Tuesday, February 27, 2007

February 26 Flu Update

Setback on the vaccine front. The first tests from FDA show a 45% protection rate, and that is from a two-shot series. It would appear from this article that the vaccine does not use an adjuvant.

There are some outbreaks, starting in Afghanistan, where birds have been quarantined.

Bird flu has been confirmed in Northern Vietnam (in poultry)

The first reported human case in Laos has been confirmed.

More on Kuwait, with bird flu in the zoo and on the farm

CIDRAP also weighs in on Kuwait.

There are also reports of an outbreak in Hong Kong.

Egyptian officials are denying that there is a new human case.

There are no new cases in Moscow, however, or so they say.

The United Arab Emirates are prepared to fight bird flu.

This article says we have our first glimpse into the influenza replication machine.

Correctly, officials in the Philippines note that poultry farms are the biggest risk for bird flu.

Australian professor writes that bird flu has not gone away.

Is the Internet causing officials to lose important flu developments in the background noise as a European official suggests. Revere doubts it, noting:

But we need to recognize two things. The first is that the non-traditional sources such as local news media and chatter on internet boards contain potentially valuable information more timely than the usual sources. And second, that making mistakes is unavoidable in the face of uncertain data.

Finally, Dr. Osterholm writes in Foreign Affairs about how we are unprepared for a flu pandemic (preview only).

3 Comments:

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

One thing is noticeable absent from your articles today. Let me explain further. We have bird flu reports from all around globe today in the news, for example, in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Egypt, and Russia today. In addition, in the past three months alone, fresh poultry outbreaks have also been reported by Thailand, Turkey, the U.K., Hungary, Nigeria, South Korea, and Japan. But no reports from the virus queen of them all – China, which is conspicuously absent from the news. Everybody has to be wondering what going on in the land of Typhoid Mary. China appears to have the perfect monitoring and surveillance program within its borders – don’t report anything and declare yourself bird flu free. It is very obvious, in China, H5N1 is considered a state secret.

We no longer see reports from Xinhua, the official Chinese communist party new agency, about “mysterious illnesses or deaths” of poultry or swine farmers in Ziyang, Neijiang in the Sichuan province, or from the Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces. No outbreaks of avian influenza in Shantou, Hunan, Shenzen, or Yunnan have ever been reported, however it is common knowledge that it has occurred in all of these cities. Anybody notice lately that nearly any outbreak of illness in China in the last two to three years, is immediately denied by the government to be SARS, anthrax or bird flu, but only attributable to ordinary influenza and pneumonia, or some weird explanation like streptococcus ? And the WHO goes along with it like a meek little puppy lapdog. Eventually, China will no longer be able to keep a lid on their H5N1 situation, as a country with 1.3B people, it’s only a matter of time before they can’t duck the headlines.

If anybody thinks I’m pinging on China too much, wait until I get to the subject of India someday. Officially, India has declared itself bird-free also, but we all know better.

In regard to the Revere “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”, the assertion of the ECDC is rather ludicrous, in my view. Their complaint about the internet producing a flood of information which is drowning out the significant news, is rather preposterous. Most assuredly, one has to sift through mountains of the mundane, repetitious, in order to separate the arcane information from the important. Why some public or government groups believe they are the only experts in the world on subject like H5N1 is incomprehensible to me. Some of the most educated and knowledgeable individuals I have come in contact with, have been ordinary bloggers on the internet. In fact, some of the so called experts, like CDC Director Gerberding, are borderline competent.

I have said it before many times and I will keep reiterating the same thing: most likely, the normal everyday flu bloggers and news hounds, will be the first to spot an immerging pandemic – not the WHO, not the CDC, not the HHS or ECDC… it will be the ordinary Joe and Jane who are mining daily information looking for H5N1 reports and updates.

I love to read Dr. Osterholm’s comments about how unprepared the US and the world is for a pandemic. He is by far, one of the best examples of a knowledgeable individual and foremost expert on the subject of pandemics and planning, who is not associated with the government. I commend him as always for being brutally honest, his integrity, candid statements and his assessments of the sad situation. The US will be impacted almost immediately if an outbreak of H5N1 influenza breaks out anywhere in the world.

Always remember: Integrity is telling myself the truth - honesty is telling the truth to other people.

Wulfgang

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Wulfgang, as for China, you are right, we have to assume that there are at least avian outbreaks there. The hardest thing to see is that which is not there.

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Fla_medic in his Avian Flu Diary has an excellent summary of the following recent article from China:

"Medical experts try to downplay bird flu warning from leading researcher"

Link:
http://www.interfax.cn/displayarticle.asp?aid=21763&slug=HEALTH

I urge all interested readers to read this article to get a flavor for how China plays the bird flu game and controls their media releases.

I would like to add that in conjunction with this referenced article, I am hearing a few unsubstantiated reports coming out of there, which if true, would be rather alarming. Mainly coming from relatives there, second and third hand, but unsubstantiated and completely unverifiable due to the difficulty of getting accurate information. Rumors...

Wulfgang

 

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