The Germans are racing to stockpile Tamiflu.

WaPo writes on local doctors who have decided as a policy not to prescribe Tamiflu to people who ask for it.

On BBC, the chief Medical Officer for Britain does a bird flu Q&A,

This Australian story says the Chinese created the flu crisis by feeding amantadine to chickens.

A rift is developing between the Canadians and the Australians over a ban on birds imposed in Australia--the Esteemed Helen Branswell reports.

Effect Measure on a high science-content article on the H2H shift at the cell level.

Recombinomics comments on the same article.

Wall Street Journal competes--with an Avian Flu news tracker (courtesty H5N1).

ProMed has this OIE report on an outbreak from Inner Mongolia.

A ProMed OIE report from Russia, noting an interesting anamoly in fatality rates in the birds.

ProMed on the Chiense/Taiwanese border situation.

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