Tuesday, November 29, 2005

November 29 Flu Update--More Flu in China

The Chinese have reported two new flu outbreaks. That makes 24 since October 19.

A lack of testing may have hidden a family cluster in Indonesia, WHO reports.

A 16-year-old boy confirmed as Indonesia's 12th human case of bird flu had two brothers who died from similar symptoms days before he was taken to hospital, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday. The brothers died on Nov. 11 after being diagnosed with typhoid fever, but they were never tested for the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, leaving questions hanging over the cause of death, WHO spokeswoman Maria Chang said. "They had similar symptoms, fever and respiratory distress, but we don't have samples. We'll probably never have a definite diagnosis," Chang said, adding that the possibility of human-to-human transmission of bird flu could not be ruled out.
CIDRAP on the cluster report in Indonesia.

Do bird flu vaccines help stop the spread of the flu in poultry. This question lies at the heart of global strategies to stop the disease before it moves to human transmission. Research in the Netherlands has shown that vaccines can be an effective tool to stop a virus in birds. (If I can add an implication, it might mean less culling, and therefore less economic impact in Asia on small farmers.)

WHO officials are in China studying the circumstances around China's second human death.

WHO experts made an inspection in the hospital, where a 35-year-old female farmer surnamed Xu died of bird flu infection. They also visited Shandou Village where the dead lived, inquiring about the details of the victim's condition before and after getting infected.

WHO update on China and Indonesia.

A couple days ago, we read about the Vietnemese poisoning wild birds. The UN Food and Agriculture Office today said that killing wild birds is not part of any strategy, and it not likely to be effective.

Now that migratory birds have returned to a sanctuary in Tamil Nadu (India), a bird flu alert has been announced.

Investment bankers in Britain are issuing provacatively titled reports on the implications for a pandemic...clearly indicating the downsides, but, as always in the dark science, seeing some "opportunities" as well.

The US has relaxed its Canadian poultry ban.

Australia is preparing for two large scale national simulations. One will look at an outbreak in flu, and the other--slated for the second half of 2006--would look at a human pandemic.

The FAO recently did an educational workshop in Kabul, which is apparently a major crossroads of poultry traffic.

Here's a FAQ on what the EU is doing to prepare.

Helen Branswell on the Canadian government finally signing a contract for flu vaccines. The bad news is no vaccine will be ready for testing until late 2006.

CIDRAP on a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce event on the flu pandemic, where Dr. Osterholm told the assembled group that "this is not an optional planning exercise."

Doctors in California are the latest to be urged not to prescribe Tamiflu.

It had to happen...a US company has submitted an application to produce Tamiflu.

Effect Measure on the announcement of the existence of a pandemic plan in Pennsylvania. Of course, the plan is still secret.

A detailed report on the outbreak in Romanian outbreak, right down to the bird species.

Crofsblogs has a story on a hunting ban instituted in Pakistan.


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