Tuesday, February 20, 2007

February 19 Flu Update

According to this, 5,000 people were tested in Moscow for bird flu following an outbreak (only 20 were in direct contact with birds.)

ProMed on the sick 5 year old boy in Egypt. He is stable.

In Britain, the controversy rages. Government says there is "no reason to think" that the bird flu reached the human food chain.

Reduced turkey sales have caused layoffs at Bernard Matthews.

Students at the University of Michigan are wearing masks to test flu protection measures.

The bird flu in Britain is a teachable moment in classrooms.

Indonesia is planning on relocating its bird markets in 2008. I'm not clear on where they are going.

Scary headline from Russia actually merely confirms bird flu there is high path.

Russia is going to begin vaccinating poultry.

CIDRAP on Moscow outbreaks.

The Philippines are identifying the four areas most likely to have bird flu in one region.

Educational materials have been developed in Barbados for bird flu.

Armenia got $2 million in bird flu grants.


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The situation in Russia is rather interesting, as your articles indicate. It’s hard to determine if the heavy handed approach being taken by the government apparatchik’s there is just an artifact of the 1960’s, or if the current conditions in the farms and markets around Moscow are worse than indicated and not being sufficiently reported, and warrant the quarantines and monitoring of so many people. It could also be a situation where they are extremely concerned because there is currently a local ongoing regional normal influenza epidemic, and they don’t want to take the chance of H5N1 co-circulating with H3 in 10 million people, which might result in a terrible critical transmissible co-mutation.

I can understand their concern. As a frame of reference, New York City has a population of 8.1 million and is the most densely populated city in North America. The larger New York metropolitan area has a population of 18.7 million and is one of the largest urban areas in the world. New York City is also the center of the so-called Boston/Washington megalopolis region, containing 45 million people and comprises approximately 16 percent of the entire population of the United States. Imagine how nervous we would be if highly lethal H5N1 became evident several places around New York City, concurrent with a normal flu season epidemic.

I am going to attempt to use a little “juice” on the situation and get a first hand account of the ongoing events and local news, from relatives there in Moscow, within the next day or two. It all depends on if my cousin Ivan is sober and not locked up – but if he responds, I will share with you and your readers what is transpiring, and what the local Moscovites are saying. I can’t promise anything though, Ivan is a cantankerous suspicious old bugger.

I found the U of Michigan article kind of interesting. I doubt that surgical masks will be any issue at all during a pandemic. Similar make-shift protective masks were commonly worn during 1918-1919, and I think that people will acclimate well during a modern day pandemic, out of fear of the virus. The Michigan study should be able to provide some good points about continued long term usage, and I am hopeful they publish a report of their findings. Incidentally, regular surgical grade masks are readily available at most regular large drug store chains, for about .45-.50 each.

The article concerning the laid-off Turkey workers in Great Britain… now we know who really are going to feel the impact of the government and corporate bungling of that entire debacle. The hard working stiffs always seem to be the only ones who end up getting “keester-ized”, when governments and corporations make lousy decisions.

Sure, Environment Secretary David Hilibrand is correct when he states that there is no evidence that poultry products infected with H5N1 entered the food chain – the fact is, unfortunately, there is evidence that it entered the surrounding public refuse environment. Unfortunately, the birds and varmints that ate the contaminated discarded poultry trimmings in the local dump, probably will continue to spread the virus. More to come in the future on this front, I’m afraid.

And finally, the article from Indonesia, entitled, “Jakarta bird markets to be relocated in 2008”: I am as unclear and puzzled about their main objective, as you are. Simply shuffling bird markets, poultry farming and slaughter houses from one side of the city to another doesn’t seem to make sense, unless it tightens the consolidation and centralization of the total operations to a confined area. I am not certain what good this will do with the ka-zillions of infected chickens running around the place everywhere else.

Still, the government of Jakarta or Indonesia has not really impressed anyone yet with their wimpy responses and absentee-management of the H5N1 virus spread so far.



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