Sunday, February 18, 2007

February 17 Flu Update

ProMed with the day's news...potential outbreak on Papua, and apparent spread in Turkey, along with more on Laos and Russia.

Russia is reacting strongly as bird flu reaches near the capital.

Russia is not "ruling out" bio terrorism for the bird flu outbreak.

5 year old boy who died in Egypt was taking Tamiflu.

New Scientist on poor countries and the vaccine.

Bird in Hong Kong is positive for low path H5N1.

Another girl has fallen to her death in Japan with a potential Tamiflu link.

People in Bangladesh are reminded they are still at risk for bird flu.


At 12:25 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

A couple of quick comments about your articles today.

About the current H5N1 poultry outbreak in the areas surrounding Moscow – since their chief veterinary official has now hinted that bio-terrorism may be involved, I would hate to be some poor Moscovite on a government pension, barely eking out a living, who was in possession of infected chickens. The Russians don’t play around, like western nations. I have very little doubt that they will stamp out all the infected poultry, as well as any people who get in the way, or other potential vectors that may be involved. Permanently.

Regarding the situation in Egypt, something doesn’t sound right, according to the recent statistics: over the last year, 13 out of 21 known Egyptian cases have died, for a 62% mortality rate. Of the last 8 Egyptians to get infected, 7 have died, for an 88% mortality rate. Either, one of three things is happening– this worsening situation is being caused by the virus mutating significantly and becoming more Tamiflu resistant, or; and it is actually being caused by the delay of reporting symptoms as stated by the WHO; or both events are occurring concurrently. As Henry Niman always says, “this is cause for concern”, or “more information would be helpful”.

Finally the article about the Japanese young lady who took the fatal flying lesson from the 10th floor of a high rise building, after taking Tamiflu. There have been far too many reports of youngsters exhibiting erratic and irrational behavior after taking this antiviral, to not draw some sort of connection and causal relationship to Tamiflu, in my opinion. I believe anybody, who’s children were prescribed this drug, should be especially watchful and careful, for any signs of unusual behavior. Admittedly, I have not seen any other reports of this type bizarre behavior associated with the drug, except in Japan. So, it could even be a cultural problem. I have also read incredible reports indicating millions of doses of this drug has been prescribed (like candy) for ordinary influenza over the last several years, so it makes one wonder after having taken that much, if it would really be fully effective in a pandemic situation.

Maybe the new behavioral motto for Tamiflu should read, “be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down”.


At 12:46 AM, Blogger Crawford said...

Orange, you gave me a scare about the Egyptian 5-year-old. Some headlines have been deceptive about this case. As the story you linked to pointed out, he was alive as of Saturday. It was the 37-year-old woman who was the latest fatality in Egypt.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Crawford--thanks for pointing that out. My brain must have mis-fired. Sorry for the scare....


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