Tuesday, November 22, 2005

November 22 Flu Update--China calls flu a "serious epidemic"

China officials say the flu is a serious epidemic there, with two new outbreaks of the disease. The assumption is that the cases are bird cases, though the direct answer is not clear.

WaPo on the same story. China is taking pains to try and be open, but who knows what's going on in the vast, rural areas of that country.

China says its not planning to close its borders.

Recombinomics notes these outbreaks are earlier in the year than normal.

There's a new flu case in Vietnam--a teenage boy.

In Indonesia, the health minister says there are likely more cases then they are reporting due to poor surveillance in isolated rural areas. (Indonesians inhabit more than 6,000 islands).

More on the dead Russsian swans.

Will AIDS victims in Africa help spread the flu? Theory is that since the primary reaction to the bird flu is cytokine storm--an immune response--an AIDS victims are immuno-suppressed, they could carry the virus but not experience the storm.

China reports two goals for bird flu.

One of the goals is to effectively prevent bird flu from jumping to human beings, and the other is to maintain the normal order of production and living of the people, Gao said during a meeting with French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand in Shanghai on Monday.

Antigua is keeping an eye on the flu. (There are no small pandemics, only small...)

I'll bet five people asked me today if they could eat a Turkey on Thursday. Here's a poultry industry site to answer questions like that.

We noted yesteday some differing terminology in Chinese statements on the flu. We thought maybe it was a translation problem, but Effect Measure has a different outlook.

China continues work on its home-grown human flu vaccine, which is said to be ready for clinical trials.

From the Scotsman...advice on getting Tamiflu.

Two firms in South Korea are making generic Tamiflu--seperately.

Taiwan says it has extracted the acid vital to Tamiflu in local plants.

In Hong Kong, they are hedging their bets by stocking up on herbs along with Tamiflu.

But Hong Kong herbalist Wong Chi-sun is putting his trust in what looks like a plastic zip-lock bag full of some really bad weed. He's selling a blend of some classic Chinese fever-fighting remedies: squiggly yellowish buds of honeysuckle flowers, brown seed shells from the weeping forsythia, crumpled black Dyers Woad leaves and dried chips of Isatis root.

It's not a bunch of mumbo jumbo and quackery, the Chinese medicine practitioner says from his store-front clinic filled with earthy, musky smell of herbs and other things like dried sea horse and deer antlers.

"Western medicine is about treating symptoms," said Wong, who wears his hair slicked back and walks around in flip flops. "Chinese medicine is about treating the person."

Bird flu panic has caused a shortage in season influenza vaccines in Britain.

Reuters notes that the problem isn't limited to Britain.

The Village Voice weighs in on the pandemic flu--robber baron Rx companies and large countries ignoring the disease at the animal level...

In Asia, people love chicken, but they are growing hesitant to eat it.

The Philippines still say they are bird flu free.

Its still non-lethal, but there's more of it in BC--Avian Flu, that is.

A Kiwi expert says masks and Tamiflu are useless.

CIDRAP has some new updates to the CDC's travel restrictions, which are built on the SARS experience, and designed to provide some control at the border.

Effect Measure passed along the 29Ps of Pandemic Preparation without comment, as do I.


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