Thursday, March 29, 2007

March 28 Flu Update

A teenage boy died of bird flu in China. He was in the East, and while China says no one near him has the disease, there have been no bird outbreaks there.

ProMed on yesterday's Indonesian cases and two new cases in Egypt.

Bangladesh is putting the military on the bird flu case...

while the country seeks international help for better testing.

Birds continue to be sick in Bangladesh.

In Afghanistan, bird flu outbreaks are becoming more common, and have hit the capital.

CIDRAP reports on the Chinese case, and confirmation of previously announced cases in Egypt.

ProMed on a surge in cases in Myanmar and the outbreaks in Afghanistan.

Doctors are testing the idea of doubling Tamiflu doses to try and prevent deaths. That, of course, is an important thing to find out, though it would effectively halve the stockpiles. I wonder if the effect preventive dose is different from the therapeutic dose?

St. Joseph's, a University in Philly, has a flu plan.

Hmm. The Kuwait flu team says it is being completely transparent. And who said they weren't?

CIDRAP reports on two planes with sick passengers coming from Asia. In both cases, crews became alarmed. This will become increasingly common if the pandemic ramps up.

Something called South West Health in Nova Scotia just doesn't sound right, but they're working on the bird flu.

Very interesting. Researchers in British Columbia are looking for people alive during the 1918 pandemic---not for clinical research, but to gather their experiences.

Revere wraps up the Indonesian Imbroglio with a reminder that its all talk until we have vaccine production capacity.

Here's a good one. ProMed and the Iowa Markets are inviting applications to be in the flu market study. I'm tempted to apply. Do you think bloggers are welcome?

Cambodia is going to participate in those exercises in Asia.

Cambodia has been chosen as the country facing a mock outbreak and it will work closely with ASEAN and WHO to test risk assessment capabilities, communication procedures and decision making among all the partners, it said.


At 6:50 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Lots of good articles and information to comment on today.

Of course, the report of the 16 year old China boy’s sudden death from bird flu, is most topically the most disconcerting – as usual, no prior mention of his illness by the Chinese news media or government, or of any infected poultry in Anhui Province, during the past months. This is a pretty disgraceful way for a country to operate, when you are supposed to be considered a world power, let alone one of your own, is the head of the WHO avian influenza world effort.

I see from the ProMed report, there are also more reported H5N1 related deaths out of the Indonesian quagmire, and more infections of humans being reported out of Egypt. The suspected and very suspicious number of human-to-human clusters not being officially reported out of Indonesia, are mounting significantly in the unofficial reports, when one see’s the machine translations coming out of their hospitals and clinics.

Also, from your ProMed reports, are more continued increases in outbreaks of infected poultry in Afghanistan and Myanmar (Burma, to the rest of us who don’t acknowledge ruling military junta’s as legitimate governments), as well as Bangladesh. I noticed a sentence in your Bangladesh article that said, “ A UN official said that they suspected bird flu had been raging in the country for several weeks or months before authorities could confirm it”.

These kind of disconcerting statements makes everyone wonder where else the UN suspects that H5N1 is “raging”, but waiting on confirmation by those numb nut countries ? China, India, perhaps, also ?

I see your comment about doubling the dose of Tamiflu and I must agree, after having read the article closely – I have the same exact question. Exactly why is the US participating in clinical therapeutic trials, for severe cases of normal flu ? One can easily understand the situation where H5N1 influenza fatalities are a serious problem, but I’m not real tuned in to why exactly we should double up on this stuff yet.

I see in the St. Joseph’s University article, they are taking an “All Hazards” approach, to their pandemic preparations and planning. This kind of multi-faceted approach sounds good in principle and on the surface, but usually leads to missing the specific key long term requirements and impacts, that makes a pandemic so uniquely different than other catastrophe’s. Planning for a pandemic influenza is about 180 degrees different, than planning for a terrorist, weather related or natural catastrophic event.

All I can say about your Kuwait article is that there must be some human type avian influenza rumors really flying internally in that country. (Usually where there is a good rumor, there is a speck of truth).

A quick comment about the airplane that landed at Newark IA, from China, loaded with sick flu passengers. This, of course, received a heck of a lot of comments in the various blog sites. I myself am not surprised at the lack of adequate quarantine measures taken by the CDC folks and physicians who examined them. In my view, we can use this example, as an illustration of how a real honest-to-goodness pandemic will spread – essentially, by not taking the situation as seriously as it should be. The fact that there was no real H5N1 testing performed, tells the whole story. Good luck, to us all – Julie Gerberding in action.

I agree with you Orange, that the article out of British Columbia, about the researchers who want to locate individuals who were alive during the great pandemic of 1918, and desire to chronicle their real accounts and experiences – is fascinating, if not rather impractical. What few people who are alive today, would have been most probably too young during 1918 to remember anything of value. However, there are many of us “third generationer’s” around though, like myself, who heard first hand accounts from our grandparents (oral tradition). I would think they would glean more information from people in my age group, than trying to locate these 100 year old codgers, who probably can’t remember what they ate for breakfast.

And finally, your article on ProMed and the Iowa Markets, who are inviting people to participate in the famous flu market study. Yes, I think blogger’s and anyone who is breathing oxygen is welcome. But I wouldn’t participate, and here is why:

1. Looks too much like a grad student or intern type exercise (no offense).

2. No time, little interest in academic gimmickry.

3. I question the utility or value being added – it seems to be primarily aimed at the health-care community, who has many multiple biases and opinions, like we all do about the subject (GIGO).

4. I would rather spend my valuable time and efforts, independently evaluating hard-core daily factual news information and discussions, from all sources.

5. The subject of pandemic events and risk prediction should not be an intangible futures game in my view.

The concept is interesting and well-formed and well-intentioned, but in order to earn better than a 'C' in my mind, the idea must be feasible.

It isn’t… I’d rather continue to get ready for the real event when it happens.



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