Thursday, June 08, 2006

June 7 Flu Update

A fresh outbreak has struck China, where an unknown number of birds are sick.

Indonesia has started a bird flu education program. It seems to me that this is very important, as people's response there has made fighting the disease even harder.

Things are quiet in India--no new cases since March.

UN and FAO are strengthening surveillance in Afghanistan. (I suspect there are things going on in that country we don't know, because the level of concern always seems out of proportion with what we have heard).

The EU has dropped plans to stockpile Tamiflu, on the objections of three members, who apparently objected due to financial reasons.

CIDRAP on the Vical DNA vaccine news from yesterday. Vaccine protected ferrets against H5N1 and also may be cross-protective.

"A vaccine that provides cross-protection against more than one strain of flu is important for addressing a pandemic flu threat because it is likely that the H5N1 virus could mutate before it becomes transmissible from human to human," said Richard Webby, PhD, of St Jude Children's Research Hospital, as quoted in a Vical release.

Secretary Leavitt says that states will be responsible for rationing vaccine in the beginning six months of a pandemic. Here's the "ration"ale.

"...this is a battle that'll be fought in thousands of communities simultaneously. What's working in one community may not work as well in another," Leavitt said in a joint interview with Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

Africa says it will need $760M over the next three years, much more than designated by the International Aid Fund.

Meanwhile, the EU and World Bank have agreed to a $70M bird flu assistance fund.

The World Bank says South Asia is at highest risk for bird flu.

The World Bank has also granted Armenia $6.25M to combat a pandemic.

Excellent Guardian (UK) article on where the bird flu came from and how it spread.

ProMed with a similar article--Industry caused bird flu, it says.

Roche says companies should be stockpiling Tamiflu for themselves.

Hong Kong participated in the APEC drill, noting it was primarily designed to study communication.

In Pennsylvania, the Banking Secretary has asked the financial institutions in the state to have a plan for pandemic flu.

Here's an article on pandemic planning in Ontario.

DeWitt, Arkansas is also preparing for the bird flu.

Good article from the San Jose Mercury News that says that the bird flu isn't just a public health issue--it could effect business as well.

Article in Malaysia gives readers the 411 on bird flu.

Recombinomics writes about mutations in the bird flu in Northern Sumatra--some reports did say that the disease was more in the nose than previous strains, which would appear to make it more H2H friendly.

Fear of bird flu is spiking sauerkraut sales in Germany.


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