Friday, October 13, 2006

October 12 Flu Update

The 20 year old man who was recently noted as a flu case in Indonesia has died. Note the presence of a potential cluster, and false negatives as well.

The man's brother died with bird flu symptoms on Sunday but due to lack of testing there has been no positive confirmation he had the disease.

A third sibling, a 15-year old girl, is currently being treated at Hasan Sadikin hospital.

"She is doing alright, no fever. We are still looking into whether she has the avian influenza virus. The third testing will be conducted today," Yusuf told Reuters by phone.

Two previous tests have found negative trace of bird flu. Relatives of the three siblings are also being tested.

Interesting article on a new approach to fighting bird flu that is less reactive than waiting until the pandemic hits. It is called "prime and boost" and some University of Rochester researchers say it has promise. Helen Branswell reports.

Revere notes this study, and its modest results, and reminds people to be modest about it. He also answers the question of why not just vaccinate people before the pandemic hits? What could it hurt? Here is part of his answer.

Second, when you vaccinate tens of millions of people a certain small number of people die from causes unrelated to the vaccine but in close proximity to getting it. That's because people drop dead with some regularity in any given week and if tens of millions are being vaccinated, some of them will drop dead around the time they get vaccinated. Those kinds of events, for a disease that no one yet has, is pretty bad PR and could severely damage a vaccine program for when it's really needed.

In my view, that's an important answer. I doubt, in fact, that we would have the political will to vaccinate anyone before an actual crisis was present. Conservative, anti-government people harnessing the Swine Flu story (or myth, you choose) would simply prevent it.

NIH summarizes the news that will be presented at a conference which started yesterday in Toronto. Includes info on two "novel" vaccine approaches that have been publicized, including prime and boost.

Effect Measure writes on the US plan (or, as Revere says "non-plan") that has been cited here in the past few days. Post is critical of the plan and recent statements about it. As always, Revere believes the best prep is to rebuild the nation's public health infrastructure. (It is crazy, but it just might work).

Financial traders in London are going to hold a bird flu exercise.

The FAO has founded a crisis management center for bird flu.

CIDRAP on the FAO center (or is it centre?)

Local officials in Lansing, MI, are doing bird flu testing.

Luther College (IA) is preparing for a potential pandemic.

Los Angeles held a bird flu simulation, where the pandemic started in LA and spread across the US from there. Problems were revealed.

But even as experts worked to develop emergency plans, they warned that little money has been provided and there is still confusion over the roles of federal, state and local governments during a pandemic. "(We) have a tremendous amount of confusion over roles - which leads to paralysis of action in many instances, or overlap, or strategies that just don't get completed because no one knows who in fact is supposed to do exactly what," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

A simulaton will also be held in Australia.

In Ireland, contract talks with GPs have stalled, impacting bird flu prep.

A CDC research grant has made its way to the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

China is doing a second trial of its human flu vaccine.

Cheesehead pandemic planning--Wisconsin works with poultry and wild bird "stakeholders"

FAO report (via ProMed) has an OIE report from Sudan--apparently, six outbreaks have occurred there.


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