Sunday, March 11, 2007

March 10 Flu Update

A four year old in Egypt has the bird flu.

Vietnam is also strengthening its fight against the bird flu.

300 people were mass tested for flu in Kuwait. Not surprisingly, those are coming back negative.

Scotland's bird flu plan is "laid bare."

The World Bank is giving $265 million to Nepal.

Nigeria continues to try and educate farmers on bird flu.


At 1:33 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


It’s kind of interesting what subtle facts are sometimes embedded in some of the short articles you post. This is one of those days.

For example, in your first article about the little tyke, Mo Ibrahim in Egypt, being diagnosed with avian influenza, it states that, “since the virus re-emerged in Asia in 2003, outbreaks have been confirmed in 50 countries and territories according to the WHO. There are 193 countries in the world at present – so, simple math says that 26% of the world’s countries have been infested with H5N1 avian influenza to date, not counting all the other Type A avian strains. If we did count all avian strains, it might even be much higher.

A 26% infestation number doesn’t seem alarming on the surface, however, we need to look a little deeper into what the current data are telling us. According to the CIA factbook, the population of the world is approximately 6.525 billion people. If one adds up all the populations of the 50 countries where H5N1 outbreaks have occurred since 2003 (yes, I did this with my WalMart calculator), the number is 4.141 billion people, so a whopping 65% of the entire world’s population live in a geographical area where the virus has been reported confirmed and they could have been (or are being) exposed to it.

Further, approximately 65.2% of the entire world population’s age structure, falls within the group 15-64 years of age, and nearly half of them, or 40.7% of these age-group individuals, are involved in agriculture or closely associated type farming, with animals and poultry.

Geographically, the physical map of the world reveals that the total area of the world is 510.1 million sq km, and 70.8% of the world’s surface is water, and 29.2% is land.

To me, these numbers and percentages indicate how the H5N1 virus has embedded itself and become endemic in these densely populated countries, and in certain areas in particular, that we are all familiar with. To date, the total number of human infected H5N1 cases reported to the WHO is 277, and deaths total 168. This represents a 61% mortality rate. If one only counts the cases in year 2006, or 116 reported cases and 80 deaths, then the mortality rate of bird flu has been a whopping 69%.

The Great Influenza of 1918 documented CFR rate of around 2.5%, pales in comparison.

Given the fact that the current 2007 epizootic situation is looking no better than 2006 or prior years, it now appears that currently circulating strains of H5N1 viruses are becoming even more adept at causing deaths in poultry and animals, than were it’s predecessors. Regardless of the massive poultry vaccinations of gazillions of fowl in Indo-China, it appears that infected poultry in these areas are becoming asymptomatic, shedding more H5N1 virus strains for longer periods, without showing any symptoms of illness. The H5N1 virus has now been documented in swine and cats, and all other kinds of mammals, in numerous countries around the globe.

And all these numbers and facts, are only based on what has been, or is, being reported – many cases are not, especially in China and Tibet.

Your article from Scotland regarding the seven page document that lists their shortcomings, failings and lessons learned, based on their reaction and management of the one lone case of the H5N1 infected swan that washed up on the Fife coast in 2006 - is an activity that all countries, like the US and Canada should pay immediate attention to. What they are cataloging as failings, could just as well apply to us here. We need to get our act together quickly, if that is even possible.

Even your article on rinky-dink Vietnam, cites the “Head of the National Steering Committee for Bird Flu Control” as their primary authority figure – who is that comparable individual in the US ?

Nobody knows. But our President and the CDC have announced pandemic planning initiatives. All states plans and federal avian influenza planning to date, without argument, is disjointed, inconsistent, non-integrated, and under funded.

In case you are wondering about the data dump of statistics I mentioned in the beginning, here is the significance.

What the summary data and percentages show above, is simply the following disturbing facts: 65% of the entire worlds population live in an area where H5N1 has been reported since 2003, 65.2% of the entire world’s population falls within a very vulnerable age group of 15-64 yrs of age (nearly half are farmers or agrarian in nature), and the mortality rate of H5N1 infections to date is 61%.

Coincidental relationships ?



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