Saturday, April 15, 2006

April 15 Flu Update

Quiet Holiday weekend. Have a good Easter.

Apparently, President Bush is ready to sign a pandemic plan. WaPo has the story. We can digest later, but it appears to include some strong actions. (This is a must read)

The Treasury Department is poised to sign agreements with other nations to produce currency if U.S. mints cannot operate. The Pentagon, anticipating difficulties acquiring supplies from the Far East, is considering stockpiling millions of latex gloves. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a drive-through medical exam to quickly assess patients who suspect they have been infected.

Helen Branswell is back again with another must read. The seminal question is this: its been 10 years since H5N1 was pandemic yet. Why? Does it mean it won't happen? (Branswell can even make a "no one knows" story interesting).

"I think that the best answer is that we do not understand the rules under which influenza pandemics form," says Taubenberger, the American scientist who led the team that found and sequenced the 1918 Spanish flu virus.

"And therefore we don't actually know if there are biological constraints limiting particular strains and particular subtypes, that they either can or cannot adapt to humans and cause pandemics," Taubenberger, chief of molecular pathology at the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, explains in an interview.

Here's a hint of things to come. A story in Scotland complains that anti-virals produced there are being shipped to other countries---even though Scotland has a shortage.

They're still coloring Easter Eggs in Switzerland, despite bird flu fears.

Qatar reports 6,000 negative tests on birds.

Northern Ireland is thinking about what it will do to fight bird flu in prisons.

Scottish columnist with rambling opus on bird flu.

Officials from Kodiak AK returned home from a flu summit.

A Dr. in Bahrain told people there that hot Middle Eastern summers would kill the bird flu virus.

Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania has told the poultry industry that their leadership is preparing the state for the bird flu.

Another warning on illegal Internet Tamiflu.

Guernsey says it has enough Tamiflu for 20,000 people.

ProMed with a set of OIE reports.

ProMed on the suspected (and now negative) Danish case.


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