Saturday, April 08, 2006

April 7 Flu Update

Absolute must read from Effect Measure. Reviews a journal article that looks at mortality rates for influenza--finding years in which seasonal flu was actually more deadly than a pandemic strain.

A well-known flu researcher said to me recently he thought knew more about flu 20 years ago than he does now. With the publication of this paper, we might say we also know less about seasonal influenza now than we did last month.

The two sisters (18 mos and 6 yrs) in Egypt will survive the bird flu.

There's an eighth case in birds in the Czech Republic.

ProMed has an update from Scotland, but also from Nigeria, where bird flu has landed in Lagos, in a backyard farm and in a commercial farm.

This is what happens. Scottish grocers are under pressure for allegedly cancelling orders from Scottish poultry producers after the bird flu hit. (Note the story says nine of 14 birds tested were negative.)

And there were claims that on Thursday - the day after it first emerged Scotland could be suffering a possible outbreak - a number of major supermarkets cancelled orders of chicken from a Scottish supplier for this weekend. All the supermarkets contacted by The Scotsman denied the claim.
More updated testing news from the BBC.

Britain "holding its breath" (at least they didn't say "breathless") awaiting test results.

Crisis Commitee in Portsmouth meets, says no crisis yet.

Effect Measure says to note the stiff upper lip in Britain.

News4 in Britain has bird flu dos and don'ts.

The FDA issued guidelines for bird flu testing that should help to detect flu faster.

FAO points to Vietnam, says bird flu fight can be won.

From Britain, the Chelsea Manager says the bird flu has given him perspective on the pressures of Premier League football.

"I am serious. You are laughing but I am serious. I am more scared of the bird flu than football. What is football compared with life? A swan with bird flu, for me, that is the drama of the last two days. I have to buy some masks and stuff. I am serious. Maybe for my team as well."
In Britain, a conservation committee says that the bird flu in Scotland validates its position on the flu issue.

A British vet authority says issues a policy paper on bird flu in cats and other mammals. Bottom line: risk is from eating birds, and non-avian animals are not reservoirs.

Ansell (a company specializing in "barriers" like protective clothing and masks, etc), has flu recommendations for ag and healthcare.

Gilead stock recommendations are up based on HIV and Tamiflu franchises.

Pakistan says no human cases there.

Recombinomics continues to argue that H5N1 is moving closer to human transmission. Note this based on our recent "deep lung" conversations.

Recent experiments measuring binding of H5N1 to cells of the upper and lower respiratory tract also showed that the tested Hong Kong isolate could bind to both cell types, also suggesting that such properties would increase transmission to humans. This isolate was also cultured on MDCK cells.

Recombinomics says now that the bird flu is in Lagos, its in the East Atlantic Flyway.

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