MArch 13 Flu updateAs reported earlier, the standoff between Indonesia and WHO continues. NO sample sharing until Indonesia is assured in writing that the strains will not be used in an "unaffordable" vaccine.
CIDRAP with what might be today's most far-reaching news. A review of studies says that influenza is generally not airborne, but is transmitted at close quarters. This is contrary to a great deal of research, which the study finds to be faulty. The research team supports more robust research and prophalytic anti-virals.
Dr. Osterholm has doubts:
Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News, expressed skepticism about the authors' conclusion that airborne transmission is unlikely to be a major factor in spreading flu. He said that view doesn't fit well with the seasonal flu's typical pattern of erupting nearly simultaneously in widely separated places.
"From my 30 years of experience I've always been impressed with how seasonal flu functions on a community basis as an aerosol-transmitted disease," he said. "We can see outbreaks in areas separated by hundreds of miles; that's much more consistent with an aerosol-transmitted pathogen—though that doesn't prove aerosol transmission. Pandemics have marched around the world in weeks to months in eras before we had jet planes. That smacks much more of an agent that's transmitted by the aerosol route."
We wondered here why the US was moving ahead with a pretty blah Sanofi vaccine, when Canada appears to have a better one that uses an adjuvant. Apparently, the US is now considering mixing the two approaches.
New avian cases have emerged in Myanmar.
India has banned the import of live poultry--pigs, and pig meat--from flu stricken nations. Inclusion of swine is interesting.
I have said here often that what fascinates me about the flu is how it finds the weak points in how we live...without fail, like water finding a leak. Here is a story in that vein...the cultural practices of rural villages in Egypt and how they contribute to the bird flu.
Also from Egypt, bird flu has emerged in flocks that had supposedly been vaccinated. It is unclear if the vaccine didn't work, if the strain is different, or people lied about their flocks being vaccinated.
24 penguins died at SeaWorld in Australia. Bird flu is ruled out.
Counties in Idaho are working on their pandemic prep.
Brazil says it has found an effective adjuvant.
Via an alert reader, Scottsdale AZ is also doing flu planning--before the issue hits the front page.