Monday, January 01, 2007

December 31 Flu Update--Happy New Year!

ProMed on the news that the family in Vietnam has pneumonia, and not bird flu.

Effect Measure on the bird flu "wherever you are" noting caution on the initial negative results from Vietnam.

Nigeria sent back four containers of poultry product due to fears of bird flu. At least two had originated in Egypt.

Nigerians are also informed on how to tell when they shouldn't eat chickens.

Jordan is also vigilant against bird flu, which has broken out in its neighbor, Egypt.

N. Korea has built a bird flu ward with support from WHO.

ProMed on the migratory bird vs. smuggling debate...not mod comment on the dangers of smuggling.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


A much shorter comment than my epistle yesterday – I find the Revere’s commentary fascinating as usual. The confusion coming out of Vietnam on the sick family is politics interfering with solid diagnosis, because of the upcoming national holiday there, simply put, in my view. This is just another instance where local culture and fear, muddies up whatever the true facts might be. This is why I say that we can have the best diagnostic tools in the world’s arsenal for quickly identifying the H5N1 clade, but, if countries aren’t forthcoming and timely with the critical samples and information, then we might as sell be whistling in the wind to think we can head off a pandemic.

Revere’s observatory comments about the likelihood of seeing more human and poultry cases, because of the seasonal aspects, is quite important, as I pointed out yesterday – this is a significant trend that H5N1 is establishing in geographical regions of the northern and souther hemispheres.

Revere’s discussion concerning endemic “normal influenza”, observing that H1N1 seems to be becoming the most reportable number of cases in the US, plus, not overlooking the fact that “normal” epidemics can be quite deadly and pervasive, is well worth noting.

It is my contention, that in order to understand and spotlight the signs of true pandemic situation, then one better equip himself thoroughly with the basic knowledge and dynamics of ordinary flu epidemics – epidemiological indications, predominate virus strains, reported data, and flu seasons in the hemispheres. Said simply, I believe H5N1 must undergo clear re-assortment with an existing type A H3N2 or H1N1/H2N1 or H1N2 subtypes, or type B, to enable itself to become less lethal and more transmissible. I recommend everyone watch the US CDC and Canadian CIDPC weekly data being reported (and world data for that matter), very carefully in the oncoming months, for peculiarities. One doesn’t need to be a virologist, physician or scientific genius to interpret basic data. We should all be looking for people like Revere, Niman and ProMed for confirmation of things, rather than first-opinions.

Humans and our ancestors have indeed survived more than five million years, having to endure ice ages, impacts from space, and global pandemics. That’s why we’re all here. However, it would be a mistake for everyone to believe that modern technology, bio-science and the “government” in the 21st century, are going to mystically and automatically guarantee our continued individual survival.

Happy New Year everyone and nope, I’m not going away. I’ve decided to stick around for a while longer. I think the world needs a aging crustacean like me.


At 3:14 PM, Blogger Orange said...

My favorite flu quote from a CBC docudrama:
Dr. Robert Fedson

"There is nothing in Darwinian evolution that says that our DNA has to survive compared to say the DNA of an earthworm. I mean Darwinian evolution is completely indifferent to which DNA happens to persist. We are not necessarily unique as a species as far as evolution is concerned and we can disappear like other species have already disappeared."

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I like your quote very much.

One of the things we all need to look for, that I hinted about yesterday, is more up-to-date data. In particular, we need to see more in-depth clade studies of 2006 samples of H5N1 in 2007, which might indicate reassortment with human influenza viruses H1 and H3. This is where the action is. There is no evidence I am aware of that prior to 2006, H5N1 isolates acquired nonavian genes by reassortment, so sleep peacefully. But, I know some 2005 human H5N1 isolates in circulation show evidence of clear antigenic drift and I suspect this to be again true for 2006, once further data is released, so we need to decipher these studies carefully. By watching the phylogenetic H,N and M genes very closely, we will be able to ascertain their further coevolution, resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, etc), and interpret their transmissibility (antigenicity) by basic molecular analysis. Hear me carefully now, the most worrisome thing about H5N1 is that it is segmented into 8 separate RNA molecules, which means it now has a remarkable ability to further develop into varying different patterns, and this allows further frequent genetic exchange of information (each one) by potential reassortment in hosts infected with two or more influenza viruses.

But I don’t intend to lose to the earthworms.



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