Tuesday, March 27, 2007

March 27 Flu Update

The WHO/Indonesia standoff appears to be over. Indonesia will send samples to WHO, who (sorry) will in turn not send them to companies who have not pledged to distribute them to the poor world.

CIDRAP also reports on the accord.

Helen Branswell reports on the accord.

Two children in Egypt have bird flu. They are from different regions.

CIDRAP also reports on Egypt, and this from Indonesia: there are three suspected cases there, two of which are already fatal.

Update: These cases are all fatal now.

Monday and Tuesday, WHO and Asian nations will simulate the monitoring of a bird flu outbreak.

Revere weighs in on dwindling sympathy for Indonesia's position (before the accord was announced).

Two stories on the poultry market...from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

A chip may be able to diagnose a flu strain in 90 minutes.

In New Mexico, the state has produced a 35 page book that will help schools plan for an influenza pandemic.

In Rochester, volunteers showed up for a pandemic flu exercise.


At 3:41 PM, Anonymous mpb said...

The link to the NM story went to the TV news site which, like many, did not post a link to the thing they were reporting. (aaargh)

Here is the final link
Preparing for Pandemic Flu in New Mexico Schools - http://www.health.state.nm.us/ohem/documents/Prepaing%20for%20Flu%20NM%20Schools.pdf

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Of course the big news in your articles today is the fact that Indonesia has relented and agreed to start supplying samples of its virus strains to the WHO. Good move on their part.

In my view, Indonesia never developed the backing of the other third world countries to successfully pull off any binding agreement. I believe, once WHO spokesmen Dick Thompson and David Heymann, explained to Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, what actual few options they had available, I believe they were both handed their head in their hands (so to speak). The only option available is to cooperate, or lose a significant portion of your entire population to a pandemic. Still, even after their “agreement” was reached, they run the same risk as the rest of the world, in not being able to acquire the sufficient quantities of vaccine they will need during an extended pandemic. The world’s manufacturing capability, “is what it is”, and it will take years to increase it.

Summing the situation up, amongst the countries in the world today where the H5N1 virus is prevalent, there seems to be only two types: players and purveyors. Player-type countries proactively take any and all reasonable means to eradicate the virus possible – government enforced regulations, culling, vaccination, education, bans on backyard poultry, and strict quarantines. We can all easily recognize these countries that quickly react.

Purveyor-type countries, are those like Nigeria, Egypt, and Indonesia – who have such corrupt, ineffectual and inept governments, that they have no control measures, surveillance or partnering programs in place, to stop the potential for spread death and destruction. No amount of Tamiflu, health care, world assistance or vaccine will resolve their problems. China, falls into this category also. They clearly do not abide by the same transparency rules as the rest of the world, and only report outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry and human deaths, when it is convenient to them, or as a “token gesture”.

I believe if there is ever a pandemic surprise on the horizon, it will first be disguised and spin “out-of-control” in China, if it emerges there, because of their almost paranoid government stance against broadcasting any negative news. We all better hope a pandemic sparks in any other place in the entire world, because at least the chances will be, we will see open news reports.

Speaking of Indonesia Orange, notice in CIDRAP article that the lady who died from bird flu, lived with a “large number of cats”. If this keeps up, we may have to change the influenza threat to “cat flu”. Also notice that we don’t see Indonesia’s as a participant in the “Panstop 2007” table top exercise, being conducted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Finally, the news about the computer chip that may be able to diagnose 15 flu strains. I’ll believe it when I see it work.

Right now though, I have put this skeptical info in the same category as the “clapper” and “E-Harmony” – pretty well touted as the best thing since sliced-bread, but well, pretty impractical for most of us.


PS Lisa – saw your post yesterday.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I do not believe either the US or Canadian federal governments would actually try to abscond with any citizen’s private food or storage stash. But I absolutely think beyond any shadow of a doubt, during a severe pandemic, they would take any means and measures necessary, to keep social order and the pandemic illness from spreading, as well as strictly controlling nearly all critical supplies.
Extremes in either direction (too little, or too much control) have the potential for chaos, conflict and violence.


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