Saturday, February 10, 2007

February 9 Flu Update

Four children have been taken to the hospital in Batman, Turkey with suspected bird flu. There was an avian outbreak in that area.

UK poultry sales are not seeing any effect from the bird flu.

UK is checking for infected birds in the "human food chain."

Revere on Britain...and how all the assurances were passed by the facts.

Additional farmer is being tested for bird flu in Britain.

H5 confirmed in Hong Kong, further testing underway.

CIDRAP on Turkey, Turkey in England, etc.

A British and Greek study says that it is smart to have two sets of anti virals to help hold off a pandemic.

Britain is also upping its Tamiflu stockpile.

The Wild Bird Survey says Canada is safe from bird flu.

Speaking of wild birds. Dr. Nabarro at the UN says that recent outbreaks are the result of smuggling infected birds...not migration.

Same presser, Nabarro says that the countries have to cooperate to fight the bird flu.

Council of Foreign Relations updates its readers on the bird flu.

Nigeria looks back at one year of the bird flu.

China is going to work on fighting fake and counterfeit drugs.

More on a trial for fake Tamiflu in China.

Grants awarded in Illinois for bird flu.

Revere blogs the cats, again, stating that needed research should be done.

1 Comments:

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Most of us have been following the GB H5N1 infested turkey situation pretty carefully, wondering how their DEFRA organization and the government dropped the ball.

Myself, I believe it’s simply a case of ineptness on part of the British government and Bernie Matthew’s company. It does seem that after a week of confused facts and statements, that the transfer of contaminated processed turkey birds from a farm in southeastern Hungary is the culprit. Of course, the bigger question is – did the infected poultry meat entry into the food supply chain there ? Sounds like it did. It also sounds like once this is public knowledge, we may see the reverse headlines: “Poultry sales plummet because of bird flu”.

The larger issue in this debacle centers around the important message this sends to GB and all western countries: they need to take bio-secure control procedures a lot more seriously, relative to any mega-poultry operations, rigorously enforce their actual on-site inspections, and provide for stiff penalties for violations. There’s no other way around it. The only way to get the big agri-businesses attention, is by way of the pocketbook. In the end, the industry there will normalize and it will be business as usual, but a message to the poultry industry needs sent… wise up guys, get with the program, you’re gonna pay dearly, and maybe even go to jail.

A person has to wonder, if the infected meat did in fact enter the food chain, is the population really safe ? They would only be safe in my opinion if they cooked or disposed of the meat properly. But, what happens, say, as some Briton’s must have already done, looked in their fridge’s and just heaved the H5N1 infected meat into the local trash dumpster, which is then summarily eaten by rodents and feral cats. Where does the H5N1 virus bus stop next ?

The article about the “Wild Bird Survey” from Canada declaring that all is safe from the deadly bird flu, is well, quite misleading – it’s all about semantics and spin my friends. Reading the report carefully, it says, “Many birds were diagnosed in the survey as having subtypes of the H5 and H7 strains of avian influenza… findings not unexpected… Influenza viruses commonly circulate in wild birds with little or no impact on the health of the birds or other species”. Everyone please note carefully that this type explanation is almost identical to the recent USDA type reports of birds surveys in the US. All is not well and some of us are extremely skeptical of this type reporting.

For the record, LPAI or HPAI is determined only according to laboratory tests of pathogenicity. The WHO for example, establishes that an avian influenza virus with the subtype H5 or H7, with an intravenous pathogenicity index of greater than 1.2 in 6 week-old chicks , is an HPAI virus. Alternatively, an avian influenza virus that causes 75% mortality in 4-8 week-old chicks, is also considered to be an HPAI virus. So, basically, if the H5 or H7 virus does not kill a chick, then it’s simply classified as LPAI. Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it ? But… nevertheless, LPAI can mutate into HPAI, and has.

While LPAI is predominately only a mild illness (or asymptomatic infection) in birds, and while no human deaths have been associated with any LPAI viruses, it is very important to note that these viruses still have tremendous pandemic potential. Also, it is very important to remember that some LPAI H5 and H7 virus strains have in fact mutated to HPAI following circulation in domestic poultry flocks. Furthermore, during the 2004 outbreak in British Columbia, the H7N3 virus was initially LPAI, but switched to HPAI within days of the first outbreak on the index farm, through an only very minor recombination. This doesn’t sound like such a good deal.

Always remember this: when you hear North American reports stating that only LPAI type H5 and H7 viruses are residing in birds, and not to worry, all is not quite well.

Because these are exactly the same subtypes, even though they may not kill birds, which still cause scientists the greatest pandemic concern. That can, and sometimes do, mutate to HPAI – no speculation at all about this.

Wulfgang

 

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