Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January 29 Flu Update

Sorry for being late, snow threw my schedule off....

ProMed on new case in Indonesia, a six year old child.

Nigeria is testing samples from 14 people, 3 of whom died. There is suspicion of bird flu and a potential cluster here.

(WHO says now there people were H5N1 negative, but may have had influenza).

No surprise here, bird flu outbreak in Southern Russia.

CIDRAP on the Russian outbreak. Note reference to potential new outbreaks in Hungary.

ProMed on Russian and Hungary. Note especially the mod comment on migratory birds--and other factors--that could be behind the spread of the disease.

Physician in Philippines says that people should not let the absence of cases distract them from the danger of bird flu.

Japan reports a third poultry outbreak.

Ukraine says it is taking special steps to prevent the spread of the bird flu.

Reuters fact box on the worldwide spread of bird flu.

GSK has filed its pre-pandemic vaccine in Europe. It is adjuvant-based.

Thailand has "changed" its bird flu strategy, though it is not clear to what.

Story on lab in Lincoln, NE that has developed a way to mass produce flu vaccine. This is, of course, a development that could save millions of lives.

A new fowl vaccine is being developed in Australia.

Company reports another vaccine effort for bird flu.

Thailand is considering building a vaccine factory.

Article in Bhutan says nation not taking bird flu threat lightly.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The Bhutan article was rather interesting. Bhutan has a population roughly in the neighborhood of 2.2M people, and the article states it has only 4,000 Tamiflu tablets on hand, enough to treat 2-400 people, depending on whether single or double doses are given. I would say that they need to get with the WHO and add about 1M more doses to the inventory if they want to get serious.

You are right, it is not clear what strategy Thailand is now considering as it develops its new 3-5 year bird-human flu strategy. I suspect at minimum it now includes vaccination of poultry, which they felt was unnecessary, up to now (seems like an expensive lesson learned to me).

The Ukraine article is quite interesting in its tone and text. Having grown up speaking Russian and accustomed to the stern government, my mind still imagines what might happen to the agricultural officials there if the H5N1 is allowed to spread…it used to be off to the Gulag… or at minimum, your state apartment was re-appropriated and your new job would be sweeping elevators. In any event, it would probably be reasonable to expect further spreading of the virus in Ukraine and Black Sea areas at some point in the future.

What is going on in Nigeria with the 14 individuals, like the Azerbaijan boy, is just down right perplexing. I guess it just goes to show how difficult it is to pinpoint this H5N1 virus, when there are so many other competing diseases as well as ordinary flu, in these areas. I get the impression though, if there isn't a reasonable certainty of H5N1 in the diagnosis, then pneumonia or H3 is the new fall-back cause.

My “quote for the day” goes to Georg Petersen, WHO representative in Indonesia, quoted in the CIDRAP article as saying, “We don’t see these new cases (i.e. Indonesia) coming in January as any major situation… It’s just too few cases to say there’s a trend”.

It only takes one mutation and one case to start a pandemic, Georg. Do you really know what the trend in Indonesia has been over the last three years ?



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