Sunday, November 27, 2005

November 27 Flu Update

In Vietnam, they held what is called an "elaborate" drill on a flu pandemic. Peter Horby of WHO says "They have got a plan. They have involved lots of different agencies. The broad brush, it looks very good. I think it is just done to the detail, really, and how you'd implement it in practice," he said.

If you're flying into Shanghai, you're going to get some questions about how close you've been to poultry.

Romania continues to cull, as it continues to find bird flu.

Note wryly:

The outbreak occurred in the local mayor's farm.

Bangladesh is taking flu steps.

Australia is preparing for the bird flu, too.

Early next year, Beijing will host a "donor's conference" to raise funds for the pandemic fight.

Bird flu fears have caused a Japanese importer to switch his supply source from China to India. (This is exactly the kind of thing that leads countries to hiding flu.)

Crofsblog has this, which says that poultry is only 2% of China's GDP, but employs 14 million people.

N. Korea continues to state that it has no human cases of bird flu.

On the domestic front, Lebanon, MO is preparing for a pandemic.

Same thing in Lawrence, MA.

Canadian writer says he's now interested in the health of chickens, and he looks to some alternative therapies.

ProMed on yesterday's report of sick fowl in Romania, but outside the Danube.

Crofsblogs must read. Excellent commentary on a story which chastises the West for a slow flu response. As he points out, there's nothing to be gained from that. Sempre avanti--Always Forward

If you follow Britain, you knew this was coming--A GM chicken that can't get the flu.

Here's a NY Times review of Monster at the Gate--its a positive one. Book is available through the link on the right.

Must, must read from the San Francisco Chronicle, a profile on Rino Rappuloli, who is a vaccine expert at Chiron. He says viruses shape history:

Work on the Siena Cathedral wall never resumed, and the once-flourishing medieval city faded just as the Renaissance dawned. To this day, Siena has about half the population it had in the mid-14th century. Infectious diseases take a toll that is greater than just the life lost at the moment, Rappuoli said.


Siena, he says, was once very much like California. "People wanted to get there, because the future was there," he said.

Artists and architects flocked to Siena to build and embellish its ornate cathedral, the Duomo di Siena. The sculptor Giovanni Pisano designed its lower facade, and his father Nicola Pisano produced its massive pulpit. Construction began on the wall for a towering new nave that would have completed the cathedral's cross-shaped design.

But the plague killed many of the cathedral artisans, Rappuoli said, depleting the resources and the expertise needed to finish the wing that would have made the Duomo one of the largest church buildings of its time. "They'd lost the knowledge," he said.

Rappuoli said he now sees the AIDS virus rolling back the clock in Africa to the Middle Ages, as life expectancies drop and a generation is left orphaned. "They have no mentors," he said.


"Fatti non fummo per viver come bruti ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza," Rappuoli quotes Dante. "We (mankind) were not born to live relaxed in ignorance like animals, but to explore the universe to learn its secrets ... and improve our knowledge, and use it to improve the quality of life," he interprets the passage.


At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

regarding Cold-FX (mentioned in the article titled "why I care about the health of Chickens" ). I did a bit of research and it does look as though double-blind studies confirm that it cuts the flu infection rate because it builds up the immune system...

However, in an H5N1 flu infection it seems that the problem is that the immune system overreacts leading to a cytokine storm. One wonders if it might not be a good idea to boost the immune system when facing avian flu - it might be exactly the wrong thing to do. This is similar to the 1918 situation where the mid-teen to mid-twenties age group was the hardest hit apparently because of a similar cytokine response - the stronger the immune system the stronger the response.


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