Sunday, January 28, 2007

January 28 Flu Update

A 14 year old Azeri boy is dead, and he died before testing could be finished on suspected H5N1. His samples have been sent off for testing.

ProMed runs the denials. No bird flu, and the boy was negative, they say.

Thailand reports that 222 suspected cases nationwide are all negative.

Bird flu could be spreading in Japan.

Vietnam is sending more vets into the Mekong Delta.

LA Times on the work to speed up human vaccine production.

The AP weighs in on the US pandemic preparation---is the US ready?

Trailers packed with cots and medical supplies are parked in secret locations in Colorado, ready for doctors to open makeshift hospitals in school gyms if a flu pandemic strikes.

Parts of southeastern Washington state are considering drive-through flu shots during a pandemic -- although a practice run this fall showed they had better hire traffic cops.

China says vaccination and monitoring have kept bird flu down.

They are trying to get farmers more educated on bird flu in Sri Lanka.

In Thailand, they are recommending that during a pandemic business executives should get bird flu shots.


At 8:33 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


When one reads the AP article out of Orlando, you can’t help but draw a couple of conclusions…

• About only half of the states are serious in their pandemic planning attempts, as evidenced by their orders for anti-virals – let’s hope we live in one of these responsible states.

• There is still a tremendous lack of integrated national leadership and realistic guidelines for assuring that school closure policy is established, critical food supply deliveries are maintained, ensuring that critical utilities stay on-line, assuring scarce anti-viral’s and vaccines, as well as all pharmaceuticals are prioritized and stockpiled properly, and keeping national security and safety as a top priority.

• Virtually no states nor the federal government has established work absenteeism or quarantine guidelines to follow.

• There is no nationally integrated policy nor provisions to keep stockpiles of food, gasoline and essential fuels, nor guarantee adequate distribution.

• Ditto for essential national communications, including the phone system and internet.

• No national or state policy or guidelines for our nations prison systems.

• No national or state policy or guidelines for dealing with mass number of mortalities.

• No national Red Cross plan for dealing with a US pandemic disaster.

And speaking about the American Red Cross organization… it is an organization that is supposed to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. It has a $ 4.1 B budget, its president earns in excess of $ 200,000 a year, it is made up of 1.33 M volunteers and about 29,850 paid employees. Its specific funded activities include: disaster planning, preparedness, community education and relief; emergency communications and assistance to members of the Armed Forces and their families; international disaster relief and preparedness; health and safety services; and management of blood products. Where do they weigh in on national pandemic guidance and planning activities ? I guess that’s left up to each of its 1,300 local chapters.

It’s all about leadership.

I am not surprised in the least that the US states are generally not prepared for a pandemic disaster. In today’s edition of the USA Today newspaper, there is a front page headline about the US Army Corps of Engineers who identified 146 critical levees in 30 states that may fail in a flood. Most of these particular levees were originally built by the Corps and turned over to the states, which are responsible for maintaining them. The fact is, they haven’t been maintained and the risk to human life is now substantial – larger than New Orleans. My point is, if the states are failing to take responsibility to maintain critical levees and jeopardizing countless thousands or millions of lives, what would make them suddenly care about a sketchy avian pandemic ? Nothing. They haven’t learned a thing from Katrina.

Once again, it’s all about leadership and taking responsibility.

My father, Siegfried, used to quote Henry Ford constantly, who said, “You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think the world owes them a living. They don’t seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together”.

Heck, even Superman’s uncle said, “with power comes great responsibilities” !


At 8:55 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Just a quick follow up note. If anybody thinks I'm being too hard on the US Red Cross... well, go to their national web site. You will see that they discuss all kinds of specific disasters in great detail and how citizens should prepare: for blackouts, chemical emergencies, drought, earthquakes, fires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, mudslides, terrorism, thunder storms, tornado's, tsunami's, volcanoes, wildfires and windstorms.

But guess what - not a word mentioned about pandemic planning.



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