Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22 Flu Update

Back on the mend. Bed rest, fluids, etc.

Excellent story on the course of the bird flu as a news story. Once all the rage (right after Katrina), now off the headlines (as we know from our hit counts). Today? The disease is making its expected consistent progress.

Now, with the disease still centered in Asia and the failure of migratory birds to spread the illness to Europe and North America, the H5N1 virus has dropped out of the media spotlight. The dearth of coverage has prompted some to think that the threat of a pandemic has passed.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however.

This year, a person dies from the disease about every four days, compared with about once every nine days last year, according to World Health Organization data. Of the 109 confirmed human cases of bird flu this year, 73 have been fatal. That's up from 97 cases and 42 deaths in all of last year.

Effect Measures blogs this story as well.

As long as this viral stew continues to bubble away in China, southeast asia, the Middle East and Indonesia we face the real possibility it will change character to make human beings an efficient new host for the virus to carry out its only function, make copies of itself.

China says it has inoculated all domestic fowl in Inner Mongolia.

The Swiss have become the first country to buy GSK's pre-pandemic vaccine. It is supposed to have 80% protection, and prime the immune system prior to a perfectly matched strain being developed. It is yet another strategy to buy time for the only perfect solution--a strain-specific vaccine.

Reader Wulfgang pointed me to this story--the release of a GAO report on preparation for bird flu in the Department of Defense. I haven't read it, but the report appears to indicate that the preparations are moving along, there is still work to be done in accountability and communications.

Here's a link to the full report.

There are flood waters in Thailand, and people are being warned to spray disinfectant to help to guard against many things, including bird flu. How waterborne is bird flu, anyway.

This story from Cyprus says Europe is preparing for the bird flu---and that nations supposedly hvae enough Tamiflu for 20-30% of their population.

Bahrain reports that Japan is working on curing the bird flu.

Eskimos in remote Alaska knew something important was going on when government officials started showing up. The village is in the flight path of migratory birds.


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