Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 25 Flu Update

Readers Dave and John sent this along. The New York Times on the issue of respiratory protection, and how it could be our only line of defense against the flu.

The UN is warning that a repeat of last winter's bird flu outbreaks in Europe is possible again.

``It is possible that a similar situation could occur in the approaching weeks with the migratory movement of wild birds from their northern breeding grounds,'' the United Nations agency said in the October edition of a newsletter published on its Web site. ``Eastern Europe and Caucasus region is at particularly high risk'' because of the higher density of backyard poultry there.

South Korea is preparing to fight the bird flu this winter, and they are prepared to take strong measures.

If a case is reported, an area up to three kilometers (two miles) from the site will be quarantined and all birds that could have contracted the disease will be destroyed. Movements of birds from the area will be banned for at least 30 days.
CIDRAP on how Vietnam might be a world model for how to fight the bird flu.

After responding to its 2004 outbreaks mainly by culling infected flocks, Vietnam in 2005 became the first country to institute mandatory nationwide poultry vaccination.

In addition—and almost simultaneously—the national government banned poultry rearing and live-market sales in urban areas; restricted commercial raising of ducks and quail, which can harbor the virus asymptomatically; imposed strict controls on poultry transport within Vietnam and agreed to examine illegal cross-border trade; and launched an aggressive public education campaign that deployed radio and TV advertising, neighborhood loudspeaker announcements, and outreach by powerful internal groups such as the Women's Union and Farmers' Union.

The country also compensated farmers for birds that had to be killed—initially at 10% of the birds' market value, and now at 75%.

CIDRAP also on a story from a couple of days ago. Certain types of birds are likely to carry H5N1, and for that reason, could be used as "sentinels."

Monitoring for flu has started in Azerbaijan.

A Scottish tour operator says that bird flu scares in the Mediterranean region have impacted its business.

The quarantine has been lifted in Inner Mongolia.

Wisconsin says it is ready for the bird flu.

New Zealand is providing support to bird flu efforts in the region.

Health officials in Terre Haute, IN are planning for a flu pandemic.

For those who are into this...homeopathic flu remedies.


At 8:50 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The article "Wood Ducks Could be Sentinel for H5N1" stirs up the imagination once one really ponders how many species of birds and animals the H5N1 virus has been known to infect to date. The long documented list includes chickens, hawks, sparrows, ducks, geese, ostriches, domestic cats and dogs, lions, tigers, pigs, not to mention shrimp and humans. That's quite a mixing bowl of resevoirs and opportunities for this virus to further evolve and mutate. So, while the Wood Duck may be considered a sentinel for North America, any one of these critters could actually be the carrier of the next pandemic.

My brain cells tell me that Dr. Nabarro is probably right, that H5N1 is very well likely going to remain a major health problem for the next five to ten years. Futhermore, as it infects more species, around the globe, it could become an evolutionary and infectuous chess game, whereas not one, but several extremely virulent strains could emerge as it gains efficiency. Wouldn't that be something ?


At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Wulfgang.As the virus continues to form new strains the slow poisoning of the planet would be just as bad or mabey worse than a flu pandemic.


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