Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 15 Flu Update

Helen Branswell, as always, with the right story. With all the concern over Indonesia sharing samples, what about China? This is a must read.

But as Indonesia loudly objected, Asia’s giant quietly continued to hoard viruses that influenza experts need to monitor changes in the dangerous H5N1 family.

China has not shared human H5N1 virus samples since early 2006, the World Health Organization has confirmed.

Cambodia appears to be indicating there are more outbreaks there.

Here's the OIE report on Cambodia.

Saudi Arabia says there is no risk of a pandemic there.

Bird flu education has reached Thai schools.

Bangladesh is talking compensation for those who have been impacted by bird flu.

Karim said the government would provide taka 70 for each chicken culled since the detection of avian flu on March 23 and the money will be released soon "to bring the demoralised farmers back to the industry".

This story in India tells how drug companies are running to the ramparts to develop vaccines and therapies.

The Chilton (Alabama) EMA is preparing for the worst.


At 6:42 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Well, I see that Helen Branswell has done some of her super sleuthing again, and provided a superb report on the dismal stonewalling and hoarding of H5N1 virus samples, that China keeps trying to disguise.

I have a theory: I believe they are failing to provide these samples, not because of any “equitable access issue”, that’s a bunch of bologna, it’s because China no doubt is deathly in fear of the evolutionary story the viruses will tell the scientists in the western world. They are petrified. The issue of Chinese non-compliance with the 50 year old WHO rules, is all about information control, especially in view of the upcoming Olympic games in Beijing. The fact that Margaret Chan is Chinese and from Hong Kong makes no difference – the mainlander’s are treating her like the proverbial “red-haired step child”, and she’s falling right into their ploy, by having to “negotiate” with their ministries of health and agriculture.

Communists always want something out of any negotiations, it’s chiefly a matter of finding out what “receipt buttons” they need pushed in return. Indonesia has learned their recalcitrance from the best there is on the planet – China. And since China is a major player itself in both human and poultry vaccines, it could care less what the world thinks. Maybe when they start starving en masse, and their critical water sources dry up completely, due to the effects of global warming and pollution, they might come around.

But until China (and Indonesia) start acting in good faith, Margaret Chan needs to stop acting like a Neville Chamberlain.

Speaking of “good faith and transparency”, I noticed in the ProMed article that Cambodia needs to get their avian influenza surveillance and reporting act together, especially when reporting critical time-lines of human infections, subsequent deaths, and infected poultry. They seem to have gotten the official sequence backwards. Is it no wonder the world is one sneeze away from a pandemic ?

None of us plan on going to Saudi Arabia soon, so I guess they can declare themselves “bird flu and pandemic free” for the sake of internal publicity. They got much bigger problems than a bunch of birds and chickens to worry about.

And speaking of bigger problems, I see the Bangldeshian’s and announced they have “successfully” contained their three week old outbreak of avian influenza. They killed a whopping 79,000 birds on only 32 out of 300,000 poultry farms. These low numbers alone say a reoccurrence is coming. Also, I think the government of India would (or will eventually) agree with me. I hope the Indian’s have better luck marketing their human avian vaccines and anti-viral drugs, they sure didn’t have much luck with the poultry vaccines in the world market a few months ago.

And finally, I saved the best for last, as always there Orange. I had to reread the Chilton County, Alabama Emergency Management Agency article twice, to make sure I had the number right: they are going to spend a whopping $ 1,500 for their part in developing the Strategic National Stockpile – for, tables, printers, vests and traffic cones.

Sounds like their getting ready for a Saturday night bingo game, to me.



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