Thursday, March 22, 2007

March 21 Flu Update

Three new avian cases of flu were detected in Kuwait.

There's a fresh bird flu outbreak in Burma/Myanmar

ProMed on recent outbreaks.

This case clearly concerns WHO--they are calling for stronger controls in this country.

An alert reader sent this along....there is now free software that will help a hospital predict mass casualties in its neighborhood.

A Buffalo company is being paid millions to produce the flu virus (I thought it happened naturally! Just kidding).

The Japanese say Tamiflu is inappropriate for teenagers.

Vietnam will start producing bird flu vaccines this year (for birds).

Thailand is standing with Indonesia on its vaccine stand off with WHO.

CIDRAP says WHO is meeting with Asian nations on the vaccine question.

Revere notes that all this argument is about a vaccine that won't even begin to have sufficient supplies for the world.

Vietnam reminds of the need for diligence, despite "temporary" absence of bird flu.

An isolation ward has been established at a hospital in Bahrain--it has 16 beds.

The H9N2 case in Hong Kong is putting increasing pressure on the country to ban live poultry markets.

The US has provided bird flu equipment to Vietnam.

Philippines vows to continue to fight bird flu.

It's all for the kids--Philippines announce that bird flu protections protect children first.

ProMed says Laos outbreak was related to cock fighting.


At 6:49 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Nice set of information on your website today.

It’s interesting to see how the various governments and countries of the world are dealing with their bird flu outbreaks: some give it lip service and do little or nothing (Indonesia, Laos- where essentially back yard unregulated poultry and cock fighting, and illegal transport, is still permitted) , others make futile half-hearted attempts but lack the means or will (Vietnam, Burma), and others proceed in a reasonably diligent educated responsible manner – like the Philippines, Kuwait and Hong Kong. These last three countries are notably serious in dealing with the elimination of the threat, and should be commended. I will say though, Vietnam doesn’t appear to be wasting any time, and may be the only Asian nation, other than China, which will soon have its own vaccine production capability.

The key to preparing for the looming pandemic is for all of these countries is to absolutely establish vaccine production, as soon as possible, while there is still time to do so.

Speaking of a pandemic vaccine, the mess with Indonesia continues on, and may even get messier, if the 10 member association of Southeast Asian Nations, fall in line behind Indonesia. I truly believe this is all to do about nothing and rather academic at this point, and a complete distraction. They are just following China’s example, Ms. Chen. The raw fact is there will be no capability to supply the world with sufficient vaccine for the next 5-10 years, so ranting and raving now about who has access to vaccines and who doesn’t, and who is rich and poor, is nonsense. I predict the stance being taken by Indonesia will backfire on them – either the pandemic will be caused by another mutated strain completely different, or a technical breakthrough associated with adjuvants will occur, but one way or another, Indonesia and other countries that are hell-bent on blackmailing the western world – are going to get their due justice.

China is not particularly worried about an H5N1 pandemic, because they most logically have already developed, tested and are manufacturing their own human Fujian-type (as well as others) vaccines in bulk, ahead of everyone else. Since they are a potential epicenter, they would have foolish to not have already made serious preparations. They are holding their vaccine aces really close to their vest.

The CIDRAP article quoted Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari, as saying “ that an inability of poor countries to access vaccines during an influenza pandemic could threaten world peace”. Yes, Ms. Supari you are correct. Right in your own back yard. Dealing with the toothless UN WHO is one thing, but having to deal directly with superpowers during an emerging pandemic, who can erase you off the world map with a couple of fingers on a button, or reduce your economy to 16th century bartering levels, is quite another.

If a pandemic were to break out in the next two years, there would be a mad international-scale scramble for the latest available strain samples and vaccines, and I’m afraid Indonesia may not make to the starting line, no matter what agreements it believes it has. The best hope Indonesia has, is to stop whining and start investing and developing its own vaccine production capability, and “rich” countries are willing to assist it in doing so. The sooner it realizes this and stops with the theatrics, the better off it will be.

If Indonesia and other Asian countries think they have an ally in China during a pandemic, they really better think again – to China, the 10 member association of Southeast Asian Nations would be a perfect opportunity to expand its own land borders on the guise of “humanitarian purposes”, as the result of a pandemic. Farfetched ? China needs more land and resources badly, so most assuredly, good bye Taiwan, at a minimum.

But watch, Indonesia still will be cry-babying two to four years from now, and there will still be several million loose chickens running around clucking throughout Jakarta. Talk about a slow people and slow government who just “don’t get it”.

The free software developed by Johns Hopkins which derives plausible casualty estimates of what hospitals may expect as the result of a disaster, is interesting. I wonder if anyone has actually used it in an integrated way to estimate the surge demand for a pandemic on a state or national scale ? (I guess we could exclude Florida and Georgia from the estimates, since their legislatures don’t seem to care enough to purchase Tamiflu). It might be nice if they did.

Finally, I would like to throw out a thought for everyone, including you Orange, who reads this: if a pandemic does emerge and has clear recognizable signs and scientific based warnings to be a severe 1918 like event, or greater – think about what your family location plans are.

I believe it might come down to what realtors always are saying.

Location, location, location….



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