Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March 28 Flu Update

Bird flu hits Madhya Pradesh, India. Culling to begin immediately.

Six more areas in Jalgaon (India) are hit as well.

3 new cases of H5 found in Afghanistan.

ProMed on hundreds of dead birds in Pakistan, as well as news from Sweden, the Czech Republic, and positive cases in Papua.

Russia says it has contained an outbreak to a local area in southern Russia.

Australia offered Indonesia bird flu assistance. Indonesia said no because Australia was granting temporary visas to visitors from Papua.

PETA says to be safe from bird flu, be a vegetarian.

Helen Branswell on the Chinese "vaccine." Not much hope here.

“This is horse serum (blood),” Dr. David Fedson, a retired vaccine industry executive and virologist, said from his home in France.

“You couldn't get any regulator authority, certainly in a developed country, to allow any horse serum preparation to be used for anything. It would be with great reluctance that they would do that.”

The crisis has eased in Azerbaijan, and the experts are going home.

Same story in Iraq.

In Zambia, a health official reminds the people that poultry trade can also help to spread the disease, not just migratory birds.

Indian physician writes on the 1918 flu.

No bird flu in Pakistan, yet poultry sales are down 80%.

ProMed OIE reports from Jordan (first cases), Afghanistan, and Myanmar.

Effect Measure points out that the "cooked chicken is safe" argument is OK, except for people who have to handle the raw chicken.

Effect Measure has further analysis, as nature takes control, human control measures fail, and we lack the infrastructure to administer a vaccine, which we don't have.

In Egypt, the poorest farmers are refusing to participate in the culling.

ProMed with more on the disease in wildlife around the world.

Recombinomics reminds us that the Swedish mink expands the host range.

From the NY Times, via Gadsen AL, DENISE GRADY and GINA KOLATA attempt to determine the actual risk of bird flu going H2H.

Marc Siegel is back...fear of bird flu is the "sickest" thing.

So why did the ``flu hunter,'' world-renowned Tennessee virologist Robert Webster, say of bird flu on ABC that there are ``about even odds at this time for the virus to learn how to transmit human to human,'' and that ``society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die . . . I'm sorry if I'm making people a little frightened, but I feel it's my role.''

I'm sorry, Dr. Webster, but your role is to track influenza in the test tube, not to enter into broad speculation on national television. By your way of thinking, we should all be either building an escape rocket ship or killing every bird we see before it can kill us.

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