Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 13 Flu Update

Effect Measure on recent research that shows that the bird flu does not stay exclusively in the digestive track of waterfowl, as previously thought. There are now recommendations to swab the respiratory track as well---a lot more difficult than just check feces. Another curveball from H5N1.

Revere also blogs the article about not giving up on flu patients who present later in the course of the disease. Also interesting--it still emphasizes the need for quicker flu detection tests. Revere notes that a lot of work is being done, and it needs to get online as soon as possible.

Declan Butler of Nature has the latest version of his Google Earth bird flu tracker out. Very cool.

WaPo on the report to CDC that tried to learn the lessons of 1918 and apply them to 2006-7.

A conference is held in Charlottesville, VA, on the "when not if" theme.

A tabletop simulation was held in Ontario.

Additional simulation news from Ontario.

Could this happen in the US? New Zealand passes law giving sweeping powers to government during a pandemic.

A new model in Britain projects 26 million people infected.

Hospital shortages are identified as a flu risk in Delaware.

Paper in Los Alamos reports on flu presentation that said pandemic could be like "many Katrinas."

While admitting their own friendly disagreements and the uncertainties of their disciplines, a team of scientists stopped short of saying, "you're on your own," but implied that might yet be the case.

Here's a link to the Trust for America's Health report on crisis preparedness in the US.

An Indonesian Youth Forum is doing flu education as a project.

Some wild bird surveillance in India is reported to be negative.

The Columbus Dispatch runs a story on whether Ohio is ready for a crisis--including a pandemic.

Here's the analysis, for those who are curious.


At 7:36 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I'd like to zero in quickly and comment on four key articles on your website, since they all have pretty much the same theme in my mind - the UK News article on "Bird flu can infect 26 million"; the Los Alamos article "Pandemic could add up to many Katrinas"; the Trust for Medical Health article " Ready or not? Protecting the Public's Health from Disease Disasters, and Bioterrorism"; and finally the New Zealand article on "Special Laws".

They all describe how dire the next pandemic might be, and how ill prepared people everywhere, really are. These articles are not meant to scare, they are in my mind about facing realism. This is a topic most people these days don't want to even deal with - the unthinkable occurring. What do I mean ?

Read the UK news article carefully. Their model analysis shows that by simply implementing isolation and quarantines, deaths can be substantially reduced at the onset of a pandemic. This same conclusion keeps popping up in other models also. Realistically, one can conclude if a pandemic were to begin, expect severe quarantines in your area, and quickly. This will have to happen if the pandemic can not be stopped. The NZ article points this out specifically - "premises can be closed, public gatherings prohibited, and land, buildings, vehicles and ships, requisitioned without compensation. The police will have the power to control 'any difficult behavior'", Expect this same approach in the US and Canada, as well as in all the western european countries. The local, state, provincial, and federal goverrnments will do what ever is necessary to stop the spread of a pandemic. If anyone doubts this statement, then you need your head examined, because you are hopelessly naive.

The Los Alamos article is very similar in nature with its specific warning: quarantine and isolation is the only way to slow the spread of this disease during a pandemic. Quote - "Under an extreme situation, the country (US) is looking at massive disruptions, horribly overloaded medical capacity and millions of dead during a few weeks of rampage, and then the unthinkable aftermath of that". The Trust for America Health report, describes further how utterly unprepared our states and hospital surge capacities are, to deal with a pandemic. The simple fact is... people and institutions are not prepared to what could be a terrible reality.

I will end with this rather serious statement - the Brits and Los Alamos National Lab's are not the only ones whose model data show these same dire predictions, and just how fragile the support structures and economies of countries really are. Ol' Wulf''s advice as a federal person is to seriously consider a new year's resolution to prepare yourself and your family the best you can for this, if you haven't already. Ol' Wulf also does not idly waste time on things he (or she) does not believe to be true, unless it is based on some substance and facts.

Here's some food for thought: Paul said in The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians - "If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle ?".



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