Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 20 Flu Update

Vietnam has confirmed the bird flu outbreaks and that the virus is H5N1, high path.

Effect Measure comments on this point. As Revere notes, people have suspected that the bird flu was still in Vietnam, even though there were no officially reported cases. In a complicated situation where information is hard to come by, there is no doubt that this makes sense. However, I do think it is fair to assert that Vietnam has gone from having the worst bird flu situation to the world to having, well, NOT the worst, and that seems like an accomplishment to me. Revere also discusses the difficulty in diagnosing cases that present as pneumonia.

ProMed on Vietnam and South Korea.

CIDRAP on Vietnam and other news, including mass bird die-offs that are NOT from H5N1.

There is a fresh outbreak of bird flu in Nigeria, which is said to be more widespread that first thought.

Recombinomics on Nigeria.

Dr. Bob Gleeson spoke about the bird flu as the next pandemic.

Experts in Thailand say it is still too early to stockpile bird flu vaccine.

Marin County, CA, sent home notes with 40,000 schoolchildren about the bird flu.

Editorial in Fort Wayne reminds people that the bird flu has not gone away--and that even if there is no pandemic, our prep time is not wasted.

Laramine WY is spending about 84K on pandemic prep.

The American Public Health Association has developed its pandemic guidelines in the form of a policy statement.

Thailand says it is carefully monitoring the development of bird flu in that country.

Florida thinks hurricanes are good practice for a pandemic.


At 8:10 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Very interesting news today out of Vietnam, South Korea and Nigeria. Without going into all the arguments and details about whether or not certain countries are “bird-flu free” and the merits of inoculating poultry, my view pretty much remains unchanged at this juncture – H5N1 is still percolating around underground, in Asia, China, Europe and Africa. It has still not manifested itself in N. America, but that is immaterial to me. The bottom line still remains the same to Ol’ Wulfgang, it only takes one infected world traveler from any of those continents to arrive in New York, and the race is on. I will say that inoculation in my opinion, only is delaying the inevitable.

I hate to sound like the eternal doomsayer, but I generally am in the same camp as Webster and Gleeson: From what I know and have heard first hand, corroborated by independent government meetings earlier this year, Dr. Gleeson is pretty much correct according to my recollection of what I heard discussed by independent science and medical experts – approximately fifteen-to-twenty people (with clear human-to-human transmission), uncontained within a 15 mile radius, and voila’ , it’s epidemic/ pandemic time. The same term “spin out of control” was voiced.

I found the Marin County article quite interesting, primarily because this is the first instance I am aware of, where a mass mailing has been made to warn parents about avian influenza. I am continually astounded at some of the remarks people make about preparing for a possible avian influenza pandemic. The article quotes an individual as saying, “I think people need to start thinking about these things because they are going to become a reality at some point”. Oh, you really think so – coming from one of the states fraught with annual wild fires and earthquakes ? Man, if I lived in Marin Co. California, I’d have a Winnebago always stocked with 2 months worth of food and water, and a .38, gassed up and ready to roll at a moments notice. Eat my dust, baby.

My best comment goes to the state of Florida, after reading the Insurance Journal article. Florida is in fact woefully behind most other states when it comes to stockpiling anti-virals and having definitive pandemic plans in place. I always believe in realism, and as many are aware, I keep harping on this when it comes to developing realistic pandemic plans – this is why I almost fell off my chair when the article stated that Florida considered interventions such as travel restrictions not recommended because it seems “infeasible” under foreseeable circumstances. I only ask this simple question: is it sane to allow a couple of a million people in the state of Florida to hit the highways at the onset of a pandemic ? I… don’t….think….so. Better think again on this one, please. While you folks are pondering that, please figure out quick when public schools should close and who should decide – this is pretty much a no-brainer, in my book.



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