Saturday, October 29, 2005

October 28 Flu Update--Two new deaths in Vietnam?

The focus shifts back to Vietnam, where there are reports of two more human deaths.

It's very, very clear that all the critical symptoms pointed to bird flu," Dr Nguyen Ngoc Tai, the director of the Vietnam-Cuba Hospital in Dong Hoi, central Vietnam, told Reuters.
As we noted yesteday, China is ruling out bird flu in the young girl's death in Hunan.

They also continue to insist there is no human infection in China.

Based on China's track record, WHO is pressing them for more information.

"After SARS they know they should really provide timely information about what is going on," WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a news briefing in Geneva.

ProMed has the official report on this item.

Australia to expats: be ready to evacuate immediately if bird flu hits your country, or you could be stranded.

"If the threat of sustained human-to-human transmission appears serious, we will advise Australians in affected countries to consider leaving," the travel bulletin warns.

"If they don't leave when first advised to do so, they may be prevented from leaving later.

"Borders may be closed, commercial air services may be curtailed or halted and quarantine requirements may further restrict options for leaving."

The warning also revealed Australian travellers should not assume embassies and consulates would provide them with anti-bird flu drugs.

"Australian travellers, long-term residents and businesses are responsible for securing their own supply of influenza anti-viral medicine," DFAT warned.


Congress continues to appropriate more $ for the bird flu.

French Tourists on Reunion Island do not have bird flu.

Motley Fool ponders the value of the Chiron contract to investors.

Article from Seattle PI says that bird import pans are unproductive, and could serve to confuse the public (about eating chicken), and strain international tension.

The Australian notes that the flu scare has been bad news for people who use Tamiflu during normal seasonal flu.

In Cebu City, Philippines, they are in a "disaster preparedness" mode, buying up masks, gowns, etc.

A bird flu plan is due in Japan by the end of November.

OIE continues to press for containing flu in animals, but reminds the "cullers" that they have to use the right techniques.

A paper in Nepal briefs the public on bird flu and says what should be done.

WHO warns Africa it could be next--CIDRAP reports.

CIDRAP also notes that just as the US is purchasing more flu vaccines, WHO is saying that the virus is changing.

"Recent investigations have indicated that H5 haemagglutinins (HA) genes of viruses from birds in China, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, South Korea and Turkey, and 3 viruses from humans in Indonesia are genetically distinguishable from the prototype strains selected last year for influenza pandemic vaccine development," the WHO said. "There is also evidence of antigenic variation among the HA of recent viruses. However, their geographical spread and pathogenicity in human populations remain unclear."

The WHO said it does not recommend changing the H5N1 prototype strains chosen previously for vaccine development. But the agency said its "H5 Reference Laboratory Network" has begun developing H5N1 vaccine prototype strains from the recent viruses.

There is no guarantee that the experimental H5N1 vaccines now under development would work in the event of a pandemic, since the virus is likely to evolve further before that happens. But experts hope that the vaccines would be close enough to the pandemic strain to provide at least some cross-protection. The viral changes reported by the WHO seem to suggest that the vaccines now in development would be less likely to work well, though the WHO didn't say that.


Helen Branswell reports that in Canada, polling shows 25% of people are concerned about the bird flu.

In Australia, there is cautious optimism on the prospect of a vaccine.

Scientists are ready to pounce on the pandemic when it starts--its the virulence that worries them.

Docs are frustrated that HHS has no position on dispensing Tamiflu.

In Norway, docs have been asked to stop prescribing Tamiflu.

Vietnam says it will produce its own Tamiflu under pandemic conditions.

Revere at Effect Measure notes that his comments on the US and bird flu don't change much--because the government doesn't do much.

Effect Measure surveys the news that interested him yesterday.

Recombinomics on the negative results in China.

Recombinomics has some ironic news. People often say that the WWI conditions enabled the 1918 pandemic--crowded train cars, etc. They often also say that such things aren't happening now. Today, Niman reports that there may be bird flu in Iraq--where our troops are, and where people travel back and forth every day.

Recombinomics reports on Wild Bird Flu effecting humans in Indonesia.

ProMed with OIE reports from multiple countries.

This is a must read--ProMed comprehensive scan. Note reference to potential or likely bird flu in Lebanon and a spread to a new part of Romania.


Crofsblogs notes that there were dead chickens in Israel as well---circumstantial evidence clearly begins to indicate the Middle East is in play now, as well.

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