Monday, September 18, 2006

September 18 Flu Update

Helen Branswell is back on one of the keys questions of the bird flu. In recent days, missed cases of bird flu have been identified retrospectively. The question it raises is this: are there mild undiagnosed cases--and is the overall case count much higher than thought. Mild cases are also part of what we can expect when a pandemic hits.

Experts say the evidence to date points away from that notion. But they add that it is important to continue to search for mild cases. Understanding the true number of human infections and the range of symptoms experienced could help scientists better assess the pandemic risk posed by the virus.


"We need to keep monitoring it," Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, said Sunday.

"Because frankly, one of the indications that there may be a changing epidemiology (disease pattern) with this is in fact if we start seeing larger and larger percentages of individuals who are asymptomatic or only mildly ill that we can clearly confirm as having H5N1 infection."

LaSalle County, IL, will release its bird flu plan as soon as it is approved.

The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health in the Philippines are working together to fight off the bird flu.

Dr. Nabarro has linked political crisis in Thailand to the resurgence of flu there. (My note: our ability to fight the bird flu is only as good as our systems and our leadership are).

There is an investigation in Vietnam of bird flu funds that are alleged to have been misappropriated.

The Asian-Pacific countries continue to gear up to fight the bird flu.

Britain is increasing its bird flu surveillance among wild birds.

Yesterday, we noted a negative test in Vietnam. ProMed writes today (CP the mod) that it highlights the success Vietnam has had controlling the disease.

Here it is, boys and girls. Slate Magazine's The Survivalist on how to survive the bird flu.

Here's how to survive a severe pandemic: Prepare to become self-sufficient for several months; stockpile nonperishable food, water, disinfectants, prescription medication, office supplies, batteries and generators, air-filter masks, cash (small bills), portable gas cookware, entertainment for the kids, and so on.


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