Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April 11 Flu Update

Sorry we're late today. Things seemed to conspire against me (including there being a huge amount of news)....

A 41F in Southern China is being tested for bird flu after reporting with symptoms.

A poultry worker in Indonesia is sick with the bird flu.

There's also a 12th case in Egypt.

An additional non-fatal human case in Azerbaijan has been identified retrospectively.

CIDRAP with the news from around the world.

CIDRAP looks at FAO reports, with an eye on the situation in Myanmar.

Locals says dead sparrows in Japan are unlikely to have bird flu.

Seven polutry farmers in India have committed suicide because of bird flu impact on business.

Perhaps today's biggest news...New Scientists is questioning how Britain drew samples to develop negative tests on birds there, calling into question the extent of bird flu in the UK.

Effect Measure blog the New Scientist story.

At the same time, the British papers are full of the news that the bird died elsewhere and floated to the UK, making it a "one off" occurence.

Here's a new perspective....wetlands restoration and its role in the bird flu.

Anthony Fauci on MSNBC tries to inoculate (sorry) the public against a strong reaction to the first time an H5N1 bird is found in the US.

UN warns against a growing complacency in Asia.

The US begins to study low dose vaccines.

USA Today looks ahead to the day when bird flu is found in US, and predicts that poultry sales will take a hit. Article talks about cooking chicken and about industry protection to the bird flu.

Classic USA Today Factoid collection.

This story runs every two weeks it seems. "EU says Europe fully prepared for bird flu."

A Singapore based company continues to take its flu test to market.

Reuters on Chinese chicken markets...suffice it to say that the locals (like many people will daily exposure to a risk) are less worried than you'd think.

A woman who runs the tiny convenience store next to the feed depot by the market's exit feels the same way. "The chickens aren't afraid, so why should we be?"
Same for Indonesian farmers....

"If I die from bird flu, that is my destiny. But if I have to wear shoes, gloves and masks, my work becomes slow and my impatient customers will go somewhere else," he said while cleaning the guts of a chicken with his bare hands. "If that happens, I'll be dead," said the 28 year-old Jamal, who has worked at a market itn a Surabaya slum for a decade.

Report on how the bird flu has hit the Polish Poultry Industry.

IMF predicts major impact on world economy if pandemic hits. Great descriptive phrase: "Low probability, high impact."

Russian scientists say they are developing an oral flu vaccine.

The Scottish executive says it will not release any more flu results until the end of the week.

As things quiet down in France, the country eases flu rules.

Brazil is announcing new bird flu measures.

Toronto says it would vaccinate all residents against bird flu, but probably after the first wave hits.

Scotland was going to crack down on noisy, annoying seagulls, but now won't since they are afraid their volunteers will get bird flu.

A Maryland health educator says bird flu is serious, but no reason to panic (I swear, when anyone says it is time to panic, it will be my lead story).

In Fort Morgan, CO, local health officials discuss quarantines and other pandemic responses.

Algeria is producing Tamiflu.

The BBC looks back at how Germany reacted to its first H5N1 bird.

A while ago we had a story on a study that said even an imperfect flu vaccine would help fight a pandemic. CIDRAP has a good analysis of that idea.

"A moderately effective vaccine would work if you could get it into enough people," said Poland, who directs the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology. "This current vaccine, if we used the whole world manufacturing capacity, offers enough doses for somewhere around 37.5 million people. So that's not an answer." He added that it may be necessary to make more than one vaccine, given the different clades (families) of H5N1 virus that have emerged.

Poland also said no one knows how contagious the next pandemic virus will be. "My understanding is that the estimated R number for the 1918 pandemic was right around 3," higher than the maximum of 2.4 used in the study, he said. "You wonder now if we truly have a novel subtype that's easily transmissible, given the travel we have, if we wouldn't have higher numbers. The average family is bigger than two people."

Effect Measure looks at Britain's high level dispute over the pandemic.

The infected swan is being labeled an "isolated case."Maybe. But highly improbable. And if I were a resident of the UK I would much rather authorities erred on the side of caution than on the side of optimism.

ProMed summarizes worldwide OIE reports.


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