Monday, March 26, 2007

March 25 Flu Update

A three year old who is said to have had "direct contact" with infected poultry has bird flu in Egypt.

Bird flu spread to three new farms in Bangladesh on Sunday

Helen Branswell on the flu dispute with Indonesia.

The Bahrain cabinet was informed that it has enough vaccine to ward off an "unlikely" outbreak of bird flu. No word if they have enough for a likely outbreak *rimshot*

Saudi Arabia is adjusting its pigeon racing schedule due to the outbreak in the eastern part of the US.

Pretty good FAQ distributed for a general audience in Bangladesh.


At 6:18 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your article relative to the new human avian influenza case involving the little three year old girl in southern Egypt, kind of makes everyone wonder if Egypt is now becoming the middle eastern version of Indonesia.

Egypt appears to have much of the same endemic H5N1 associated problems as Indonesia: for example, lack of any real unified and forceful government plan for surveillance and eradication of the virus (we have all seen in other more successful countries which methods work best, it does require forceful methods, and a voluntary compliance type approach does not seem to work).

Other similarities include – weak veterinary infrastructure, the traditional cultural problems associated with close habitation with free roaming fowl, extremely heavy dependence on cheap poultry as a primary food source, as well as poverty, open wet markets and lack of education and rudimentary bio-security measures.

It is crystal clear from your Bangladesh article, and other news coming out of that region, that unless these countries quickly establish some form of reimbursement to the affected indigent poultry farmers and workers, the control measures they are implementing, are not going to be effective. As in the similar other under-developed third world countries, poor people are going to stop reporting, and start hiding their infected chickens, rather than starve or lose their sole source of income. The entire problem then goes “underground” and H5N1 becomes embedded in the geography, ala Indonesian style.

Then I guess they are entitled to throw down the “poverty card”, and hold the entire world hostage for the virus samples - which seems to be a good overall irresponsible, if not totally irrational and unworkable, strategy these days. They should call this new end-to-end cyclic infestation and hostage process, what it really is: “bird flu reparations”, or “reverse out-sourcing”.

In contrast, your Bahrain and Saudi articles point to some of the tough required measures those guys are taking, for example: Kuwait has “slapped a total ban on the import and export of birds, closed down bird markets, and shut the only zoo, where one case of an infected falcon was detected”. These kinds of quick and forceful measures provide a quick payoff in controlling the virus. Along with the threat of chopping peoples hands off who illegally engage in forbidden poultry activities - what more could you ask for ? (I know, I’m way out of line with some of these statements)

Orange, you are correct, the FAQ list from Bangladesh, was actually darn good. The only thing I wonder about when I see this type of information, is why they don’t include the mention of H5N1 infection in mammals, like swine, dogs and cats, for example ? Also notice that there is no mention of closing down their wet markets, cock fighting or illegal transfer of poultry and products across borders. Other than that, I agree, it’s still a pretty good list.

Since densely populated India is the last of the Indo-Asian H5N1 infected countries to still topple, I thought long and hard about this last domino situation, and how the first poultry outbreak can be reported to avoid panic -

Q: What do the sick Indian H5N1 infected chickens really have ?

A: "People-pox!"



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