Sunday, January 22, 2006

January 22nd Flu Update

An apparent scare came and went today. A French woman returned ill from a trip to Turkey. Later, it was determined she did not have H5N1 (I don't think one of these traveller scares has turned out positive yet.

The cull count is well over 1 million in Turkey.

Algeria is preparing to spend $111M to protect itself against bird flu.

In Turkey, companies are moving to novel marketing techniques to get people to eat chicken--like giving it away for free.

Reports say that bird flu fears are not reducing travel around the Asian Holidays, including the upcoming Chinese New Year.

An Australian professor is criticizing New Zealand for over-reacting to the bird flu. (I have to admit that the Kiwis have taken pandemic planning farther than most others. Their remote island quarantine plan had a reality show feel to it. Still, they might be the ones laughing in the end).

Another Kiwi expert says the preperation "makes sense."

Newsweek writes on what the spread of flu to Turkey means...noting its "too soon" to say that H5N1 was a false alarm.

The Royal College of Surgeons (UK) hosted a flu summit to try and "shock" British business into preparing for a pandemic.

Meanwhile, in Canada, companies seem to be doing better.

Dr. Seth Berkley writes in Newsweek that the fight for the flu vaccine is similar to the fight for an AIDS vaccine--in which he is involved. Among his recommendations is limited liabitity protection. Note article title: "we're running out of time."

In Alaska, they are testing wild birds for the bird flu. (This is the kind of thing that makes complete sense to me).

In Danbury, CT, the hospital is prepared if the bird flu hits.

New Zealand article containing Q&A on a pandemic. This is the first time I have seen this question---can you drink water of rainwater tanks during a pandemic?

Recombinomics exhaustively details the timeline around the family clusters in Turkey. Naturally, this is seen as evidence of H2H. Judge for yourself.

Crofsblogs on an article about Romania tightening border patrols.

Finally, tonight, I'm relinking to the WHO Fact Sheet that came out Friday. I read it all last night, and its a must read for anyone looking for an update on the current situation. Pneumonia is virtually always present.

One feature seen in many patients is the development of manifestations in the lower respiratory tract early in the illness. Many patients have symptoms in the lower respiratory tract when they first seek treatment. On present evidence, difficulty in breathing develops around 5 days following the first symptoms. Respiratory distress, a hoarse voice, and a crackling sound when inhaling are commonly seen. Sputum production is variable and sometimes bloody. Most recently, blood-tinted respiratory secretions have been observed in Turkey. Almost all patients develop pneumonia. During the Hong Kong outbreak, all severely ill patients had primary viral pneumonia, which did not respond to antibiotics. Limited data on patients in the current outbreak indicate the presence of a primary viral pneumonia in H5N1, usually without microbiological evidence of bacterial supra-infection at presentation. Turkish clinicians have also reported pneumonia as a consistent feature in severe cases; as elsewhere, these patients did not respond to treatment with antibiotics.


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