Saturday, March 03, 2007

March 2 Flu Update

Seven more birds in Kuwait have bird flu.

Two things here--China confirms human case, and WHO disputes that it is close to a deal with Indonesia to share virus.

WHO is calling for vaccine to be stockpiled, in a "virtual stockpile."

More on bird flu's reappearance in Vietnam.

ProMed on two suspected cases in Afghanistan (reported earlier).

The military in Indonesia is going to support the huge job of fighting flu on thousands of islands.

US State Department on the state of flu in the world today.

In the UAE, a maid from Indonesia got sick handling poultry. What happens next? Panic ensued.

Article from Belize on bird flu prep.

Hong Kong is also stepping up its bird flu measures.

Revere comments on the flu market at Iowa, after many emails. He doesn't think much of it, especially with people playing with the money of others. It would be more interesting if they put their own money in the game?


At 9:19 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Very, very, intriguing set of articles you posted today, especially if one reads them carefully. You and your readers may find some of my comments that follow somewhat controversial.

First, my view on your Reuters article, “ Indonesian military to help fight bird flu”. It’s what I call your first “sleeper” article.

I had to read the article several times and put on my old intel analyst hat to interpret what is actually going on… they are quietly ratcheting up in their pandemic preparations Orange. I have very little doubt about it. Re-read the article carefully… it says: “…The military will set up bird flu centres at two army hospitals to ensure wider access to medical care people infected with the virus”. Later the article states, “ The military will also work closely in developing Indonesia’s contingency plan for a possible pandemic by holding regular simulation and field exercises”, and “ Separately… the government will set up 150 mobile units which can be sent to areas with bird flu outbreaks”.

The number one country where H5N1 is endemic appears worried enough to start activating its army. Notice that the government is separately establishing the 150 surveillance and care units to manage the cases. Its army is being activated and integrated into its pandemic planning and readiness, for one main reason (that is not being stated), and that is to preserve the government and maintain social order. I understand that’s a lot to read into the situation there, but that is what I definitely see, without question. Involving the army like they are, coupled with their actions of not sharing any viruses this year and the high number of human infections, tells me they are now worried about the situation there. As Henry Niman says, “this is cause for concern”.

You have two more sleeper articles that everyone should pay attention to: the article out of Beijing where “China confirms human case of bird flu” and USINFO State Dept article stating, “First human avian flu case in Laos, more in China, Egypt”.

In the Beijing article, the official statement about the 44 year old infected farmer reads as follows, “State media said Li raised only a handful of chickens. China Daily and the Xinhua News Agency said health officials have ruled out the possibility of an outbreak in poultry in Li’s village and that the source of infection may have been migratory birds”. The article further states that, “The report did not say whether the farmer worked with poultry, or whether inflected birds were found, but said she had ‘made contact with dead fowl’”. This is nonsense.

Now the same subject: the USINFO State Dept article describes the same situation a little differently – “The woman is a farmer who keeps birds in her backyard and might have been exposed to sick birds, WHO reported. An investigation is under way to determine if that exposure is the source of her infection”.

The WHO doesn’t know what the source of the H5N1 infection is and how widespread it may be, and China isn’t telling, as usual.

China has 22 major provinces, not including Taiwan, and a population of a whopping 1.3B people. The population is about evenly split, 515M urban, and about 785M rural. Significant suspicious infections of humans, swine and poultry have been unofficially reported in eight of the 22 provinces over the last 36 months, and cuts a swath nearly the entire NW to SW length of mainland China in the following provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, Sichuan, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and most importantly, Yunnan. Yunnan is important because it borders Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) on the south – all of whom are reporting uncontrolled bird flu outbreaks at the current time.

In my opinion, in view of the present widespread reports in these bordering countries, I believe H5N1 is much more widespread in the southern and western provinces of China at the moment, than it is willing to reveal. The only way China has managed to keep infections out of the public eye, is due to their massive continued poultry and swine immunizations. Again, as Henry Niman always says, “this is cause for concern”, because we are not getting the full picture or any where near it.

Regarding the article on the pandemic flu risk futures market. It’s kind of a dumb way to go about things. All one has to do is keep their eye on the real financial markets in Asia, Europe and the US to determine if the pandemic risk is increasing. I have said this before on several occasions: watch for massive movements of money out of geographical areas by the top financial money and hedge fund managers of the world, and you will have your answer quickly. These guys very seldom get caught with their pants down.

Just follow the money. Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell. Money is the sixth sense that makes it possible to enjoy the other five.



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