Wednesday, November 01, 2006

October 31--Halloween Update

The news continues to revereberate concerning the report of the Fujian strain--a new strain from China. There are a couple different perspectives.

First (of course) is Helen Branswell. She says WHO reports that the virus does not appear to be more dangerous to people.

"The virus isn't necessarily more pathogenic, more virulent. The fact that you have a virus that has mutated or has changed somewhat and that humans have become infected with the more dominant virus when it has occurred is logical, because that's the virus that is circulating," he said.
There's also this take--that it could (and probably will) spark a new round of global outbreaks.

ProMed moderator has this story, with a comment that says it is more important for animal cases than human cases.

Following up on yesterday's comments...Bloomberg has this report on how the bird flu deaths this year are more than the last two year's combined.

CIDRAP reports that a Minnestoa vaccination rationing program should favor the young.

The vaccine allocation recommendations released last week by the Minnesota Center for Health Care Ethics (MCHCE) look much different from the ones proposed by the federal government. The vaccine rationing recommendation in federal pandemic plan is aimed at saving the most lives, and might favor the healthy 75-year-old over the 25-year-old utility worker.

The Minnesota group’s approach is designed to prevent not only deaths due to influenza, but also deaths related to public infrastructure breakdowns. It is weighted toward those whose immune systems are more likely to respond strongly to a pandemic flu vaccine. As such, it would put the 25-year-old utility worker ahead of the 75-year-old.

Along the same lines, CIDRAP cites research in Turkey which shows a strong link between the young and flu.

ProMed with a report on the death in Egypt.

According to the University of Rhode Island, Plavix interferes with Tamiflu.

Britain is stepping up its surveillance program.

A bird flu test kit won an Asian innovation award.

The State of New York is helping an Ithaca company do the same here in the US.

Reuters has an update on global case counts.

Effect Measure notes that you have to take vaccine stories with a grain of salt...especially in press announcements.


At 7:58 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Nice update on the world events today as usual. Two of the articles caught my attention and imagination. First, I place a high amount of credence on ProMed and CIDRAP information. The ProMed article points out that the current control measures generally practised to control avian influenza are ineffective. True statement and no one can argue this fact. Second, ProMed's point that the Fujian-like H5N1 sub-strain virus appeared to avoid the humongous Chinese poultry vaccination program, and may have even been aided by the poultry vaccine, is further evidence that the H5N1 virus threat may turn out to the biggest health threat of the 21st century. There are now documented multiple sub-strains of H5N1 circulating throughout the world. Forget transparency and which country is not being honest and forthright - this is not the central issue.

Turn the attention to the CIDRAP article on the same day, and they point out that an analysis by WHO on the H5N1 human influenza cases in Turkey last winter, reveals that children and youth may be particularly susceptible. This spells ominous.

The parallels one can draw from today to pre-1918 history are uncanny in all respects. This is the speculation on my part - as the ensuing weeks and months unfold, it will become apparent with the many H5N1 sub-strains that are popping up, that they are a critical part of the emerging signs of a pandemic. We are in fact in the pre-pandemic stage and WHO better have the 4-5-6 buttons ready to push. The H5N1 sub-viruses are like an octopus, with many long reaching tentacles throughout the globe, any one of which may produce the dreaded pandemic. The more sub-strains, the more likely it's further exponential evolution and pandemic emergence. It's that simple.


At 10:21 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Thank you very much. As you will see in tomorrow's update, WHO still feels it is important who is being transparent.

CIDRAP and ProMed are both high quality information sources. Many are frustrated with ProMed's rather conservative, establishment outlook, but in the knee jerk blog world, I think it is a good perspective. As for CIDRAP, it is one of the best, and Dr. Osterholm is one of the people who really seems to get it.


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