Monday, January 15, 2007

January 15 Flu Update

Back in the saddle. Winter seems to be bringing its normal outbreaks....

Very interesting post which a number of people have forwarded to me. The lead speaks for a hospital in Indonesia "overwhelmed" with bird flu cases.

An Indonesian hospital was overwhelmed with patients suffering bird flu symptoms as the disease spread further in Vietnam and Thailand reported its first case in poultry in six months.

ProMed with news...human case in Egypt. In Indonesia, the father in the potential cluster is reported to be H5N1 negative.

Here's the official WHO report from Indonesia.

The Ministry of Health of Indonesia has confirmed the death of a 22-year-old woman from Tangerang City, Banten Province. The woman, whose infection was announced on 12 January, died later that day.

The Ministry of Health has also confirmed two additional cases of human infection of H5N1 avian influenza.

A 22-year-old woman from South Jakarta developed symptoms on 6 January 2007 and died on 12 January 2007. Investigations into the source of her exposure found reports of bird deaths near her home in the days prior to symptom onset.

The 18-year-old son of the 37-year-old woman from Tangerang City, Banten Province has now also been confirmed as infected with H5N1 avian influenza. He remains in hospital in a critical condition. Investigations into the source of his infection indicate similar environmental exposure as his mother (editor's note: WHO at it again).

There's an outbreak of bird flu among ducks in Thailand, too.

More on Thailand.

ProMed on Thailand and Indonesia.

China says it will be effective and transparent in flu fight---these promises made to neighboring countries.

There are reports that bird flu is spreading in Northern Nigeria, too.

Effect Measure asks about this recent flu outbreak. Revere cites two possibilities. Either January is just a bad month (and that's possible), or we've seen a shift in the virus.

Right now this looks like "flu season." But this virus has proved everyone wrong more often than not.

The Mekong Delta remains on bird flu alert.

Japan, too? Birds culled in Japan after H5N1 found.

South Korea notes with nervousness the outbreaks around Asia.

Newspaper says West Java in Indonesia was slow to react to bird flu danger, which certainly has been echoed over the past couple years.

Should Indonesia ban backyard flocks?

Wow, here's an interesting pandemic plan in Britain. Everyone is supposed to name a flu buddy who will bring them Tamiflu, as opposed to having them report to an ER.

Under a national pandemic plan due to be unveiled this week, patients who fall ill with the highly virulent form will be asked to name a friend or relative to bring them emergency Tamiflu tablets, rather than see a doctor or nurse.

A consultant in Britain says that the bird flu could reduce the DJIA 10%.

Officials in Jamaica are warned to be ready for bird flu.

Revere v. Furmento continues....Effect Measure responds, if reluctantly, to a dumb-ass challenged from Furmento.

US experts issue reminder--bird flu will challenge US healthcare system.
He disagreed with the suggestion that the bird flu threat has been overstated by the media.

"The number of cases in 2006 was more than it was in 2005, which is more than it was in 2004 ... so it continues to go up in people," he said in an interview.

"And it continues to be just as lethal as it was in the beginning," Bartlett said at a conference aimed at helping U.S. hospital administrators prepare for a pandemic.


At 6:55 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Good to see you up and working the net again.

Regarding the article about the Indonesian hospital being “overwhelmed” with patients – this appears to be somewhat true, in the sense that their one particular hospital in mention, its small isolation and critical care room is full. People have to understand that the public hospitals in Jakarta are really “third world”, more like clinics to us in the western world. Most of us would not want to be admitted to one of their hospitals, and would prefer to be airlifted to health care in Australia, New Zealand or something more comprehensive. It truly is impossible to know if the majority of people are showing at the hospitals are really only showing signs of regular influenza illness, H5N1 infections, or something else. We never see any CDC-like weekly or monthly influenza data coming out of any of those countries, so it is impossible to tell.

Regarding Revere’s article… my opinion is that we are seeing, at least presently, a continuation and combination of the following annual cycle: unvaccinated poultry dying from H5N1 inflection, more B2H transmissions similar to 2004, 2005 and 2006. Nothing else is really evident, other than maybe the H5N1 virus adapting to prior inferior poultry vaccines. The fact that Indonesia contains an estimated > 200M poultry that turns over every six months, and they cohabitate with humans, plus, Jakarta and the surrounding countryside being one of densest areas in the world (> 25M population), invites a pandemic type disaster. This whole situation in Asia is a classic “wait and see” type scenario.

I really got a chuckle out the title of the article, “ Experts see bird flu challenge to US health system”, which mentions the many overwhelming problems all health care practitioners will face: lack of a pandemic vaccine for many months, shortfalls of medicine, respirators and health-care workers. “Challenge” is the wrong word, “assault” is the correct word. This is really so intuitively obvious. Many people would disagree with me, but “ethical problems” would be the least of society worries during a pandemic… let’s be realistic… one can easily visualize panic, potential complete health care system collapse in some areas, violence and lawlessness. Watch Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand for clues what might happen in a society – they will be the acid test in my opinion. Human survival behavior is essential the same world wide, when it comes down to it.

Which leads me to my final comment, which I hope is wrong Orange. What is happening now in Asia, in my opinion, are only the pandemic “storm clouds” on the horizon. Many of your astute fellow bloggers over the last several months have drawn parallels of an avian pandemic to a freight train, or even a hurricane. But, I believe we will get up one morning to check the world news, and the pandemic warning from WHO will really be like a tornado warning on the Fujiita scale: F1 means moderate, F2 means considerable threat, F3 means severe, and F4 means devastating. None of us would want to know what an “F5” means, which would probably be vastly more catastrophic than 1918.

This is not be a time to be caught in the avian influenza “tornado alley”, without a storm cellar.

I guess I have to stop watching Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz so much.



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