Friday, September 01, 2006

August 31 Flu Update

A 60M has been hospitalized in Indonesia with suspected bird flu.

ProMed on the latest batch of suspected cases in Indonesia.

There has been much criticism of how Indonesia has been fighting the bird flu. This on the ground report notes that they do face obstacles---a lack of funds and resistance in local communities.

In the isolated mountain community of Dairi in north Sumatra, about 200 villagers file into a packed meeting house. Everybody is talking about a frightening rumor that has been circulating all day.

Bupati Tumanggor, head of the local Dairi district, addresses the restless crowd over a loudspeaker.

He confirms that someone from the village has been hospitalized for avian influenza. Five chickens have tested positive for the H5N1 virus as well. He tells them the next morning all birds within a one-kilometer radius will be killed, to keep the virus from spreading.


Here's another obstacle...local reliance on "black magic." In this story, a local man was avoiding treatments. Authorities allowed the witch doctor to treat him in exchange for a blood sample.

Agenda Purba, a witch doctor from Jandi Meriah, chanted over 21 betel nut leaves, filled with blossoms, a pasty white lime, brown chunks of an astringent and bits of an orange-colored nut. He prayed for the young man's recovery, then chewed the first of the leaves and softly spit onto Jones' forehead. Purba repeated the process until he had finished the leaves, slathering the torso, arms, legs, hands and feet, making sure to cover all the joints.

From the "not a shocker" category...there are questions on the Chinese flu vaccine.

"This strain is different from the one in Indonesia and new ones that have emerged in other places," Guan said, calling for a more systematic and mature criteria on selecting the vaccine strain and the manufacturing process. "The vaccine could bring a small reaction for other H5N1 strains, it won't be completely ineffective. But when you create a vaccine, you try to make one that confers the most widespread protection, but the coverage of this one is narrow," he said.

China continues to say that its vaccine is ready to go.

To fight bird flu, Taiwan is asking market vendors to stop slaughtering birds "on demand."

Vietnam remains concerned about border biosecurity.

Japan is giving $20M to the fight against bird flu in Asia.

Hamilton County (OH) has a website for the area to fight bird flu. (This is Cincinnati).

The URL to the website.

CIDRAP on the dog with flu.

Following that report, European Union veterinarians in Brussels urged people living in areas experiencing avian flu outbreaks to keep their cats indoors and their dogs leashed. A German humane society said publicity about the cat case prompted hundreds of German cat owners to abandon their pets at shelters.


Effect Measure also looks at the dog with the flu. Revere notes the wider mammalian host range than people expect.

ProMed has the story of the transfusion treatment...note mod comment questioning the practicality of the idea.

Recombinomics says a duck in Indonesia with bird flu had a novel cleavage site, causing concern.

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