Sunday, April 01, 2007

April 1 Flu Update--No foolin'

More on the latest cases from Egypt.

Kuwait continues to have bird flu cases in birds.

ProMed on Kuwait, and on Pakistan shutting down bird shops in one region.

ProMed on Egypt.

Thailand is disinfecting key areas.

Domestic birds in the Moscow region have been vaccinated.

A health official in Williamsport, PA, had this warning about pandemic flu.

Dr. Paul Ewald, who is director of a disease evolution program at the University of Louisville, is speaking in Edmonton. Here is what he had to say about bird flu.

A: I’ve been telling people for 10 years, ever since this H5N1 isolate was discovered, that everybody is overreacting. And I’ve been right for 10 years. I don’t know how long I’ll have to be right for. If I can be right for 20 years, maybe people will realize that I’ve got the right answer here and the other people who were pedalling hysteria have the wrong answers.

Q. You’ve described some feared diseases, including influenza, as "fizzlers." What do you mean by that?

A. Everybody, like Michael Osterholm (director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research), are saying this could be the end of civilization as we know it. I’m saying we’ll put a lot of attention focusing on H5N1, but it, like SARS, looks like it’s causing a problem and then it fizzles out. That’s been the history of H5N1. It’s causing a 50 per cent mortality in Indonesia, we get some spread and then it fizzles out. SARS got into Toronto, it started to spread and then it fizzled out. That’s what I said about SARS at the time.


At 6:42 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Nice set of diverse articles.

First, regarding your International Herald Tribune article on Egypt, which describes the large number of women, girls and children, who are falling ill from bird flu, because they are “usually the ones who take care of household chickens and turkeys: I guess its time for the men to step forward and do their part also. That being said, I wonder in that culture if the men had this dangerous domestic task to perform, if not more attention might be given to the H5N1 problem ? Time maybe for the women folk to "burn their Hijab's" ?

Unless I did my math incorrect, which is possible I guess, when I ran a simple calculation of the amount of compensation being doled out by the Kuwaiti government for the 1.5M chickens that were destroyed recently – I came up with an astounding answer: $ 51.81M divided by 1.5M chickens, amounts to about $ 34.54 per bird, for compensation. They must have some hefty overhead burdened rates on birds there.

At these reimbursement rates, old Wulfgang is thinking about raising some little chickadee’s in the Middle East for a while and making some real fast cool cash.

Am I the only person wondering what “disinfectant” Thailand is using, when they refer to “disinfecting all parts of the country considered at high risk of recurrence of bird flu ? Sincerely, I might want to stock up on some, so I am curious.

I see the Russians have announced in your TASS article, that they do not feel that “ten million birds at 23 poultry farms of the Moscow region do not need inoculation, as such birds are permanently kept indoors”. This seems to me to be taking one heckuva lot of significant financial risk, should they have an H5N1 infection problem in the chicken coops. I would vaccinate the little buggers and not take the risk, if I were them. They need to get on the phone and talk to the Kuwaiti’s about the financial risk.

Finally, Orange, I always think it’s a good idea to present the differing viewpoints on the subject of a pandemic, like you do. However, not surprising, many of us absolutely disagree with Dr. Paul Ewald, for any number of equally good reasons. Basically, I find his logic that a pandemic has not occurred in 10 years, and he has held the same skeptical position the same length of time, quite flawed. This is analogous to me saying: We have not had another great California earthquake since the early 1900’s, or we have not had another Katrina or 9/11 event in the last five years – therefore it isn’t likely to happen in the future. The individual’s who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack, I am quite sure, believed that another attack on US soil would never occur again - wrong. WWI was supposed to be the war that ended all wars- wrong. Vietnam was supposed to be the last unjustified political war that the US would enter into – wrong. There is no evidence of Global Warming – wrong again.

History repeats itself, as we all know, time and time again.

In my view, Dr. Paul Ewald will be proven wrong.

Horse sense is a good judgement which keeps horses from betting on people. ( W. C. Fields)



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