Monday, October 24, 2005

October 24 Flu Update--the Flu marches on with new deaths in Thailand and Indonesia.

One new human death in Thailand, and two deaths in Indonesia.

The WHO situation report on Thailand and Indonesia.

CIDRAP on the newest deaths in Asia.

Recombinomics says the Indonesian deaths are a suspect family cluster.

ProMed with the Thailand and Indonesia story.

Recombinomics wonders why officials are so sure a new case in Indonesia isn't H2H.

In Tambov, 250 miles SE of Moscow, there is more bird flu.

The WHO says that its still Asia where people should worry--not Europe, which is "well positioned" to contain the flu.

The same WHO official emphasizes the to stop the flu, countries should support the fight in Asia--where the flu began.

CTV seperates bird flu fact from fiction.

The Indian Home Ministry is making plans to monitor for bird flu.

In Hong Kong, they are carefully watching pet bird shops for bird flu.

Following up on the parrot death in England, the EU is considering banning pet imports.

In Australia, they are realizing that Tamiflu is not covered under the Prescription Benefit Scheme--meaning you want it, you buy it.

Scientific America has a probing article on the flu, comparing to our closest known disaster--Hurricane Katrina.

The threat of a flu pandemic is more ominous, and its parallels to Katrina more apt, than it might first seem. The routine seasonal upsurges of flu and of hurricanes engender a familiarity that easily leads to complacency and inadequate preparations for the "big one" that experts admonish is sure to come.

This article from Canada quotes the Public Health Minister as saying preparing for the flu is like "studying for an exam." You could always study more, but there's a time you are prepared...or so goes the metaphor. (The good minister wasn't with me in college). Anyway, I might add that its like studying for an exam when you don't know when its going to be held.

From Korea--flu could be more deadly than SARS.

Debora McKenzie, a New Scientist contributor, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle (SanFranChron). She notes"

We have a lovely synthetic-flu virus that will probably make a fine vaccine. Scandalously, we've had it since June 2004, yet only one vaccine company has manufactured it in enough quantity to do substantial tests in humans. And even those tests wasted time on a formulation that didn't work very well -- as scientists had actually predicted. Other companies and countries are only starting now.


First, governments are reluctant to prepare, expensively, for a disaster when scientists can't say exactly when or how it will happen. But it's companies that make drugs and vaccines. So the preparations have been left largely to the private sector. What happened then is what economists call "market failure."

No corporate interest can pay to test a vaccine if it can't tell its shareholders there is sure to be a market for it. Nor can it relinquish patent control, or scale up to make billions of the pills it can barely give away in a normal flu year. Not unless governments pay.


In a globalized economy, disease anywhere hurts everywhere.

An English professor is calling for the protection of bird flocks during the next few weeks, during the migration season.

Taiwan is moving ahead with its Tamiflu work, with or without patent.

While Forbes says they are talking with Roche.

Americans and Europeans are hitting Canadian pharmacies for Tamiflu.

Another race metaphor--man against virus.

Sweden has started Tamiflu rationing--immediately.

CIDRAP on the fear of fake Tamiflu.

Effect Measure on the National Journal article that, essentially, tells it Congressional staff/readership that the response to a pandemic will be all local.

Recombinomics notes HPAI in an OIE report in a new region in China, and, with it, a continuing increase in the reach of the disease.

A large number of chickens died in Yemen, and that looks like more H5N1 (recombinomics)

ProMed has this OIE story from Croatia, where swans died in a new region of the country.

ProMed follows up on other developments from around the world.

Crofsblogs has this article on why the human version of the flu is not a given.

Crofsblog has this from time--access to a flu database will soon be cut off by the US.

Crosflogs on the rapid response team at HHS.

Finally, we have a returner to the flu site commuity. is back online. Always worth checking out.


At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question: Why do sources talk about the flu "mutating" instead of the more appropriate term, "evolving"?


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