Tuesday, February 07, 2006

February 7 Flu Update

Health officials are investigating a death in Southern Iraq of a young boy. He's a pigeon seller...obviously, the geography from the first two cases is signficant if this case is confirmed.

WHO Update on Iraq...includes the boy in Southern Iraq. Says massive culling is going on, and compensation plans are being developed.

ProMed on Iraq.

Recombinomics has reports of four deaths in Iraq, three of them in a family cluster he says demonstrates H2H.

With some justification, Recombinomics asks if bird flu is in Southern Iraq, what others countries is it in where it hasn't been reported.


WHO update on the recent outbreak of cases in Indonesia. Note that links to poultry are reported for each of the deaths.

According to this report, a seventh case has been reported in China, in the Fujian province.

CIDRAP on an important report. Researchers at St. Jude's have doubled the amount of genetic data available on avian flu.

"This information is a true gold mine, and we are inviting all of the miners to help us unlock the secrets of influenza," Webster commented in a St. Jude news release.

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The report briefly describes two experiments the authors conducted to compare the ability of the avian and human NS1 proteins to bind to certain proteins, called PDZ domains, involved in many host cell processes. The results indicated that the avian NS1 protein is much more apt to bind to PDZ domains than the human NS1 is.

"While the molecular consequences of these interactions are as yet unknown, it appears that avian NS1 proteins when introduced into human cells have the opportunity to bind to and disrupt many PDZ–domain protein mediated pathways that the human NS1 protein cannot," the authors write.

They suggest that disruption of these pathways may contribute to the high death rates in human H5N1 cases, though other genes and gene products are clearly involved. Further, they suggest, the NS proteins "may prove valuable as targets for antiviral therapy."

ProMed also cites a scientific study that says that the bird flu has been "circulating continuously in poultry in south-eastern China for a decade, scientists have found. A massive genetic analysis shows the virus has mainly been spread by poultry, but also that wild birds carried it from southeast China to Turkey."

Newspapers in Bulgaria are very critical of the government's handling of bird flu, and the government says not to panic.

Chinese chicken consumption is bouncing back after bird flu scare.

In Hong Kong, backyard chicken farms are now banned.

Meanwhile, stocks down in Hong Kong after bird flu confirmation.

Despite bird flu fears, Georgia and Turkey are easing border controls.

Roche has won the right to use the name Tamiflu in cyberspace.

Relenza is making a commercial comeback in Australia.

Effect Measure decided to take a look at how various bloggers played the story of the potential Lithuanian sailor case. Apparently, it was doubtful from the start.

Here's the ProMed mod comment.


The basis for considering avian influenza virus infection as a possible cause of death after a 48 hour illness of an Indian crew member of a ship which arrived in a Lithuanian port from Germany on 17 Jan 2006 is entirely unclear. Perhaps the ship had been supplied with avian influenza virus-contaminated chicken carcasses somewhere en route to Germany and Klaipeda, and the sailor, who was a cook, handled a contaminated carcass? Further information is awaited. - Mod.CP]
Dr. Gleeson lays out his mission in "My Duty to you."

You and I are in this for the long haul. We will go through lots of tension and craziness along the way. With any luck, I will be making these same reports of isolated B2H cases in 2009. The goal is to stay reasonable.

But, if something starts to break, look here. There will be lots of confusion, lots of conflicting reports, lots of rumor and even more panic; maybe weeks of bad stuff. I promise you that I will stay right here, analyzing the H5N1 news with as much stability as I can muster. There is much we do not yet know.

3 Comments:

At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes it seems like Dr. Niman thinks *everything* is a sign of H to H.

And while we're on the topic, why does WHO seem to think it is *less* scary to claim this thing has a 17 day incubation period than to admit that it may spread human to human via close contact in short chains of spread?

 
At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes it seems like Dr. Niman thinks *everything* is a sign of H to H.

And while we're on the topic, why does WHO seem to think it is *less* scary to claim this thing has a 17 day incubation period than to admit that it may spread human to human via close contact in short chains of spread?

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Its true that Dr. Niman is looking to see H2H everywhere. I would add this, though...he presents a nice compliment to some officials, who seem to not want to see H2H anywhere.

 

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