Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January 31 Flu Update

The Army says it will be watching--but little else--to see if troops are encountering bird flu in Iraq.

The EU is rushing one of its bird flu experts to Iraq.

There is a strong liklihood of a 3rd case in Iraq.

Iraq says it is treating 12 potential cases.

Recombinomics notes this cluster and writes on the potential H2H implications.

Dr. Gleeson has his response, which seems reasonable.

We can expect to see more isolated cases from Indonesia to China and, now, west to the Middle East simply because the virus has moved that far. These are not clusters. If we start to see a cluster of infected humans who do not live with chickens or infected health care workers, then we will have a different story. But for now, these cases are to be expected.
WHO on Iraq. Note that there is identified exposure to birds for the girl, but her uncle's exposure route is "under investigation."

Helen Branswell on the case in Iraq: "a most unwelcome twist."

Apparently, the Iraqi people, who have seen much misery, are not reacting strongly to the flu.

The Iraqi government says it has acquired 10,000 doses of "vaccine."

This report says the Iraqis have culled 500,,000 birds over the last two days to try and contain the outbreak.

Effect Measure on the bird flu in Iraq: "Nature's terrorist."

ProMed on Iraq. Those of you who have been critical of the mod are going to love this comment, though she does, IMO, raise one good question.

[It has been suggested that the disease situation in Iraq is exceptional in that suspected human cases have been reported in the absence of prior reports of disease in poultry. However, the evidence for this is contradictory. A previous article on the Iraq situation states both that: "There have been no confirmed cases of [bird flu] in Iraq," and then later that: "The girl had a history of exposure to diseased birds".

Elsewhere (in a Canadian Press article by Helen Brancewell, it is reported that: "The avian influenza-infected girl died after developing severe pneumonia in the Kurdistan village of Raniya, about100 kilometres south of the Turkish border and just 24 kilometres west of the border with Iran. She had an aortic aneurysm and a history of cardiac problems. The girl's mother rejected the bird flu diagnosis, but acknowledged that a number of her chickens hadmysteriously died before her daughter's death.

Further information is awaited. - Mod.CP]

(Yes, I know she spelled Branswell wrong)

ProMed on Cyprus and Iraq.

The world has seen its 160th known case of bird flu, with 85 deaths.

Greece says it is ready for the bird flu.

Britain says it will allow CO2 to be used in culling birds, if flu hits.

CDC gives a reality check on the situation in the US. Congress funded less than 50% of the President's request, the US is trying to triple its Tamiflu order, and the CDC director says we are years away from having enough medicine to fight a pandemic.

WebMd on the Pittsburgh activated flu virus, which provides protection even if there is a mutation.

As if on cue, in comes Dr. David Shay, who says the most likely first defense would not be medical--it would be social, ie, cancelling public gatherings.

Experts such as Shay are concerned that many people, including elected officials, still do not fully appreciate that there is no good medical defense against pandemic flu.

Marc Siegel is back, here in WaPo, with his virus-skeptic views. He also has a new book out.

Kirsty Duncan weighs in now, she of the highly dramatic hunt for the 1918 virus in the tundra. She's noting potential business losses, heavy on 1918 parallels.

The EU is the next to allow Tamiflu for children.

Dr. Gleeson also writes about travelling in foreign countries, especially one with endemic bird flu.

If you are in a country where the virus is endemic, have an exit strategy. If a cluster is reported in the country you are visiting, you may have only a very few hours to get out of the country. Face it, most countries will stop accepting flights from countries with an H2H cluster. By an exit strategy, I mean know the flight schedule of planes to anywhere safe and be psychologically prepared to go to the airport without packing.

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