Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March 12 Flu Update (Late)

A 2o year old woman in Indonesia has bird flu.

ProMed on the Indonesian case. Get this: story says she was exposed when she "cleaned a spot where her neighbors had thrown dead chickens."

Over the past week, more bird flu cases have emerged in Afghanistan.

CIDRAP on the cases announced in Egypt and Indonesia.

ProMed on the latest new human cases, plus the WHO official case count.

ProMed with news (old) from China, Tibet and Afghanistan.

It appears a rough meeting was held in Vietnam to learn the lessons of last year's bird flu fight. If you will recall, Vietnam claimed to be flu free much of the year before the disease emerged again.

Deputy Minister Bui Ba Bong pointed the finger at the complacency of authorities and people in bird flu-hit provinces, saying their lax implementation of preventive measures was to blame.

Bong lambasted inefficient controls on the smuggling of infected fowl in border provinces, and admitted cold weather made for a ripe environment for the spread of the disease.

Kuwait continues to test Falcons in the zoo for bird flu.

Meanwhile, Hungary says it has cleared the nation of bird flu.

A Nigerian state has banned eggs from being imported.

A Japanese company has begun clinical trials of a flu drug in the US.

Bangladesh says migrating birds carry bird flu risk.

Fiji story on Pacific Island meeting on bird flu--no cases yet, but still at risk.


At 8:35 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your articles about Indonesia are revealing in the sense that if the 20 year old woman in fact did get the H5N1 infection from cleaning an area where her neighbors “dumped” a lot of dead chickens, then the general environment there may be significantly more contaminated than anyone realizes. Not surprisingly though, there have been many accounts in the Asian news about dead poultry carcasses that has been dumped in rivers and ponds, discarded in bags, and even eaten. As the one article states, “32M families in Indonesia raise chickens in their back yard”. In my view, it would take at this point, an act of God or a neutron weapon, to rid the island chain of all the endemic H5N1 contamination – and still we wouldn’t be 100% sure of total eradication.

For the impoverished countries of Afghanistan, Egypt and Indonesia, where literally millions of domestic poultry go unvaccinated, un-inspected, hidden from view, and depended upon for daily food, how does the cycle of H5N1 infection end ? We may not have the decades it will take to change the poultry consumption and cultural habits of these nearly near subsistence peoples. I see no clear solution to cleaning up the H5N1 endemic environments in these countries. Absolutely none.

The best we can do in my opinion is hope that a vaccine will be able to be produced in massive quantities in time to fend off the pandemic. Relatively futile and singularly token efforts like Nigeria is initiating, banning the importation of eggs, will have little effect. Other impoverished countries like Bangladesh are only biding time, before they’re hit with the inevitable.

I had to read the arduously written Fiji article a couple of times, to glean any message at all, until finally I found it several pages into the text… they are part of the Asia-Pacific epicenter of emerging diseases, like avian flu, SARS, typhoid, cholera, measles, leptospirosis, and dengue fever. Looks like they are part of the big epidemic regional magnet.

Finally, I see the innovative and ingenious Japanese, via the Toyama Chemical Co., are hoping to begin US trials on a new bird flu antiviral they will hopefully bring to market. Outstanding, however, one has to wonder why they don’t experiment on Japanese folks, or better still, on Indonesian’s, Egyptians, Nigerians, Thais, Laotians, Vietnamese or Tibetans. They all need the money, they get the flu more often, than most US or Canadian’s do.

The Japanese are very clever.

Clever men are good, but they are not always the best.



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