Friday, December 09, 2005

December 9 Flu Update--Death in Thailand, and a leading virologist says China is hiding bird flu

A five-year old boy has died of bird flu in Thailand.

Part V of the debate over whether China is hiding bird flu. Guan Yi, a leading expert on bird fu says that the bird flu is in all parts of China. Note: he does not specifically address the issue of human cases, at least in this article.

"I don't know if they are brave enough to admit that they have the virus in every corner of the country," said Guan Yi, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong who has analyzed nearly 100,000 bird-flu-virus samples from across China.

"Quite honestly, some provinces have the virus and they still haven't announced any outbreak. I can show direct evidence, even though China is still trying very hard to block my research. The government doesn't do any surveillance studies, but they say there is no outbreak."

Recently, there's been some debate as to how much Tamiflu helps. A doctor from Vietnam said it didn't help at all. WHO is beginning to study whether the recommended dose--designed for a respiratory flu--is insufficient for a systemic flu.

``This virus may be causing them more systemic infection so the usual recommended dose of antiviral is based on our experience on usual human influenza infections which only causes respiratory infection,'' he said.

Under the planned schedule for the Tamiflu trial, 150 milligrams of the medicine would be given twice a day for five days, Horby said. That compares with the recommended dose of 75 milligrams twice a day for five days, he said.

CNN reports that the bird flu vaccine is akin to putting "all your eggs in one basket."

Meanwhile, Sen. Frist urges his colleagues to support the $7.1B administration request, using, apparently, an argument he thought they would listen to....that the bird flu would be bad for the economy.

Yesterday, Sen. Schumer said Roche was talking about increasing Tamiflu production. Today, Roche confirmed those talks.

There are fears that the bird flu is spreading across the Crimea.

With the passing of the Autumn migration, Belgium is going Holland and Germany is relaxing its bird flu measures.

Greece urges EU cooperation on bird flu.

This article from South Africa is urging the nation to prepare for bird flu now, rather than wait. It cites many pandemic preperation efforts around the world.

Here's a high quality article from Gaithersburg, MD, where people are thinking through what they would do....telecommuting, drive through get the idea.

Here's an update from Bhutan on the bird flu prep.

Brunei is attending a bird flu meeting in China.

CIDRAP on HHS urging businesses to think about the bird flu.

CIDRAP on the news from China and Thailand.

Yesterday, we ran ProMed with a report that said that research which showed widespread immunity to H5N1 in China was unfounded. Effect Measure follows up with an analysis of this report.


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