Monday, December 12, 2005

December 12 Flu Update--Thai Officials Denounce Flu Coverups--and is the US not vaccinating poultry to protect exports?

Thai officials are denouncing coverups of bird flu, calling for real cooperation between nations.

The next world pandemic will begin precisely in this way: A family with no information will fail to recognise the danger of an illness, and influenza will spread unchecked for days or even weeks. It will be out of control before local authorities act. And there is just one way to prevent this. Luckily, it's not that difficult: Inform the country _ the entire country _ about avian flu, and stress the incredible dangers of a cover-up. If a local official tries to suppress news of a possible illness, his co-workers must blow the whistle. If a villager falls sick, neighbours must intervene if the family does not.

This Wall Street Journal story (via UPI) says that the US has poultry vaccine, but is hesitant to use it for fear of sparking export fears.

But poultry-industry executives say importing countries would likely close their borders to chickens from states where poultry had been vaccinated. That's because the screening tests many importing countries use for bird flu can't tell whether chickens have been treated with a vaccine or infected with the disease itself.

Roche has announced 12 partners for Tamiflu production.

A Chinese company has a sub-license to produce Tamiflu.

Malaysia is proposing a WHO Bird Flu Centre.

Farm Canadians are urged to keep fears about flu in perspective.

The PM of Thailand is asking ASEAN members to stock up on vaccine--a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Japan is pledging $135M to the bird flu fight.

Less specifically, China says it will put money and medicine into the bird flu fight outside its borders.

A top EU medical expert says flu pandemic can be expected in ten years, but Europe is ready now.

Northern China village has its quarantine lifted.

The WHO has been invited into the Ukraine to look at flu--and they've arrived.

One of the economic fears is that flu panics will cut down on tourism. Reuters says to date it hasn't happened, but its still a concern.

Canada has a contract with ID Biomedical to develop a prototype vaccine.

Recombinomics has this from Libya--reports suggest bird flu may have been present there for months.

ProMed notes that the Libyan case has yet to even be identified as H5--and could be another variety.

Via ProMed, a report an OIE report on HPAI in the Ukraine. Note that a symptom is that the chickens get depressed.


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