December 11 Flu UpdateDr. Webster and other experts were in Indonesia, and they had interesting things to say. First, the number of cases goes up each year, and second, vaccines are needed for all bird flu strains.
The H5N1 bird flu virus has undergone many changes since making its first known jump into humans in 1997 and vaccines must be manufactured to fight its major strains, experts said on Monday. While the virus remains largely a bird disease and does not infect people easily, the scientists at a conference on avian flu and other infectious diseases in Singapore warned against any complacency.
"What's worrying is there were more (human) cases in 2006 than 2004 and 2005. The problem is still with us," Robert Webster of the St Jude Children's Research Hospital in the United States told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference. "It's (H5N1) continuing to evolve and there are multiple lineages of this virus still out there. What cross-protection is there between these clades (strains) and sub-clades?"
Different report, same event...expect winter to bring more cases in Asia.
In counterpoint, China has announced no cases yet this winter.
Effect Measure on the story about the "weak point" of the flu virus that is all over the news. Revere points out that as you learn more, things don't always get clearer....
ProMed on a couple different things....first, the reports in South Korea, and second, the idea that the flu virus is slowing down...at least in animals. Note mod comment that says we will find out during the winter if the slowdown in animals is seasonal or perhaps a slowing of the panzootic.
US State Department website reports $434M pledge to bird flu effort by US.
The Republic of Ireland is buying 11.3 million Euros worth of Relenza.
Effect Measure on the article we ran yesterday on "What ever happened to bird flu" which ran on AP. Revere notes the many different headlines the story ran under, all of which underplayed the real warnings in the story.
Chicken sales fell in South Korea late last month on bird flu fears--but they are rebounding.
The bird flu in Quail is confirmed (South Korea).
CIDRAP on the "accord" about naming flu viruses.
A US university is joining with an Indian university to do bird flu research.