Thursday, October 26, 2006

October 26 Flu Update

From a Harvard study...people say they would abide by restrictions during a pandemic and be quarantined, etc. If you were home and sick, however, there'd be a big shortage of people to care for you.

According to Harvard's poll, 24 percent of 1,697 Americans surveyed nationwide from September 28 to October 5 said no one could take care of them if they became sick and had to remain at home for seven to 10 days during a bird flu pandemic.

About 45 percent of those living alone said no one would be available to care for them, and 34 percent of black adults said they would have no one to take care of them if they became ill with pandemic flu.


CIDRAP also has this story.

Direct link to Harvard press release.

Next article in the CIDRAP series (excellent) on what has worked in Vietnam. This article includes the story of how cultural resistance was overcome.


More reports from Vietnam--no bird flu in 2006.

We reported earlier that the Swiss has bought a pre-pandemic vaccine from GSK. Now an "unidentified" Asian country has followed suit, and the company expects more.

Ostriches in Zimbabwe are reported to have avian flu. No word of confirmation of H5N1.

Non-migratory sparrows in China have bird flu, but there is no reason for the public to panic.

An informational program on bird flu is coming up in Leominster, MA.

Recombinomics says recombination is taking place in Northern China.

2 Comments:

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Oh boy, I can't help but comment on both the Harvard Study and the Vietnam cultural changes. The fact is that at current capacity, we cannot expect to vaccinate more than 14% of the worlds population with a year of a pandemic, according to the researchers at Johns-Hopkins and Ben-Gurion Universities. That said, there won't even be a true pandemic vaccine available until 6-9 months after the onset of a pandemic. Current stockpiles of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in the U.S. are only enough to supply roughly 25% of the 300M U.S. population with the resistance it needs to stave off pandemic flu - this only assumes one dose per person, what happens it two doses are required ? Then, that number is reduced and there is only enough Tamiflu available for 12-13% of the U.S. population. The numbers and current availability of vaccine and anti-virals stock piles are not sufficient. To make matters worse, the priorities and issuance of vaccine and anti-virals is inconsistent between children and essential service workers.

We must realize there is no financial safety net for workers during a pandemic, and most productive families will be compelled to return to work and send their children to schools, out of economic necessity. Further, once the majority of workers realize that vaccine in unavailable and anti-virals are extremely limited, things could become unpredictable. We must address these problems now. If a country like Vietnam can institute rapid cultural change, then why can't our governemnt enact simple legislation to ensure federal paid pandemic leave for workers ? Nobody blinks an eye when comes to federally funded flood insurance and unemployment insurance programs. Leaving these issues up to states and private enterprise to resolve during a pandemic, is a disaster waiting to happen.

Wulfgang

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Wulfgang--all your points are well taken. During a serious pandemic, I don't think that people have thought through the social chaos that could occur. It is easy to spin worst case scenarios, and my guess is that the reality won't be as bad as that. But, if the reality is HALF as bad as the scenarios, it is still bad.

I believe schools will be closed during a pandemic, as will child care centers. As for what our government can do, I would say this. The government can certainly do what it needs to do. I do not believe it will do anything until forced to--and, in fact, they didn't in Vietnam, either.

It is probably a topic for another day, but the spectre of the Swine Flu hangs over every effort to prepare for the bird flu.

 

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