Friday, May 19, 2006

May 19 Flu Update

OK, maybe we overreacted a little---this pigs in Indonesia are now said to be negative.

Promed notes (see mod comment) that official OIE lab confirmation would be appreciated.

However, as CIDRAP notes, there's been another death in Indonesia, this time outside the cluster.

Speaking of the cluster, Helen Branswell is back, with the idea that there is something genetic about that family (and not a mutation in the virus) that made the family get sick and not the people in their area.

News that six members of one family have been confirmed to have contracted the virus (another likely had it but died without being tested) inevitably points suspicion to some genetic feature of this family's make-up that rendered its members more vulnerable than others in their village in the Karo district of North Sumatra.

"It makes perfect sense. It would not surprise us at all," said Dr. Richard Webby, an influenza virologist at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Effect Measure takes an important look an Indonesia, which he feels is showing a lack of competence and transparency on the bird flu.

This is no longer a matter that can be made subordinate to national pride, diplomatic pique or a habit of passive aggression by bureaucrats. The Indonesians need to feel the heat of the international community because their behavior is a danger to their own people and to everyone else. Many countries have been overwhelmed by the bird flu crisis and have thrown their doors open to international experts. Time for Indonesia to do likewise and act as a responsible and civilized member of the community of nations.

WHO has issued some new recommendations for bird flu--including "dual antiviral therapy" in some cases.

"This is the first time we clearly state the possibility of dual therapy to be considered in case you are facing a H5N1 outbreak," Shindo, who advised hospitals in eastern Turkey during the country's outbreak last January, told Reuters.

"Even if you are in the middle of an outbreak, dual therapy can do good. You can even start at the early stage of illness," the Japanese doctor added.

The story from Indonesia is the same--no sign of a mutation, but also no plausible explanation for the family cluster.

Tests show bird flu is in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.

FAO says it needs $300M to fight the bird flu--double what it thought it needed a couple of months ago.

While China says it hasn't had an outbreak in 80 days, a minister says it should still remain vigilant.

The Safe America Foundation in Chicago has released its "Prepared. Not Scared" campaign.'

The UN has a new Pandemic Coordinator.

CIDRAP on FAO and Denmark.

GSW Worldwide won a $30M contract to do advertising for Tamiflu.

Recombinomics says onset dates are being withheld by WHO.


At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Sumatran pig tests, notice that swabbing for live virus is different from a blood test, that finds antibodies from a prior infection.


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