Saturday, December 09, 2006

December 8 Flu Update

At the Mali conference, $475M more has been pledged for the bird flu fight, though it is still a fraction of the need (they had hoped for $1B).

Also from Mali, it is acknowledged that no one agency will be able to fight bird flu---it will take many different agencies.

In Mali, an important point is made. Many scientists feel that the bird flu is only one animal virus that threatens humans, and results from a number of factors including farming practices.

OIE is happy with the Mali conference.

CIDRAP on Mali.

The Northern Region of Vietnam has made it through what ordinarily its first flu cycle.

Apparently, the dispute between China and Hong Kong from a few weeks ago that centered on the presence of a specific strain of flu is actually the result of a "stigmatizing" name.

Short but interesting article on the hajj pilgrimage and how it could present a bird flu risk. (And, in fact, it is exactly the kind of event that could, though the number of opportunities for the disease to spread are too many to count).

Cities in Quebec are completing mutual aid pacts in case of the bird flu.

Effect Measure blogs an article in the Globe and Mail that talks about a study done on hospital capacity in Toronto, and what it would be like during a pandemic.


At 9:00 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I am getting an early start on the day, so I haven't read your updated articles.

However, for what it's worth, I would still like to throw out a few thoughts on the subject of pandemic preparedness...

I believe most people get a blank look from others at the mere mention of preparing for a possible pandemic, in my view, for a lot of reasons, but mainly it boils down to just a few. I would submit that one of the main reasons is pretty basic: people don't generally become afraid or concerned about something that they have no experience in, can't visualize, relate to, or even understand, especially when the probability of occurence is so low. When and where did anybody in our lifetime really observe a pandemic ? Never. Mild local flu epidemics yes, a pandemic, no. Only the older generation has even second hand knowledge, from our ancestors, of the implications of a pandemic. If one is fortunate to have had access to some of these first hand accounts, they understand the risk and danger. Otherwise, it's all speculation and hype to people.

Couple this with our western culture and interests. Today's generation can best be described as "fast food, instant gratification, just-in-time supply and deliveries, diversities to the extreme, materialism to excess, situational ethics, electronic conveniences that boggle the mind, etc - and everybody wants to be entertained". You get my drift. The possibility of an avian influenza pandemic is insignificant and irrelevant to most people. That's just the way it is.

Then there's the communications media. Everybody suffers from what I call "information overload". Not many people really take time to read newspapers or books, they watch TV or surf the net. They are fed news from third parties which is deemed important by others.

And very few people nowadays have a basic knowledge of science and mathmatics, or understand the importance of history at all. The President of the US himself is just now (maybe thank God) beginning to understand the fallacy of starting an unwarranted war over ideology. He never understood or appreciated the mistake that was made in Viet Nam.

But I think one of the main reasons in my view, most people think an influenza pandemic is a non-issue, is due to the false belief that modern medicine and science will find a magic bullet vaccine, in plenty of time, before hand. I believe this false assumption has lulled most everyone into compacency. They never had to worry about dying from the most basic of maladies, which we now have cures or simple medical procedures and medicines for. They figure there are a bunch of Steven Hawking's and Bill Gates out there who will figure the whole thing out.

This all goes to say, in my opinion, no matter what, people generally will not take the threat of a pandemic seriously, until they see people flopping over dead on the major networks. Heck, most folks don't even maintain their automobiles or control their personal finances properly. Why would the risk of a pandemic phase them ? And what about the boy scout motto we all grew up with (Be prepared) ? Forget that bunk.


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Finally took a moment to read through your articles. I'll bet you really were expecting comments on two of them. They both beg to be elaborated on. Incidentally, this is two postings in one day - no charge. This is a free service I provide.

Two quick quips on the Effective Measure article by the Revere family: first, the very grave situation that both the governments and the news media routinely gloss over, is mentioned in this article - it's called the medical "backlog of services". Most of us clearly understand this term - it's about developing the capability to take care of deferred essential medical treatments, until the pandemic dissipates sufficiently enough. What few people want to discuss openly though, is the collateral or unassociated deaths that will occur, simply as a result of the pandemic. Pointedly, a number of people will die in a moderate-to-severe pandemic, simply due to the fact they will not be able to get the proper medications, life saving medical procedures, or human care they need. Think about it carefully... people will die due to the pandemic influenza virus, in addition some will die due to related medical flu complications, and some additional number will also succumb due to the lack of medical care for unrelated critical conditions. This could well end up in a total fatality rate that is staggering, which is outside current pandemic model limits and predicted thresholds. Another problem (?) the Revere article carefully everyone... note the confusion on whether to expect one wave of two months, three waves of infection which are 1918-like and spaced apart over two years... or will the next pandemic be one long continuous deadly wave lasting twelve to thirty six months ? Nobody knows precisely, but I have stated this publically before, many government agencies are planning for up to 6 months per continuous individual disaster wave. So the State Dept publishes a warning for a measly two month warning and this is upsetting the meek ? This unpredictable situation is a wake up call everyone. The looming pandemic could make the worst 3rd rate chainsaw massacre horror film seem rosey.

Now a quick comment on the two-three million person pilgrimage to Mecca - many of these individuals are without flu innoculations. Without being too tacky, 'ol Wulfgang thinks the worlds largest gravesite could well end up being in sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. This might be a good time to speculate on some Catepillar (CAT) stock.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home