Saturday, March 24, 2007

March 24 Flu Update

ProMed with three interesting stories. First, the EU says there is no need to vaccincate fowl in Europe. Second, there are now cases in Bangladesh, reported earlier. And third, and most interesting, there are two strains of bird flu circulating in Thailand. Experts are worrying what might happen if they combine.

Ottawa County, OH, is preparing for pandemic flu. Note the involvement of the nuclear power plant, among others.

Odd but touching story about female farm workers in Bangladesh and their reaction to a massive culling in response to bird flu.

The United Arab Emirates says these birds won't give you bird flu.

Kuwait denies that there are new bird flu cases.

2 Comments:

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Well, my two comments to today will center on your ProMed article, and the piece out the Ottawa, Co, Ohio.

First, the three part ProMed article. While I believe Joseph Domenech of the FAO says it correctly that there probably is no need to initiate mass annual inoculation of poultry in European countries, my concern is that his advice will be misinterpreted in Asia and Indo-china, the current epicenter of the problem, where inoculation should be a requirement. Bangladesh, unfortunately in my opinion, is the second of three main dominoes that will fall, when it comes to H5N1 outbreaks in poultry: first was Pakistan, second will be Bangladesh, and thirdly (the big one which will be in the news), will be India. Its only a matter of time now. It is most notable to note that when India starts reporting poultry deaths, then a full 46% of the world’s total population of 6.525B people, which is concentrated in the Indo-china and Asia area, will be exposed to the deadly virus strains. Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, and Indonesia – alone, comprise 46% of the world’s entire population.

We are staring at a disaster waiting to happen.

You are right Orange, the most interesting part of the ProMed article is the third section, which describes the two different genotypes, or sub-clades of H5N1 found in Thailand. But I am not alarmed, for you see, this is not surprising and is to be expected. In fact, as time ensues, expect there to be even many more, as these various strains recombine, mutate and reassort.

This is what a pandemic is all about, as the virus evolves further in its many pathways to survive. Expect more strains to emerge and be identified. The new strain and sub-clade possibilities are endless.

My final comment is about the pandemic planning being implemented in Ottawa Co, Ohio. I believe there are some general misconceptions, of which I listed the top ten in my mind, here:

1. Families should have enough water and food to last two weeks: this should be raised to several months. This is easily achievable if one seriously plans ahead. Granted, the water part is challenging, but if one is innovative, it too is surmountable.

2. It will take 6-8 months to make and distribute a pandemic flu vaccine: it will take longer than a year, which will seem like an eternity to all of us. What little vaccine is or would be available during a pandemic onset, would go in priority order to the military, then to other essential personnel, which mainly excludes most of us. Pretty much figure you are own you own for several months, at least.

3. Surveillance of local hospitals, doctors offices, school nurses and public health departments will provide a reliable timely indicator that a pandemic is emerging: While true for an ordinary flu-like epidemic, it will not provide an indication that a pandemic has already emerged. Citizens should be reading news blogs and comments like your Orange, to spot world wide events which will trigger abrupt reactions which will begin effecting our lives almost immediately.

4. Statements by health officials that they will set up “mass-inoculation areas” are mostly well-intended, but fairly meaningless, during the first year onset of a pandemic: if no vaccine can be identified and mass produced for 12 months, then nobody is inoculating anybody for quite a while.

5. Basic health care will be available to treat influenza and unrelated illnesses: Ture during an normal influenza type epidemic, but during an epidemic, reliable poll estimates indicate that up to 80% of health care workers will not show up for work, out of fear or protection for their families. (Expect a similar sizable number of law enforcement personnel to be absent also). People are only human, and we cannot expect them to perform, what we ourselves would not do.

6. The Case-Fatality-Rate (CFR) during a pandemic, will be no worse than 1918, which was around 2.5%: the current CFR of H5N1 hovers around an incredible 60%, there is no scientific basis or reason that dictates that it must be lower. For that matter, the 30-40% “attack rate” of a pandemic influenza virus, is just speculation, it could be considerably higher, or lower.

7. The state and federal governments will not quarantine or close off travel during a pandemic: they will take what ever action is deemed necessary to stop the spread of a deadly virus and to maintain order – this includes termination of all international airline flights from infected countries, international boundary closures, and attempts at highway travel restrictions and closures, at a minimum.

8. Sufficient time will be available to secure adequate minimum supplies: the onset of a pandemic will be swift, and the resulting panic reaction by the public, will be much swifter. Within days of known pandemic announced anyplace in the world, shelves and supermarkets will most likely be bare, until the authorities intercede. If anyone thinks otherwise, then they really are deluded in their though processes.

9. Personal Protection Equipment items will be made available during a pandemic: quite the contrary, simple things like N95 masks, surgical masks, and Clorox disinfectant, will be completely unobtainable.

10. Gasoline, fuel oil and propane will be available during a pandemic: most likely it will not be obtainable. If truckers get sick with influenza like the rest of the population and cannot make deliveries, then you will not be able to fill your gas tanks. What fuel supplies which are available will go to emergency vehicles. (Same concept applies to all other essential supplies – no truckers, means no deliveries).

Mr. Sorrell, the Ottawa Co, Health Dept coordinator, is very correct in his statement, “If a pandemic-like 1918 happens again, it’ll likely be the worst thing we ever experience in our lives”.

Where do I get all these farfetched ideas from ? Reread my final bottom two paragraphs in yesterday’s comments to your articles.

I work for the government, that is no secret.

But I usually get my information from people who promised somebody else that they would keep it a secret.

Wulfgang

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Your final three paragraphs (from yesterday) are chilling indeed, Wulfgang.

 

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