Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 5 Flu Update

An article in Nature says that bird flu may have entered Nigeria three times, making it more efficient than many people had thought. As for the migratory bird debate...

"We think the most likely explanation is that it came by migratory birds, but we can't exclude the other possibilities," said Albert Osterhaus of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, an author of the paper.


The Chinese say that a recent bird flu outbreak has been contained.

A girl in Thailand had suspicious symptoms, which the government now says were not H5N1. Nonetheless, 200 chickens were culled.

The 31M from China who contracted bird flu on June 15th is doing well, according to reports.

Canada finally rule out bird flu from its backyard flock.

CIDRAP reports that HHS says its has enough vaccine for 4 million people and enough antivirals for 6.3 million. 15 million more courses of Tamiflu are expected by December. Report also cites efforts on cell-based vaccines.


Here's a direct link to the HHS report.

Russia says it will soon have a bird vaccine that can be distributed with food and water.

OIE report from Hungary says that H5N1 geese were located in area of heavy commercial poultry production.


Maryland is testing geese for bird flu.

Effect Measure on bird flu immunity...legal immunity, this time for respirator manufacturers.

Wichita Falls just got a $29,000 grant to fight the bird flu.

Baxter is continuing work on its bird flu vaccine.

A budget fight in New York State is delaying the stockpiling of Tamiflu.

John Bersia, from the Orlando Sentinel was surprised recently when he was on a flight in Turkey, and was told that chicken would not be served due to bird flu concerns. At first he was shocked, and then he thought maybe caution was advisable. Here's the interesting part: he asked his readers to weigh in...what do they think is or should be done?

Some critics do not believe that governments are doing enough and maintain that in the event of a human influenza pandemic, people should not count on much help beyond what they provide for themselves. What would that entail? A 30-day supply of essential goods? A 60-day supply? A 90-day supply? And, if so, how can those of limited financial means hope to take care of themselves?

Still other critics tend to dismiss the idea of a human influenza pandemic as improbable, suggesting that governments have simply come up with another gimmick to distract people from "real" issues.

I am interested in what readers have to say about the avian influenza issue and the threat of a human influenza pandemic. Is it real? Is it hype? Do you care? Are you prepared? If so, how have you prepared? Do you have faith in what the U.S. government and others are doing to monitor the problem?

Kindly direct your thoughts, observations and strategies to me at jbersia@orlandosentinel.com, and I will summarize the responses in a future column on avian influenza.

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