Friday, February 09, 2007

February 8 Flu Update

Not surprisingly, three poultry workers have now tested negative for bird flu.

Here's one for your migratory bird debate. The current theory is that the bird flu got to England via Hungary and the import of infected birds following their outbreak there. (This will also lead to quicker import bans when a country has an outbreak.)

Here is more from the Guardian on this suspected link.

South Africa is banning import of British poultry.

There's an outbreak in SE Turkey (among birds).

The government in Pakistan, as governments do everywhere, is downplaying the risk of bird flu.

ProMed on Turkey, Britain and Pakistan.

ProMed on the second confirmed patient in Indonesia, also reported yesterday.

African author notes that the media must be involved in pandemic prep. (Personal note: this is completely true. Changing or influencing human behavior is a major part of the equation).

CIDRAP weighs in now with notable quotes from its conference in Orlando. Note, with alarm, that Margaret Chen says global spread will take three months. Article is chock full on nuggets of wisdom, including from Peter Sandman, Risk Communication Guru.

CIDRAP on OSHA guidelines mentioned here previously.

From Southern Mississippi, an excellent story on pandemic prep for a local audience.

Same paper: personal tips on preparing for a pandemic.

Here's an interesting piece. Freeman, a company that produces "face to face events" (ie, conferences), is wondering how pandemic will effect its business.

Nice story from Britain on the nuanced reaction to bird flu that is appropriate.

Revere blogs (again) the Indonesian virus story. I agree with Revere. While I understand the nation trying to protect its interests, a virus is not property...and it isn't intellectual. You didn't create it with your brain (my comment).


At 6:13 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


You posted two really excellent A+ articles in your group today.

The first was the Scidev editorial written by Julie Clayton, which emphasizes the importance of empowering the media, health and veterinary experts and government officials, to all work jointly in national pandemic communications and planning. Makes perfect sense.

The second excellent article is the Exhibitor News Network piece which describes the comprehensive pandemic planning accomplished by the Freeman Company. When I read that every Freeman employee will have gone through their “Teamwork in Crisis: Are we Ready” pandemic planning seminar by the end of Feb 2007, I literally smiled. This is one company that “gets the message” and has its future and employees at heart. Wow !

Regarding the CIDRAP article on the 2007 Orlando Summit conference on business preparedness for pandemic influenza – after reading the notable quotes, I have a couple of observations. First, John Barry’s comment: “… planning documents do not equal preparedness”, brought to mind specifically the joint DOL and HHS Workplace Health Guidance document released earlier this week – nice piece of paper guidance, but not a pandemic plan by a long-shot. John Barry’s second quote that the “CDC advice pays little attention to the possibility that the next pandemic will have multiple waves”, has been noted as a obvious deficiency by many people, but even better than he openly said it.

Note also the utter confusion and inaccuracy when it comes to the viability of the internet backbone to hold up, during a pandemic. I can 100% tell you and your readers that experts in the government (not connected with the Homeland Security Council or the DHS) expect it to crater within a few weeks of an emerging pandemic, due to overload and lack of maintenance. Neither Venkayya or Martinez-Fonts have a clue when it comes to an internet vulnerability discussion. They are out of their element.

Also, Dr. Osterholm’s revelation that “ governments would seize privately held supplies of vaccines, antivirals, drugs, masks and respirators, in two states”, really raised my eyebrows a little, since actions like this spell guaranteed potentially violent social and civil confrontation waiting to happen. Let’s just say…I think there will be major disagreements of position between citizens, businesses and the government, during a Cat 4-5 pandemic, on property rights. Simply, the US isn’t unarmed like Great Britain or Australia, and many large businesses and corporations learned valuable security lessons from Katrina about protection of life and property – even if the federal government in general hasn’t. Force protection has become a serious multi-billion dollar industry. I personally know of several corporations and businesses with deep pockets, who presently have in place, or will be able to execute, better security protection equipment and emergency protection procedures, than any large city law enforcement agency in the nation.

Like the Indonesian demands of compensation and intellectual property rights for their viruses… in the final analysis… possession amounts to nine tenths of the law in most cases. (my opinion)

Finally the two articles out of Southern Mississippi were quite interesting, well written and informative. There are two important observations though, that need to be made, as notes of clarification when it comes to the CDC plan: first, when people say the CDC Preparedness Plan Category 5 type pandemic is like 1918, it in actuality STARTS at the 1918 level of severity, and it goes up from there. Secondly, the CDC indexes are indeed sequentially phased similar to the different levels of a hurricane, but like a hurricane, these conditions or phases can be attained almost simultaneously, in a matter of hours or days – hence, there is a natural human tendency to mistake these phases for large time duration increments and to be lulled into complacency, similar to the WHO pandemic alert levels, which seldom change, if ever.



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