Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 16th Flu Update

A new study says that new strains of the bird flu have emerged.

CIDRAP on the latest from Bangladesh and Cambodia, where outbreaks are now being "reported" in the area where the girl died earlier in the week.

CIDRAP also on yesterday's Branswell report on China's lack of sample sharing.

Revere also weighs in on this one with an excellent post, lauding Branswell and roasting the Chinese.

Continuing news of the spread of bird flu across Bangladesh.

More news with concern inside Bangladesh.

Egypt is allocating $40-$42M to fight bird flu.

Normal high quality post from Revere about what you think when the communications minister in Nigeria makes sweeping claims about avian influenza.

There seems to be a lot of bird flu in poultry in Nigeria, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear of more human cases there. There is a categorical and arrogant quality to this denial which makes me uncomfortable. At the very least they need some instruction in risk communication.

Or maybe communication isn't the object here.

In India, poultry in 10 regions are "under surveillance."

Saudi Arabia's recent blanket statement on bird flu is cited in ProMed.

The US is "teaming up" with Indonesia to help fight the bird flu at its source--poultry.

Duchess County, NY, has actually mailed flu info to people in its community, something I have not seen very many reports of.

Excellent article in Commentary magazine about how our society is increasingly vulnerable to infectious disease--and its social side effects.

Hong Kong is now apparently importing poultry from Britain, but not from Suffolk.

Purdue University (in Indiana) is preparing for a pandemic on its campus.

1 Comments:

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

I see the news today is focusing on China again. That’s good, I’ll think I’ll add some fuel onto the fire.

Not surprisingly to me, as your first article about the recent bird flu genome study reveals in the Europe and Middle East (EMA) areas, three new clades of H5N1 have now been documented. I'm quite frankly surprised it's that few. They appear to have evolved from our friends in China, specifically from the the Guangdong, Fujian or Qinghai Provinces.

I have a simplified solution, as always to this tracking and genome dilemma, to make it more structured in the scientific community. Why not just name these new evolving H5N1 strains after Chinese Province’s ? And after we exceed the 23 number of provinces, we can name sub-clades after the Chinese cities.

The official total number of recognized Chinese cities, according to China Today, is 666. Now isn’t that spooky ? Talk about prophetic.

Since H5N1 originated from China anyway, they rightfully should get the full recognition by naming the numerous strains after them, especially, if they are refusing to provide samples. This all seems very appropriate to me. Revere is way too polite and professional, when he calls China’s refusal to provide virus samples, “irresponsible and shameful behavior”. The Chinese as individuals are a great bunch of people, it’s just that their communistic government behavior is profoundly ignorant, and stuck in the 1950 Cold War syndrome.

After reading your articles about the situation in Bangladesh and Nigeria, I have decided to add them to my list of specific countries which are aptly dubbed, “disasters waiting to happen. Indonesia and Egypt have been in that category for many months already. The fact that a ten member FAO team is “visiting” Bangladesh, and the US is now teaming up with Indonesia to stop the spread of the bird flu deaths in that country – indicates the seriousness of the situations in both countries. Both activities by the FAO and the US are in my opinion, “damage control and assessment”, as well as first hand surveillance of the deteriorating situations. That’s it in a nutshell.

As your New Nation article from Bangladesh points out, “Bangladesh at the moment stands awfully unprepared to treat even a moderate spread of human cases of the disease”. This is why India is on full fledged bird flu alert at the moment… if Bangladesh loses control, India with its 1B population won’t be able to bury its people fast enough. The Ganges River might finally have a chance to clear up for a change.

Your most excellent article is indeed the Commentary magazine piece. It quite vividly describes the stark dilemma individuals will face when the pandemic emerges: immediate shortage of food and necessities within days. Those few of us who follow the daily bird flu updates and news articles on a daily basis fully understand what this threat and risk represents to our families and our communities. We’ve processed countless scenarios in our minds to prepare for the disaster and continue to make preparations as best we can.

Unfortunately, for the many millions of people who have fallen into the complacency and modern comfort of the “just in time” culture, a pandemic will prove to be truly personally disastrous. In my view, they will be the new “Katrina refugees” with no sanctuary, little if any assistance, and unfortunately little sympathy. A pandemic has often been referred to by the experts as potentially “one hundred Katrina’s occurring simultaneously”.

What I simply do not understand is that 300 million Americans and 33 million Canadians saw the Katrina desperation and catastrophe, live on television for weeks, as it occurred. Yet, but only a small fraction of these 333 million people are prepared for what could be the most disastrous event of our lifetime. Maybe in history. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Finally, when I read your article about Perdue University, and its campus pandemic planning committee – it’s all starting to make a little sense. The committee, among other things, is deciding, “how Purdue would feed its students if no mass gatherings are allowed”.

This will not be a "normal influenza epidemic" where the normal 36,000 people die annually.

You simply send the students home at the first sign of the pandemic. What's so tough about that ?

Wulfgang

 

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