Saturday, January 07, 2006

January 7 Flu Update--WHO Confirms Turkey

The Human Toll:

This is Marifet Kocyigit, who lost three children to bird flu.

WHO has confirmed--Turkish youngsters confirmed to be H5N1 deaths.

WHO also confirmed that two hospitalized children are also H5N1+.

Direct link to WHO report.

To date, all evidence indicates that patients have acquired their infections following close contact with diseased poultry. Contact between people and poultry has likely increased during the present cold weather, when the custom among many rural households is to bring poultry into their homes. Tests have shown that the virus can survive in bird faeces for at least 35 days at low temperatures (4oC).

ProMed is reporting 32 hospitalized cases in Turkey--a number it refers to as escalating. It notes:

It may be that as suggested above that mortality in children is a consequence of the practise in remote localities in Turkey of rearing domestic fowl in small hen houses only accessible to children, and that this circumstance does not necessarily signify a change in virulence or transmissibility of the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

Recombinomics meanwhile has reports that the number is actually 50.

More ProMed news from Turkey.

Recombinomics also notes there were sick birds in Turkey in October 2005, and culling was not done, increasing the chances for recombination.

CTV of Canada notes that WHO officials are watching closely for H2H.

The number of closely related incidents of bird flu is unprecedented. Normally, human cases are isolated, with just two simultaneous cases at the most.

"This is unusual, and the WHO has to ask themselves whether something has changed," said Prof. Earl Brown, from the University of Ottawa.

"Has the virus changed, or is it something to do with the people in Turkey and their immune systems, or something regional with respect to people?"

Because of initial errors in the lab testing, which did not indicate the virus to be H5N1, measures for controlling the disease might have been delayed.

Here's a report directly from Turkey, briefly saying that doctors and staff are working hard, and that no one was on a ventilator at the time of the writing. The quote below is fodder for why Effect Measure fears weak cases are being missed.

Other patients coming with the suspicion of bird flu were treated as out-patients because they were diagnosed with no bird flu virus and there was no need to take them in.

Roche is sending 100,ooo packs of Tamiflu to Turkey.

Effect Measure hopes WHO and EC understand the need for transparency to build trust as they travel to Turkey.

Nearby, Recombinomics has news of potential cases in humans and birds in Georgia.

You don't want to be in prison in New Zealand if the bird flu hits--but this points up an overlooked issue in a serious pandemic.

CIDRAP tells us the US government has issued a guide on what families can do to prepare for the bird flu.

WaPO on the same story.

Here's a direct link to the guide.

Back in forgotten Asia, the Chinese have closed down a major poultry market in Sichuan. ProMed notes here that the migratory bird theory is still a theory.

American Greetings and Hallmark have removed feathers from greeting cards--as PR in response to the bird flu.


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