Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 29 Flu Update---Rumor Free Edition

Internet rumors (snicker) reported a child with H5N1 in Quebec. They are not true and you didn't see it here.

Several Internet websites on pandemic influenza reported rumours that North America had its first human "bird flu" case in an unlikely spot - Rimouski, a city of about 42,000 people on the St. Lawrence River north of Quebec City.

Look who did, with a belated caveat.

Perhaps the day's most interesting story. Flu viruses may be preserved in glaciers and arctic ice, and then released when the ice melts to cause a pandemic.

The finding may help explain the constant emergence of influenza A-type viruses that cause seasonal epidemics and occasionally set off pandemics capable of killing millions of people. Disease trackers are monitoring flu viruses amid an outbreak of the H5N1 strain, known to have infected 258 people in 10 countries in the past three years, killing 153 of them.

``One expectation in relation to this phenomenon would be an increased rate of release of these microbes during times of global, or local, warming events and a decrease during cooler periods,'' said the authors, led by Gang Zhang from Ohio's Bowling Green State University.

Here's a more technical version from ProMed.

From the fact division: South Korea is culling/killing pigs and dogs, but not pets.

A pre-pandemic flu vaccine is ready for testing in Britain.

There's big flu news out of Alabama.

China has put an end to the construction of new poultry markets.

Effect Measure weighs in on the story of John Snow, who created epidemiology when cholera hit London...and how you can easily translate the "theories" on cholera to similar theories on bird flu. It takes some work, but it is worth it.

But the example of John Snow and waterborne cholera should remind us humility is also a scientific virtue.

Effect Measure comments on the culling of dogs in Korea.

CIDRAP on WHO urging that flu cases be investigated very carefully, especially to prevent false negatives.

Promed clears up the confusion on the death in Indonesia from yesterday.

Uganda has banned the transport of birds on passenger vehicles.

Highly recommended. Laurie Garrett of CFR with a podcast on the bird flu. Key quote: "there are no fools left who think it can be contained in one country."

Religious leaders are conducting bird flu training in Cambodia.

In Newton County, MO, they conducted a bird flu exercise.


At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is apparently a telephone scam in Canada where businesses are being told that Health Canada requires them to purchase a $299 flu preparation kit. Health Canada says it has no kits. Here's the link:

Speaking of scams, you might tell your readers not to purchase Tamiflu from Last year I ordered some (and paid a healthy premium), but it never arrived. Now I'm getting the run around that the company has been sold and is not required to fulfill earlier orders. That is not legally correct, however there isn't much I can do about it. Buyer beware!!

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I have a couple of comments on the articles today.

On the Birmingham news article which applauds how scientists at Auburn University have created an avian flu vaccine which can be rapidly produced for chicken flocks - this is great news for the people at Pilgrims Pride and KFC. I'm being facetious, but what we really need to concentrate on in North America is increasing our production and distribution capability for mass producing H-U-M-A-N avian pandemic vaccines. To date, we seem to be more concerned with innoculating chickens for economic reasons, while our puny present stockpiles of avian vaccines for you and me, may or may not work. I just can't get my brain to figure this one out. Don't get me wrong, I love drumsticks and buffalo wings, but this situation doesn't make sense to me.

The ProMed and Bloomberg news that evidence of influenza type A viruses may be preserved in polar lakes and Siberian ice is quite fascinating and credible. The data implies that the melting ice may act as a natural mixing bowl for further mutations and recombinations of H5N1, as the waterfowl migrate. This makes perfect sense and could also be the reason different strains of influenza viruses emerge and recede at different times throughout history. This could also be the reason the H5N1 virus is still evolving in animals and humans today, and our efforts to date have been futile to stop it. Let's all hope that the avian virus does not improve itself to become a wholly avian virus. This could mean its current 60-70% lethality rate would make the 1918 pandemic seem like kid's play. The world wide fatality numbers would be staggering, and the effects on economies and societies would be crushing.

Wouldn't it be really something if the 1918/1919 H1 type pandemic turned out to be "chump change", as compared to a 2007/2008 H5 type wholly avian pandemic ? Maybe the WHO, CDC and HHS are actually under reacting.


At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

To wulfgang
Your comments are quite interesting .I enjoy reading them.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Thanks for the nice comment. As you can tell, I enjoy commenting on the daily articles. Orange has been kind enough to put up with me, which I appreciate.

Like many others of you, I have been following this dreadful avian flu for several years now, and trying to get the word out to as many as possible to pay attention, be prepared to some degree, and stay well informed.

I do believe the entire developing situation has the potential to blindside many.



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