Sunday, February 04, 2007

February 4 Flu Update

Dr. Nabarro says the flu should not spread in Britain due to quick containment there, but that overall cases should be expected to spike in the coming weeks.

Nabarro said a recent spike in human deaths in Indonesia meant the country must do more to fight the virus despite improving its efforts in recent months, including the cull of backyard chickens in the capital last week.

Perhaps. The Guardian weighs in with this well-reasoned leader. However, note that the turkey farm did not report the disease for 48 hours.

From Britain, risk of disease to humans "very low."

Britain has widened the bird flu containment zone.

Now that H5N1 has hit Britain, people are asking if the country has enough drugs.

From Australia, a reminder that bird flu left the headlines, not the world.

Revere reviews the pandemic plan from CDC. Basically, it is positive, though it falls short of calling for the nation to rebuild its public health infrastructure.


At 8:44 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I’m going to hold off on any more comments about the new CDC pandemic response guidelines, even though it’s tempting – I do have further remarks which I’ll make at a later date when the news is slow.

Two quick comments for you and your readers about the articles you posted.

First, about the bird flu situation in Great Britain. While we are all mostly quite certain that the Brits will be able to quickly contain this infestation of H5N1, the event itself has two hidden messages that are disturbing. Message one, is that every nation must have a robust emergency communication reporting system for epidemiological outbreaks, that reacts quicker in reporting suspected H5N1 infections like this, down to within a few hours – not days. The system must also be in conjunction with, and integrated with, the agricultural agencies within each country, so action can be swift. If we cannot rapidly respond to these poultry emergencies in better than two days and cordon off a large area, then one must wonder how efficiently a human-to-human pandemic emergency warning situation even has a prayer of working. At this rate...forget taking your Tamiflu in the required first 48 hours of exposure.

The second hidden message in the Great Britain situation is that it indirectly points out, once more, that the world is at the mercy of the third world developing countries. When it comes down to the final analysis, the ball is squarely in their court for the prevention of a pandemic by cleaning up their act. No doubt, Great Britain and the European nations will keep H5N1 under control in their territories. But we as a world are at the mercy of populations that have at best, a sixth grade education and whose annual income is less than what most people in the US and Canada spend on coffee at Starbucks and beer in a year.

My final comment is related directly to the article from Australia, which reminds us all that the threat of bird flu has not gone away and the virus continues to rapidly mutate. What is alarming about the article is that it points out two very grave H5N1 phenomenon’s that are allowed to occur. First, is the purposeful lack of reporting involving H5N1 outbreaks and infections in both poultry and humans, by many countries. This is a premeditated crime when it comes down to it, not an over sight. Second, is the fact that the fatality rate among humans continues to increase, but there is still not open sharing of virus samples for analysis and the development of vaccines. This could also be construed as a crime that could ultimately cost millions of lives around the globe.

Somebody needs to tell these countries the following, so they understand the situation:

“It., non nella pena, Nel delitto e la infamia, It., il reo D’un delitto e chi’l pensa: a chi l’ordisce La pena spetta”. (Vittorio Alfieri – Antigone)

Translation – Disgrace does not consist in the punishment, but in the crime, the guilty is he who meditates a crime; the punishment is his who lays the plot.



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