Saturday, November 12, 2005

November 12 Flu Update--Tamiflu side effects in Japan?

In Japan, there are warnings of side effects from Tamiflu after two people exhibited bizarre behavior after taking the drug.

In Japan, the Health Ministry warned that Tamiflu - one of the few drugs believed to be effective against bird flu - can induce strange behaviour following the deaths of two teenagers who took the medicine.

A 17-year-old high school student from the central prefecture of Gifu jumped in front of a truck in February 2004 shortly after taking the medicine, the Mainichi newspaper and Kyodo News agency reported. Another student in neighbouring Aichi is believed to have fallen from the ninth floor of his apartment building in February.

The drug's Japanese distributor, Chugai Pharmaceutical, issued a report to the Health Ministry after the first incident saying a link between taking the drug and the odd behaviour that led to the death cannot be ruled out, the Mainichi said.

The ministry is warning that the drug may lead to abnormal behaviour and accidental death, Kyodo News agency said, citing an unidentified ministry official. Tamiflu carries a label in Japan warning of such side effects as "abnormal behaviour" and "hallucinations."

Thirty cats died suddenly in Liaoning, but it wasn't bird flu.

Story on China and Thailand outbreaks--note that human case in Thailand is the first Bangkok case.

ProMed with more on Bangkok. Its a sick, 18-month old baby.

A flu wrap-up from Reuters.

In the Philippines, cock fighters are joining the battle against bird flu.

Saudi Arabia is banning bird imports to help prevent bird flu.

Interesting Pacific News Service story on how the Chinese media has been transfixed by the bird flu....they even have advice for avoiding the bird flu.

Like the Time Magazine article we linked earlier, the OIE chief feels things are on the right track for bird flu.

I believe this our first link from Uruguay--it says the costs for flu could be $800M.

He has critics, but Recombinomics surveys the spread of bird flu, and draws some pretty straightforward conclusions...doesn't certain evidence support certain conclusions.

Coupled with the detection of the news sequences in the endemic region were reports of clusters of human cases. China has admitted for the first time that three victims in Hunan Province may have been infected with H5N1. Now there is a fourth suspect case, but in Liaoning Province. China has filed reports detailing four separate outbreaks. Although media reports have suggested that H5N1 control is hampered by use of fake or shoddy vaccines, the latest reports detail new immunizations with 3 different vaccine preparations, suggesting significant resistance to each individual vaccine.

Clearly H5N1 is rapidly evolving and previous control efforts are failing. Although China has promptly reported several recent outbreaks, sequences have not been made public since Qinghai Lake in May. Similarly, Thailand has only deposited 2 sequences from 2005 isolates and Indonesia has deposited none.

H5N1 is rapidly changing in many regions, and the exploding geographical reach suggests H5N1 will become endemic worldwide and new versions will appear with increasing frequency as the H5N1 recombines with regional isolates.
ProMed with news from around the world, including an LPAI finding in Italy.

Via Crofsblogs, there is bird flu in 9 Vietnemese provinces.

Also via Crofsblogs, evidence from Vietnam says that the disease is mutating, gaining resistance to key drugs. Note from Crofsblogs, this is evidence (along with news from yesterday) that the disease is mutating and becoming more dangerous.

Crofsblog found this as well: Hong Kong fears a wild outbreak during the spring.

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