Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 12 Flu Update

More on the Indonesian family that saw the flu mutation. Apparently, the virus mutated rapidly even between family members. CIDRAP reports.

The magazine says that 21 mutations were identified in a virus from the father of the 10-year-old boy, involving seven of the virus's eight genes, suggesting that the virus was evolving rapidly as it spread. In addition, from one to four mutations were found in viruses collected from five other patients.

The story says one of the mutations confers resistance to the antiviral drug amantadine, a finding not reported by the WHO.

However, the virus did not spread beyond the extended family, as the article notes. "Many of the genetic changes did not result in the use of different amino acids by the virus," the story says. "And there were no amino-acid changes in key receptor binding sites known to affect pathogenicity and transmissibility."

Official WHO report. Many of you are not going to believe this next phrase.

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

Frozen poultry was smuggled into the US--as far as Detroit--from areas in China known to have bird flu. It was intercepted, and investigations are now underway.

Indonesian vets say they need a uniform approach to fighting the bird flu.

The Indonesian Veterinarians Association (PDHI) said the government erred by allowing regional administrations and their officials to take different approaches to dealing with infected fowl.

"Such a variety of approaches has proven to be ineffective because it allowed the virus to reemerge in regions that already culled their sick chickens," PDHI chairman Budi Tri Akoso told reporters ahead of the 15th national congress of veterinarians, held from Tuesday to Thursday in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta

First New York, now London. Mayor Livingstone releases flu plan.

A Rochester NY doc writes about an alarming conversation he had with a colleague involved in the pandemic preparation system. He proposes a car insurance metaphor....

While the chance of a serious pandemic is not high, less than one in three and perhaps much less than that, the consequences of a pandemic for which we are unprepared would be catastrophic. I consider preparing for a possible pandemic to be like buying car insurance, something I hope I will never need but, nevertheless, would be foolish to not have. We may have only a few weeks notice of a pandemic and preparation is best done now. Hoarding and shortages will undoubtedly occur at the first announcement, making needed supplies impossible to get.

French and American scientists ran a scientific model, and say that rapid detection and culling is the best way to protect against the spread of the bird flu.

Thailand is reopening its bird flu centre with cool weather on the way.

A leading virologist from New Zealand says more research is needed into anti-virals.

If it isn't one thing, its another. Vietnam says bird flu under control, but foot and mouth now a problem.

A Hungarian paper says that some poultry were ground to death while alive during culling operations.

In Mississippi, a presentation was done to educate the public on preparing for the bird flu.

Federal money has arrived in West Virginia and Oregon.


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