Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 11 Flu Update

A teenage girl died of bird flu in Egypt.

Despite culling, restrictions on bird movement, and others measures, bird flu is racing ahead in Bangladesh. (I don't believe any country has had outbreaks like this without having multiple human outbreaks).

ProMed on Pakistan and Indonesia. Note mod comment that Indonesian outbreaks are occurring many miles apart.

Even though there have been no outbreaks, Russia is NOT going to stop preventing bird flu.

Border areas of India are on special alert for bird flu.

Florida's legislature refuses to set aside funds for Tamiflu.

Dubai reports that 35% of people will be infected if flu pandemic starts.

Another province in Philippines reports it is ready for the bird flu

Very interesting post from Revere. The story is out on statins potentially interfering with the cytokine storm that plays a major role in flu lethality. Good thing is that statins are available as generic, plentiful with production capacity, and not toxic, so they can be taken as a preventive measure. Interesting post.

Washburn County, WI, is told that every family can prepare for a pandemic.

We have a new entry in the flu blogosphere--Bird (Flu) Droppings from the UK. Check it out.

Finally, from CIDRAP. There are a couple webinars coming up.

First, tonight, Dr. Osterholm will be participating in a forum sponsored by the Council on Foreign Affairs, one of the first "establishment" organizations to raise the alarm on bird flu.

On April 27, CIDRAP will also hold a webinar for HR professionals.


At 6:46 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your news articles on Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia, are not good news. The Egyptian statistics in their article indicate a 41% fatality rate. The Bangladesh article indicates the H5N1 is still spreading, despite “hundreds of veterinary and health officials” efforts. In Indonesia, the “outbreaks are occurring a great distance from each other”, which indicates to me that the virus is absolutely irretrievably endemic in their environment, similar to the situation in Egypt and Nigeria.

The only thing in my mind keeping the virus from becoming highly contagious in these countries is the tons of Tamiflu that they are passing out like candy. The only good news is that it appears to be working. The bad news is that the huge volume’s that are being consumed, absolutely can’t be beneficial in the longer run, as the virus readjusts and strengthens its resistance.

Some things just don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out.

Speaking of rocket scientists, the Floridian’s have some real “space cadets” for legislator’s. Their reasoning for not supporting legislation to include $ 36.7M funding in there budget to purchase discounted Tamiflu for 4.8M people, is “ we want to make sure it’s a drug that will be effective when needed” . What are they thinking, somebody please help me out here. Even the shelf life of ordinary aspirin and ibuprofen is less than five years. Heck, if I leave my lawnmower sit over the winter in my garage without using it, there is no guarantee it will start in the springtime. Even if the purchased the Tamiflu at the discounted price, they could conceivably resell it to their constituents on the open market and double their money. Heck, Fla_Medic would probably buy $ 1M worth and resell it for $ 2M.

What in the world is going through these legislator’s mind’s ? Are they gambling on using the statin cholesterol lowering medications, or something? They simply can’t be that dull.

The article out of Dubai, has an obvious error in it, which I am sure you probably caught. It says, “according to the UAE Bird Flu Committee projections, 1,512,000 people out of the 4,320,000 UAE population would be infected. Out of these, up to 5,805 people would die if nothing is done”. I think the UAE needs to recalculate their pandemic fatality rate – because 5,805 deaths would represent no greater percentage than the ordinary influenza. I would think a more realist pandemic death number would be ten times that number.

Regarding the Revere article and the use of statin drugs, I am not quite sure, even though it appears beneficial – whether it would be practical or not. For example, when a pandemic emerges, do we start everyone on statin drugs immediately the first thirty days ? I am sure, eventually, we will be seeing more information on this in the future. And I am also sure, that if a pandemic were to occur, many people will be adding statins to their personal drug ensemble, along with the elderberry tea, Chinese cabbage, vitamins, and every other home remedies they can think of.

The Washburn County, Wisconsin article was interesting. It states that, “only thirty one percent of Americans have any emergency plan in place, according to a September 2006 poll conducted by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. This seemed pretty high and unrealistic at first glance. After reading the entire article, it recommends a measly inadequate two-week supply of water and food – no wonder the 31% figure. I am sure if one conducted a poll of the necessary 2-3 months minimum supply of preparations for an actual pandemic, the percentage truly reflecting those who were adequately prepared, then would undoubtedly be down at the 2-5% level.

I’m probably not going to tune into the CFR Live Webcast this evening Orange. Their topic will be, “Is the Bird Flu Threat Still Real and Are We Prepared?”.

I already know the answer.



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