December 26 Flu Update--one year anniversary
December 27, 2006 represents the one year anniversary of The Coming Influenza Pandemic. We started with a post like like you see above. Since then, we've received tons of great feedback and encouragement, along with nearly 97,000 page impressions, and being featured on Yahoo! as site of the day on October 17.
I started the blog because I was planning on following the pandemic more closely. I got the Gina Kolata book for Christmas that year, and had it read in a day, after having earlier read the Malcolm Gladwell and New York Times magazine articles. I found and find the flu fascinating for its ability to be a perfect tracker for our human behavior, exposing our weaknesses with an elegant brutality. So, I thought as long as I was following it, I would throw some links up for others.
My goal was to put the facts into the blog, with some comments thrown in to keep it interesting...kind of like "The Note" for flu junkies. I try not to step over what I know, leaving the science to the experts. I do, however, have a layman's perspective, only with an upgraded self-education.
Thanks to everyone who reads and to those who comment and email. It is very gratifying. On to year 2!
Although that town in Australia was subsequently cleared of flu, fear is keeping tourism down.
Good story from the Boston Globe, which says that the US poultry industry is living in fear of a flu pandemic. They are increasing security measures, because they know what a panic would cost them---not to mention the culling.
Placing the chick on the ground, he checked automated food and temperature controls in the cavernous henhouse west of Modesto, then returned to his truck and unzipped his full-body biosecurity suit.
Instinctively, Carlson reached for a bottle in the door pocket, squirted a dollop of clear gel into his calloused hand and rubbed it in.
''Farmers using hand sanitizers," he said. ''Crazy, huh?"
In the age of bird flu, the ideal poultry or egg farm would be more controlled than a prison, more sanitary than a hospital, and more remote than a desert island.
Reality is not far off. The new tools of the trade are locked gates, visitor logs, and antiviral truck washes. Failure to wear biosecurity gear is a firing offense.
Similarly, in Taiwan the EPA is putting into place protective measures.
Up until now, Taiwan has taken the work of defending against bird flu seriously, stockpiling Tamiflu as well as ingredients to produce Tamiflu, requesting "coercive authorization" to produce Tamiflu, tightening up defenses against bird smuggling, providing funds for farmers to put up wire fencing, increasing sampling of migratory birds for the HN virus family, holding conferences to increase the flow of information and holding large-scale drills.
A local health official in Japan details his region's plans for fighting the pandemic.
More sick birds in Romania, and the culling goes on.
Here's a perspective on a debate you often hear--can technology and science deliver us from a pandemic? A Chinese offical says that China should insist that it do so.
The Chinese have a new live vaccine for birds, as reported earlier. It is remarkably versatile--it can be injected or used as a nasal spray.
ProMed has various reports on this as well...note the very faint note of skepticism in the mod comment.
Provided the vaccine has been found safe (for the vaccinated birds as well as for the vaccinators) and efficacious, as should have been convincingly manifested in the laboratory and in controlled experimental vaccinations in the field, this has the potential to become a significant step forward in the combat against avian influenza. Applying the oral (drinking water), nasal or aerosol routes for mass-vaccination is a time and labor saving application mode that might enable achieving China's ambitious undertaking to vaccinate its 14 billion domestic poultry.
Hopefully, careful testing has preceded the official go-ahead approval announced on 23 Dec 2005.
The Anti-Influenza Task Force in The Philippines says migratory birds have arrived, been sampled, and do not have bird flu.
Charleston SC paper tells readers not to ask for Tamifu if they aren't sick.
Crofsblog points us to this Chinese blog that says Chinese media have no evidence of a cover up and takes strong shots at Boxun.