Monday, October 23, 2006

October 23 Flu Update

CIDRAP on WHO's urgent call for upgraded vaccine capacity. More production (much more) of a hardier virus is required. This is a must read. Problems with egg-based vaccines and pandemic strains, and more.

Here's the WHO press release....

and the WHO report.

Secretary Leavitt lauded the WHO call, and called out US investment in vaccine research.

Helen Branswell is on board with a report on research with attempts to answer the question of how flu spreads in a hospital. Is it through hand-hand or heavy droplets, or do the droplets go airborne and spread throughout the hospital.

The outcome could determine how many health-care workers will be well enough -- or willing -- to look after the rest of us when the next flu pandemic strikes. The answer will influence the recommendations governments give hospitals on what masks to stockpile. If flu is an airborne virus, costly masks called N-95 respirators are the way to go. If it's not, simple and inexpensive surgical masks should suffic

Effect Measure also blogs this. Revere feels all healthcare workers directly treating flu patients should wear respirators....the question is, how far in the hospital should that extend?

University of Georgia researchers say that different species of wild birds will react differently to bird flu.

Vietnam is still preparing for the bird flu. 1 million Tamiflu tablets, and more...

Apart from the above drug and chemical, the MoH has also amassed 1,000 respiratory machines, 500,000 sets of on-the-job protection clothing, 500,000 special comforters, 500,000 sets of gloves and 1,000 sprayers of all kinds.

Vietnam held a bird flu preparedness exercise.

It is an understatement to say that this will be a difficult task. Indonesia is looking to clean backyard poultry flocks from its cities.

Wild birds in Australia appear to be bird flu free.

David Nabarro says working together might have stopped the bird flu from spreading, but the danger is not passed.

In the Bahamas, the agribusiness sector still recognizes bird flu as a potential threat.

In Malawi, they are recognizing that bird flu is still a risk as migratory birds come through.

Warnings to people in Nigeria--if bird flu is not stamped out, the ramifications could be serious.

Recombinomics has a local report that says that a Vet in Mongolia may be the first human bird flu case.

2 Comments:

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Regarding the Helen Branswell article about the effectiveness of N95 masks, an equally important problem that needs to be resolved quickly is how the federal and state governments plan to effectively distribute and prioritize the massive amounts of stockpiled Tamilflu throughout the U. S, to citizens in need during a pandemic. We may be missing the forest, by concentrating on the trees.

I can easily imagine the heightened anxiety during the initial stages of a WHO declared pandemic, and that the word "chaos" might be an understatement. As I understand many states plans, their approach to resolve this issue is to distribute these anti-virals to predesignated "points-of-distribution", hospitals, or triage locations, at some declared time by their health agencies. Since we have all seen first hand how human nature reacts during a national crisis, ala Katrina, I cannot even remotely imagine the national train wreck the distribution of Tamiflu will cause during a world wide pandemic. Without predetermined guidelines, priorities, open communication with the citizens and assurances of responsiveness, safety and availability of the drug - it is easy to see that the lowest common denominator result will prevail (i.e. failure).

One can draw a direct parallel to the recent Katrina fiasco: logistics management was non-existent, command and control of the situation was absent, and authoritative decision making was totally lacking - and here we go again, only on a grander scale.

Wulfgang

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Wulfgang, I think you are right. If a panic has enused, I think that distribution of Tamiflu in a fair and efficient manner would be all but impossible. It is possible that during a pandemic the greater damage will be inflicted by ourselves--not by the virus.

 

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