Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May 23 Flu Update

CIDRAP has today's biggest news, and among the biggest flu stories yet. WHO is coming around to limited H2H in Indonesia. Even so, we're talking prolonged exposure, as in the other documented H2H case from 2004. I don't think efficient transmission has been broached yet.

"All confirmed cases in the cluster can be directly linked to close and prolonged exposure to a patient during a phase of severe illness," the WHO said. "Although human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, the search for a possible alternative source of exposure is continuing."

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As yet, the investigation by officials from the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Indonesian Ministry of Health has found no evidence of avian flu spreading in the community, the WHO said. Investigators are focusing their search on any additional cases among family members, other close contacts, or area residents, as well as on an alternative source such as infected animals or feces.

Effect Measure has an analysis of this story...and the logic that points to H2H, even if there are other possibilities that cannot be ruled out. Note the final parts of the story, where genetic sequences are available, but not yet posted.

Note: WHO says there is no evidence of a mutation.

Official WHO report on Indonesia.

ProMed on Indonesia (note mod comment from CP, who immediately minimizes H2H concerns.

Follow ups from yesterday's news blizzard:

CIDRAP on the US putting its Tamiflu stash in an undisclosed location.

Here's the speech Secretary Leavitt gave on the topic.

Effect Measure weighs in...FOR transparency, and against information vaccums that lead to speculation. Note that the natural speculation is that the containment strategy is about to be launched in Indonesia, but Effect Measure's sources say there is no triggering event--and it does seem to be a contained cluster.

CIDRAP also follows up on the apparently reactionary quarantine in Bucharest recently.

Inimaroiu was sharply criticized by Miorara Mantale, general administrator of Bucharest, over the quarantines. "There is no logical reason for putting 13,000 people under quarantine when only two farm yards have been contaminated," AFP quoted Mantale as saying. "If you had been a civil servant and not elected, you would have been fired."

The Romanian PM has also denied bird flu came there from the EU.

ProMed with a couple of articles from Romania.

In Iran, the Health Minister denies claims of H5N1 positive people.

Recombinomics has reports of a new family cluster in Indonesia.

Scientists are fighting back against the "dire" projections of the bird flu. Note this from Dr. Gary Butcher:

"It's a great story, a disease that can wipe out mankind as we know it," Dr. Gary Butcher, a University of Florida veterinarian specializing in avian diseases, told the newspaper. "Fortunately, the facts are contrary to what's being reported. This disease is going to fizzle out, be forgotten in the near future and be replaced by another 'potential worldwide threat.'"

Bangladesh is urging WHO to take better steps to protect health.

To protect against fake Tamiflu, there's a website by Roche to help people protect themselves. (Hint: buy at a pharmacy).

Here are trial results from an adjuvanted vaccine, via press release.

The Pan American Health Organization wil hold a flu conference on May 24 in DC.

Radio stations in Liberia spent three days broadcasting information on cholera and bird flu.

A lab in Ames, Iowa is preparing to play a role in the flu surveillance network.

The Mayor of Cagayan de Oro City in Philippines has formed a bird flu task force.

The Indonesian situation has caused the dollar to rise in Asia.

The Australian dollar weakened as well.

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