Wednesday, December 14, 2005

December 14 Flu Update--nearly 7 Billion birds in China vaccinated.

Holy Poultry! China says it has vaccinated 6.85 Billion birds.

ProMed says that initial tests of people around the 5 year old boy who caught H5N1 recently have "cooled fears of human to human transmission."

WHO Situation update on the death in Indonesia. Note especially the length of time since his death.

He developed symptoms of fever, cough and breathing difficulty on 6 November, was hospitalized on 9 November, and died on 19 November.

Family members and close contacts were placed under observation and tested for possible infection. No evidence of additional cases has been detected.

Investigations have been undertaken to determine the source of the man’s exposure. While he did not keep poultry in his household, chickens and other birds were found in his neighbourhood. Samples from these birds have been taken and are undergoing tests to determine whether they may have been the source of infection.

Indonesia is promising to cooperate with WHO to stamp out the bird flu.

ASEAN nations adopted an eight point plan for fighting pandemic flu, reviewable here.

The Kaiser Family Foundation did this webcast on the intersection between the avian flu pandemic and HIV/AIDS. You can view it here.

A Gaithersburg MD paper interviews local businesses on their preperation for the flu, than wonders if it isn't just an overhyped threat from bureaucrats protecting their funding.

In the US, CIDRAP has the story of the first of 50 planning meetings--one in each state--across the US. The first was in Minnesota.

The general theme of the half-day conference was that much, if not most, of the real work of preparing for a pandemic must be done at the local and state levels.

An audience that nearly packed the auditorium at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul heard that pandemic preparedness consists of much more than a plan on paper or an intention to stockpile antiviral drugs.

"Hope is not a plan," said Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Health and Human Services (HHS ) Secretary Michael O. Leavitt said, "A plan represents our aspiration; being prepared is what we've demonstrated in the context of an exercise."

The Reuters report is a little more alarming about the state of preperation in Minnesota.

Minnesota only has 10 percent of the hospital beds it would need if a flu pandemic broke out and has nowhere near enough drugs or ventilators to treat the sickest patients, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dianne Mandernach said on Wednesday. And her state is being praised as one of the most prepared for a pandemic or other emergency.

Washington County, Wisconsin is also preparing for a pandemic while it prepares for season flu.

11 Flu outbreaks in the Ukraine.

Two countries have banned poultry imports from the Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Europe announces it will be ready for the bird flu by 2007.

Meanwhile, a Russian expert says a flu pandemic will come within two years.

Still meanwhile, as migration end, Europe restricts bird flu measures.

Here's an AP story with a new chapter in the "China: Open or not Open" debate.

Health workers arrived 30 minutes after Qin Zhijun reported finding dead chickens. Within 11 hours, tests confirmed it was bird flu and his flock of 7,000 birds was destroyed.

Then China's normally slow, secretive government did something even more unusual. Instead of imposing an information blackout, it flew foreign reporters to the northern region of Inner Mongolia to meet Qin and see his farm.

Taiwan finds bird flu near the capital, but its not H5N1.

ProMed on China and Taiwan--including an extensive story about the state of flu regulations in China, and the coming lunar new year.

A local health authority in Alberta is preparing for the pandemic.

They are discouraging the prescribing of Tamiflu in Arkansas.

Pregnant women and babies in Singapore are being advised to stay away from Tamiflu.

Effect Measure has this on FDA warnings to sham flu cures.

Effect Measure also has this--Burlington ON will have a community meeting tomorrow to simulate a flu pandemic and get everyone in the community talking.

In this press release, Alnylam says it will begin to study using RNA Interference to fight pandemic flu.

RNA interference, or RNAi, is a naturally occurring mechanism within cells for selectively silencing and regulating specific genes. Since many diseases are caused by the inappropriate activity of specific genes, the ability to silence genes selectively through RNAi could provide a new way to treat a wide range of human diseases. RNAi is induced by small, double-stranded RNA molecules. One method to activate RNAi is with chemically synthesized small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs, which are double-stranded RNAs that are targeted to a specific disease-associated gene. The siRNA molecules are used by the natural RNAi machinery in cells to cause highly targeted gene silencing.


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