Tuesday, December 12, 2006

December 12 Flu Update

It is truly remarkable. Vietnam is bird flu free for a year, but their guard stays up.

A doctor in Vietnam says not to give up on late stage bird flu cases, they can be saved.

The medical community believes anti-virals such as Tamiflu are only effective in fighting the H5N1 bird flu virus if they are administered within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. But virologist Menno de Jong said this assumption might only hold true for human flu viruses. H5N1 behaves differently from human flu viruses and has been observed to be replicating in its human hosts even on the seventh or eighth day, he said. "In my experience, there is a clear suggestion that there was still virus replication (when we made) a late start in treatment. In four of my patients, there was very rapid clearance of the virus from the throat and all 4 survived," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on avian flu and other infectious diseases in Singapore.
CIDRAP has this story as well.

Effect Measure on a report on bird flu in the acturial industry. They seem to think that they will be able to handle it....or settle it in court.

Federal poultry officials held a meeting to warn the poultry industry not to let their guard down against bird flu.

Fecal samples from Utah birds are being tested as part of routine surveillance.

Tests in California surveillance were also negative.

South Alabama businesses are warned to be ready for the bird flu.

The public health department in Guam has created a pandemic flu committee.

In Bangladesh, they are preparing to do bird flu surveillance.

From Swazi: how does bird flu affect birds.


At 7:03 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Would you bet your life that Vietnam is H5N1 free, as the Thanhnien government news arm reports ? Not me. The fact that they are in the "second round of vaccination of 126 M poultry (an astounding number), translates into a temporary fix, in my mind. I call it "chasing the current years' mutation". If you do visit Vietnam, I wouldn't recommend eating any fried chicken.

One sentence in the CIDRAP article ruined the whole upbeat flavor of it for me. This sentence: "De Jong, who treated 17 H5N1 patients in 2004 and 2005, of whom 12 died, agreed with other experts that starting treatment early is still best, Reuters reported". This translates into a 70% fatality rate, according to my new WalMart calculator. Regardless of the optimistic conclusions on the lucky four patients who lived to go play with their birds again, fourteen unlucky stiffs didn't make it.
I don't know about anyone else out there in reader land, but these fatality odds and percentages are still astoundingly high. And this virus may mutate into human-to-human transmission ? I'd rather walk out into a lightning storm with a metal unbrella, than be around in the open when this bug accelerates.

And the article on the insurance vultures, er... I mean acuaries. While I usually find the Revere's comments, because they are physicians, very informative and enlightening, I unequivocally differ with them on their conclusion statement. Which is, "It is an interesting perspective. While we worry about how to solve the problems created by a pandemic, the insurance industry has the solution. We'll resolve it in court".

Let me tell you all about "the Wulfgang Theory" of how things might work, during a pandemic (i.e. the real world).

My theory says that during a pandemic, some civilized rules and procedures may not apply: (a) medical triage priorities which result in not assisting some unfortunate low rung influenza victims, and, (b) insurance companies that suddenly pronounce death payment exclusions due to H5N1 financial laws, may be met with extreme hostile prejudice by the public. Instead of a court room, the problem may be resolved expeditiously with the infamous "Mr Smith and Mr. Wesson", presiding judgement. Mr. Colt himself may step in to help represent the plaintif's position.

I have said before, I wouldn't want to be a doctor during a pandemic, now I definately don't want to be an insurance agent, either. Both occupations might be just as dangerous as getting the avian flu.


At 10:55 PM, Blogger Orange said...

There's not much I would bet my life on. However, even if Vietnam does have stray cases, its ability to control the bird flu has been remarkable....or lucky.


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