Monday, May 01, 2006

May 1 Flu Update

CIDRAP reports on a death in Indonesia which is strongly suspected to be bird flu, but is not confirmed.

USA Today with major story on bird flu preparation in business.

Interesting question posed by the New York Times...in a pandemic, could you use bird vaccines on people if real vaccine was in short supply. Note that the word "aghast" was used to describe the response for scientists contacted.

A ninth poultry farm in Pakistan has been hit.

In the history of this pandemic, Qinghai has an important place. An enormous fresh water lake in the middle of China, it is a major migratory stop over and was home to massive numbers of birds dying off last May. A wild goose there is now H5N1 positive.

Recombinomics on Qinghai, tracing the flu literally from there across continents.

Lancaster PA says the bird flu might be overblown. "There is no need for panic, yet."

Chemical and Engineering News on how to avoid shikmic acid in the manufacture of Tamiflu.

ProMed continues to track the story of migratory birds vs. smuggled birds in causing the bird flu...three articles about smuggled birds.

Helen Branswell with a story on some of the computer models. She notes (correctly) that there will be substantial pressure to limit air travel in a pandemic. Yet...


"Even large and widely enforced travel restrictions would usually delay epidemic peaks by only a few days," the authors wrote in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine. "To have a major impact, restrictions would have to be almost total and almost instantaneous."

A leading U.S. modelling expert said the findings confirm work he and other groups have shown - that flu cannot be contained this way.

"It spreads so fast and the epidemics are so explosive that (in spite of) almost anything you do, cases are going to get through unless you're incredibly - unrealistically - effective at . . . shutting down transportation," said Ira Longini of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington.


A new study says spray inoculations might be more effective than injections in children under 5.

This isn't news per se (OK, it isn't news), but here's a nice, scientific recap of how the bird flu works to infect cells.

The Dutch have lifted their bird flu restrictions....

as have the Scots.

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