Tuesday, January 17, 2006

January 17 Flu Update

Four dead, 21 sick in total, one of which is getting sicker. The toll continues in Turkey.

Reuters on Turkey.

In Indonesia, a three year old boy died of flu, shortly after his sister died in a lab confirmed case.

This story is inevitable...why the children? Is it contact with the birds, or something else? Buried in the story, note this:

With Turks complaining of symptoms still checking into hospitals, there were concerns the virus might still be spreading to people despite the precautionary slaughter of nearly 1 million domestic fowl.

There's also a new case in East China, a 35M.

From the International Donors Conference, the EU and Roche have increased their pledged committment.

The Russians have announced a $40M plan to fight bird flu.

I don't understand why news like this doesn't prompt investment in stopping the flu in Asia, but US insurers today said they could lose $133B in a pandemic.

In New Zealand, 1.4m people will get a letter on preparing for the bird flu in their mail box.

Cyprus seeks more drugs and to calm fears down, at the same time.

World Bank President speaks on bird flu.

Company advertises information on pandemic survival for business, from a risk management perspective.

In New Zealand, the central bank received backpacks with flu supplies.'

Bloomberg has this story, that says the drive for better flu vaccines might improve seasonal flu vaccines, too, which have not been much of a priority to date.

The Times (UK) asks if a pandemic is the circumstance that warrants breaking a flu drug patent.

How the flu scare is effect poultry shops in New Jersey...good local story.

Effect Measure has a very educational first start on explaining how a flu virus works. Dense, but if I can read it, so can you.


At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



A news release about a just published article in the American Journal of Pathology (issue of January 16, 2006) has some mildly unsettling news. Dutch researchers have shown systemic spread of H5N1 in domestic cats

Cases of H5N1 in tigers and leopards in Thailand had already been reported ), although cats don't usually get influenza.

Newswires are also carrying a report of another paper by the same group appearing almost simultaneously in the journal Science.

The team infected three laboratory cats with H5N1 taken from a human case in Vietnam. All got very sick with flu symptoms, and post mortems showed they had the same lung damage as people.

Cats given a human flu virus, H3N2, stayed healthy. Other cats studied caught H5N1 by eating infected birds, while two healthy cats housed with the sick animals caught the disease, showing it spreads among cats.

The results mean pet cats might give people H5N1 after eating one of the many wild birds or poultry still infected across East Asia. But more worrying than cats spreading the existing virus, says Kuiken, is how cats might change its evolution.

Writing in Science, the researchers say: "The implications are that, during H5N1 virus outbreaks, domestic cats are at risk of disease or death from H5N1 virus infection, either due to feeding on infected poultry or wild birds, or due to contact with infected cats.

"Second, the role of cats in the spread of H5N1 virus between poultry farms, and from poultry to humans needs to be re-assessed.

"Third, cats may form an opportunity for this avian virus to adapt to mammals, thereby increasing the risk of a human influenza pandemic."

Professor John Oxford, an expert in virology at Queen Mary College, London, told BBC News Online the study was "very significant and slightly alarming".



Meanwhile, from the limited available information, ANIMAL PEOPLE projects that Asia curently consumes about four million cats. (not a scientific study)



In most Western cultures, cats are rarely eaten outside of extremely desperate times. However, cat meat is sometimes used to prepare regional dishes in some areas of China and Korea. Some outrage has been generated when cats have been confused with the Civet cat (also sometimes called a "bearcat"), an Asian animal related to the mongoose that slightly resembles the domestic cat and is occasionally used as a source of human food. (Dejavu?)

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Interesting news, eh? Two things...first, I have actually been corrected when I called a civet a cat (it wasn't you, was it?). And, if we have to start culling cats, we will get a taste of what its like to cull birds in Asia in an emotional sense.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


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