Monday, April 03, 2006

April 3 Flu Update

A computer model from Los Alamos tells us what many have already known. If a pandemic starts, we're in big trouble. The model says that social controls (quarantines, closing schools, etc), won't stop a pandemic, though they might slow one up long enough to deploy medicine and vaccines. This is really interesting: the study says even a poorly matched vaccine is better in terms of reducing infective time in people, thereby reducing the number of people they infect.

"Our model suggests that the rapid production and distribution of vaccines, even if poorly matched to circulating strains, could significantly slow disease spread and limit the number ill to less than 10 percent of the population, particularly if children are preferentially vaccinated," the team at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Washington wrote.

Catherine Macken of Los Alamos said the computer model used in the study provided a surprising finding -- using a weak vaccine in many people would be better than trying to vaccinate a smaller number of people with a more effective dose.

The New Scientist read this, and agrees. Stockpile vaccines now. They note that the current US plan is to accept that for the first six months, we are solely reliant on social measures.

Fourth human case in Egypt is confirmed.

CIDRAP notes that's four deaths, and local officials say there have been eight.

WHO update on Egypt.

ProMed on Egypt.

Vietnam was once ground zero for flu, but today is bird flu free in 2006. Story talks about how.

In Manila, some people are predicting that poultry farmers will resist anti flu measures.

But some observers are not too optimistic that such measures would be carried out effectively. As it is, Gil Nicolas, spokesman of the National Federation of Gamefowl Breeders (NFGB), predicts “strong resistance” to culling because of the breeders’ attachment to their game fowls.
Short Story on Adams County preparing for bird flu using the National Incident Management System.

Russia's chief doctor says the most pessimistic predictions have come true, yet the worst is over.

A large bird die-off has been cleared of bird flu in Pakistan.

Pakistan is getting ready for bird flu, though there is said to be no human cases there. In the meantime, something called Oseflu has been turned over.

The USDA has asked to be notified if any large scale bird die-offs occur.

In Britain there was a lot of controversey over their stark bird flu scenario. This report says it didn't go far enough.

There is going to be an International Migratory Bird Day to help resurrect the bird from its negative publicity.

A company in Bangladesh is making generic Tamiflu--and exporting it.

Today's Effect Measure. Fear, fear of fear, etc. When is something a fair warning and when is it instilling fear?

Recombinomics has looked at some of the sequences which finally were released in China.

However, these isolates are quite distinct from other H5N1 sequences in China and elsewhere.

Thus, at this time there are four distinct H5N1's causing fatal human infections which will likely require custom pandemic vaccines. Thus, as H5N1 evolves, the distance between vaccines under development and new versions of H5N1 cause human infections is increasing.

Recombinomics also notes that the April 1 penguin/Antartica report may have been a hoax.


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