Saturday, July 29, 2006

July 28 Flu Update

The big news today is that there are 11 more suspected human cases in Phichit, Thailand, where there has already been one death. Obviously, this is a big group, and if confirmed, people will be looking for clusters. Warning: with the death, panic and fear could be a possible cause. ProMed reports:

11 more suspected bird flu cases were reported in Thailand's lower northern province of Phichit on Thu 27 Jul 2006. Dr. Prajak Wattanakul, head of the Phichit Provincial Public Health Office, said that the 11 patients, mostly children aged between 4-14, are suspected of being infected with avian influenza virus and were admitted to 5 different hospitals in the province on Thu 27 Jul 2006. Some of them had contact with dead poultry and others live in areas where a large number of fowl died of unknown causes.
Thailand says it will begin to use Tamiflu in suspected flu cases prior to actual lab confirmation.

This local story says there are actually 22 suspected cases. It also says the Thai government is afraid that Tamiflu will be overused and a resistant strain will emerge.

CIDRAP on Thailand and Laos. Says there are reports of 44 suspected cases.

ProMed on Thailand and Laos.

Recombinomics on Thailand.

The 44 suspect cases described above in Thailand is alarming, especially in view of past surveillance. H5N1 has now also been acknowledged in neighboring Laos. In February, H5N1 was detected in both Laos and Malaysia, but neither country, nor neighboring countries file mandatory OIE reports.

Questions of surveillance have been raised for over two years, and the failure to monitor and report may now be manifesting itself in significant human infections and spread.

We've often wondered what would happen if....people looked for the bird flu. In Indonesia, vets have been looking--hard--for new outbreaks.

In just six months, teams of veterinarians marching along dusty, twisting paths in the remote villages of this sprawling country have uncovered more flu outbreaks among birds than experts had even imagined.

"It's still just the tip of the iceberg," said Jeff Mariner, an animal health expert from Tufts University who has been working with the effort since it began in January.


"This is presently the best option because it can detect that our reporting is very weak," said Elly Sudiana, who oversees the program for the Ministry of Agriculture. "So, through this ... early detection can be improved and response can be improved."

India is preparing to declare itself bird flu free.

India is also declaring that Asia needs $500M more to fight the bird flu.

Asian countries have signed the "Delhi Declaration." This will outline the regional cooperation envisioned to fight the bird flu.

UN confirms bird flu on Laotian farm.

Interesting article. Claims that recent scientific research says that the real killer of the 1918 flu might have been undetected tuberculosis.

Link to the direct report.

International Medical Corps' Director of Evidence-Based Research, is traveling to Mongolia, China, Thailand, and the surrounding Mekong countries to meet with various UNICEF country teams focusing on Avian Influenza research and behavioral change plans.

Wildlife monitoring will be taking place in Chattanooga.

Effect Measure comments on a report that the Indonesians are nearly bragging (my perception) about having bird flu isolates and keeping them for their own research. By the way, their own secret research says there is no human adaptability going on.

Amador County, CA, will hold a pandemic exercise.

Hempstead County, AR, is doing bird flu planning.

CIDRAP reports on the duck hunter study from earlier in the week.


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