Monday, March 12, 2007

March 11 Flu Update

Based on three straight days of success, Kuwait says bird flu is contained.

ProMed on Egypt (recent case).

New Zealand says it is ready now that it has enough Tamiflu for 30% of its population.

Culling continues in South Korea.

Worcester MA, the city which actually tested how fast it could vaccinate people, continues with the bird flu drills.

India has a poultry vaccine. No one wants it.

Pennsylvania (Lebanon) is conducting flu planning, with a strong eye toward how the area was hit in 1918.

Pacific Island Health Ministers are meeting to discuss the bird flu.


At 6:53 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The differing avian virus news coming out of Kuwait and Egypt in your articles, I guess just shows how two culturally similar countries (but economically mismatched), can manage H5N1 virus outbreaks in entire dissimilar fashions. Kuwait, with a much higher per capita income of approx $ 24, 000 per individual, seems to have contained its outbreak quite efficiently, as compared to Egypt with a per capita income of $ 1,250, which is still struggling to contain its infestation. However, according to the CIA World Factbook, tiny Kuwait only ranks number 81 in GDP for 2006 at $ 52.2B, and Egypt ranks number 34, at $ 328.1B. There’s got to be a hidden message here someplace – perhaps it is in fact a combined cultural, low per capital income, and geographical density situation driving the Egyptian bird flu dilemma.

Then there’s New Zealand, one savvy country on top of the pandemic game, who’s stockpiled enough Tamiflu for 30% of their entire population, while at the end of this calendar year, the US will be lucky to have stockpiled 12%. We only had enough to cover 6% at the beginning of this year. I would venture to guess that if a pandemic emerged sometime this year, expect chaos, once 90% of the US population find out they are essentially “on their own”, courtesy of the US government. But we’ll win the “war on terror”, one way or another, by God.

I noticed in the article from South Korea, they have culled a phenomenal two million poultry since last November 25, 2006. That is one heck of a lot birds, and prior to that, in 2003 and 2004, they wasted another five million birds, at a cost of an estimated one billion dollars. That sounds to me like one serious determined effort to rid themselves of this virus, all around.

If they had bought some of the Indian bird flu vaccine, they may have saved a little money. I’m almost convinced that maybe this situation with the Indian vaccine, is cultural in nature, also – maybe there’s too much curry involved in the process or something.

I thought your two preparedness articles, one from Lebanon, Pa and the other from Worcester, Ma, was another set of contrasting situations. As the Pennsylvania article pointed out quite vividly, there is quite an inconsistency in their assumptions, readiness and even understanding of what a pandemic even is. One gets the distinct impression they are wholly unprepared, while a lot of money is being paid out, simply to pay salaries and develop some questionable paper planning documents. As the article states, “At some point, we will put out some guidelines for the public. On the other hand, one see’s clearly that Worcester, Ma, has given the situation considerable thought, funded the initiative, and are well into getting their entire comprehensive program into place.

All I can say Orange, is that if I lived in Pennsylvania, and this is any indication of their pandemic preparedness… I’d be making real good friends with the Amish there. I have a feeling the Amish may be one of the few people during a pandemic, who may fair the best of all of us during a pandemic. They mostly are self sufficient any way, and have been for hundreds of years. A pandemic would be no big deal to them I suspect.

It was my old stomping ground where I grew up…now I live in a large megalopolis where I have to keep my car doors locked at all times, so some punk doesn’t try to jack my car, and I have to act like Dirty Harry half of the time while I’m ordering an ice flavored slushy at a 7-11 store.

A pandemic may prove to quite interesting when it comes down to lasting impacts on the current American culture.



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