Thursday, May 11, 2006

May 10 Flu Update

New York Times says that the bird migration from Africa to Europe has occurred....without the predicted bird flu outbreak. More momentum moves away from the migratory bird theory...

"Is it like Y2K, where also nothing happened?" asked Juan Lubroth, a senior veterinary official at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, referring to the expected computer failures that did not materialize as 1999 turned to 2000. "Perhaps it is because it was not as bad as we feared, or perhaps it is because people took the right measures."

Still, he and others say, the lack of wild bird cases in Europe only underscores how little is understood about the virus. And scientists warn that it could return to Europe.

"Maybe we will be lucky and this virus will just die out in the wild," Mr. Lubroth said. "But maybe it will come back strong next year. We just don't have the answers."

The French report success with a vaccine, but....

"This vaccine is more successful appearing than the last one that was published but it's not an overwhelming immunological response and we don't know if it works against cross strains," said Dr. Marc Siegel, author of Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic and clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine. "This has potential but it's not an automatic problem-solver."
Nick Zamiska is also back in the Wall Street Journal with more medicine news...this time, that some generics may be just as effective as Tamiflu. (There has been to and fro on this issue for sometime).

The study, which will appear in a coming issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, reports that the vast majority of strains of the deadly avian-influenza virus, H5N1, found in China and Indonesia would respond to the drugs, known as amantadine and rimantadine. The research further erodes the conventional wisdom that these older drugs are useless against bird flu in humans. It raises the possibility that they may be employed selectively alongside Tamiflu, made by the Swiss drug company Roche Holding AG, to treat victims of the virus and
to bolster government stockpiles of antiviral drugs.

Here's an interesting angle to the bird flu in blood story from a few days ago. Does that mean that H5N1 might be able to have a blood test--much easier than the current method of testing respiratory secretions.


Six people in Egypt were tested for bird flu, but were negative.

Recombinomics notes more bird flu in Siberia.

State health departments had to answer public calls on the bird flu after Fatal Contact yesterday.

US officials also went on Nightline (on ABC, where the show aired) to seperate fact from fiction.

Pinellas County (FL) is also putting out the "don't panic" message following Fatal Contact.

Thai editorial on bird flu..kind of hard to summarize.

Pakistan now has bird flu vaccine ready for use in poultry.

Vietnam has announced the same thing.

Nigeria says the spread of bird flu has slowed there.

Greene County (IN) is preparing for the bird flu.

Here's another similar story from Indiana.

Generally, I have avoided reviews of Fatal Contact. But here's one from CIDRAP, which says credible information was in the mix.


Effect Measure on the "gut transmission" news, saying that a virus that would invade through routes other than the lungs raises many "red flags."

OIE reports via ProMed from Germany and Denmark.

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