Sunday, February 25, 2007

February 24 Flu Update

ProMed has news on what appears to be a new case in Indonesia. 26 year old man died of suspected bird flu, a couple of days after his chickens began to die.

The boy in Egypt who was H5N1+ has survived.

The Zoo in Pakistan will test bird and employees every three months for bird flu...

which started, as it turns out, with a peacock.

Another Nigerian state says it is planning to fight the flu.

Thailand is producing its own Tamiflu, saying there is no patent protection in its country.

We ran the American Public Health Association's stuff a couple days ago....their pandemic plan. Revere doesn't think much of it.


At 12:14 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Interesting how even on a slow day you managed to print some stimulating articles.

Since you posted the Pakistan article this morning about avian influenza breaking out in their Islamabad zoo, due to peacocks, the government of Kuwait has revealed a similar problem in their zoo. It does seem to be beginning to appear that H5N1 is becoming as firmly entrenched in Russia, the Middle East and African countries, as in Asia and China. Note in your article in Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Mpi states that in Nigeria, it is “against the policy of the federal government to vaccinate birds”. My conclusion is that until these countries institute semi-annual poultry vaccination program and procedures – we are all chasing our tails.

Most of us have no problem with third world countries like Thailand producing their own generic versions of Tamiflu. It's their main line of defense and they must make it affordable. They have no choice, due to the overuse of amantadine and rimantadine in these countries, most of the flu strains are now totally resistant– in fact, most of these older antivirals are available over-the-counter there now, but fairly ineffective. The problem will become however, Tamiflu will run down the same resistance path, and most of the influenza Type A strains now circulating in the hemispheres, including H5N1, will quickly become resistant to Tamiflu also. Without a suitable H5N1 type vaccine on the horizon, this necessitates bringing more antiviral alternatives on-line quickly, or even our theoretical “antiviral line of first defense” will crumble. It really doesn’t take a brain surgeon to think their way through the antiviral situation.

Revere doesn’t think much of the APHA’s recommendations and lack of leadership, and neither do the rest of us – it’s downright embarrassing. A written set of recommendations is not a call to action, nor is it substitute for leadership, it is just another document. If the APHA wants to really get into the game, it’s going to have to spend some serious money and get into the “political influencing”, or lobbying process. Heck, that’s why the old geezer’s in the AARP and the gun nuts in the NRA are so powerful – they both have tremendous political clout to make policy changes.

For example, AT&T Services and its affiliates reported spending $ 13.6M in the last six months of 2006 on lobbyist activities alone. AARP reported spending $ 11M, Pfizer spent $7.7M and the Boeing company reported $ 5.2 in the last half of 2006, as well. I will conclude this civics lesson by saying… most politicians and political parties respond to those who fund them due to common ideologies and shared interests.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf says: “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership”.

This is why you don’t see the General any longer associated with the Bush Administration. This is also the reason the APHA appears to be toothless.

Excellent call Revere.



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