Sunday, January 21, 2007

January 21 Flu Update

A suspected case in Thailand (duck herder) is negative.

This story seems to indicate that 111 people in the Mekong Valley were suspected of having bird flu and all of them had pneumonia. Report is sketchy....

UN says that even if the virus did mutate concerning Tamiflu, human transmissibility is not effected.

Intriguing post at ProMed. Has a candidate pandemic strain emerged?

The recent ProMED-mail posting entitled "Avian influenza, human (08): South Korea 20070111.0119", which commented on the lack of virulence of the H5N1 influenza strains (so-called V genotype) that have infected up to 9 humans in South Korea, is intriguing.

Even internal borders in Thailand are effected by bird flu measures.

A one-day bird flu "training camp" is slated for Indian Kashmir.'

In the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture is urging breeders to employ sanitation measures.

Chinese poultry slaughterhouses are switching to sales.

People in Odessa, TX, are reminded that if people clean out the grocery stores during a snowstorm, what would happen during a pandemic.


At 8:36 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your news today still doesn’t perk me up from my avian funk I’ve been in since the start of the new year. Let me explain.

I’ll start with my most critical comment about what the UN says about the H5N1 mutation situation in Egypt, Vietnam and South Korea – “At this time there is no indication that oseltamivir resistance is widespread to Egypt or elsewhere”, and “moreover, these mutations are not associated with any known change in the transmissibility of the virus between humans”. These praevaricatus type statements are easy to spot these days, especially as the spread of H5N1 rumbles on. Also, these are equivocating sorts of statements which really mean kind of the opposite of what is being said, in my opinion. A common rule in government statements is when you don’t know the answers, you deny any injurious evidence to the contrary.

The UN needs to pay close attention to scientists like Julian Tang (ProMed article), when she questions whether we are spending too much effort tracking the highly lethal Z type H5N1, rather than the South Korean V genotype, which probably has the 1918 attributes. The V genotype and the Egyptian subclade can be the leading indicators of the pandemic.

In the field of finance and economics, there are two proven indicators used to predict types of trends: leading indicators which can signal future events, and lagging indicators which follow an event. Coincident indicators occur approximately at the same time as the conditions they signify, and are not used to predict future events.

These same principles should be applied by the UN to effectively oversee, manage and predict avian influenza activity – the clear leading indicators are the numbers and locations of poultry infections, bird migratory patterns and related H5N1 animal virus mutations – which they should be investigating strenuously, as a highest priority. The lagging indicators are the culling and quarantining events, these are especially important because they indicate the ability to confirm infective geographical patterns are occurring, or about to occur – this should be the second priority. The important coincident indicators are the number of human illnesses, deaths, and related data which occur at approximately the same time as the infectious conditions they signify.

The UN needs to stop playing the pedantic middle ground and act like there really is a major reemergence of avian influenza occurring and that further critical mutations are unfolding around the globe. They need to stop viewing the spread of the avian influenza virus as merely cyclical or seasonal. We are now facing a grave situation where a complete new world-wide wave of infections are increasing, and if I were Dr. Nabarro, I would consider reengineering my entire approach based upon the most pressing priorities.

“The things that are most important don’t always scream the loudest” (Bob Hawke, really!)



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