Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 18 Flu Update

More follow up on the "China won't share samples" story.

Burma--we're talking Burma!--has been recognized for its bird flu action.

30 pigeons died in Bahrain, but it is not thought to be bird flu.

Revere weighs in on the FDA approved vaccine. Note that he mostly commented before on the inadequacy of this vaccine, and this is a basic follow up to that.

Kuwait says its bird flu outbreak was not caused by the illegal Falcon trade.

The local officials say there is no bird flu in Hyderabad.

The final report on the Suffolk situation is being published in Britain. Infected poultry from Hungary is expected to be the cause.

This VOA story says we can increase our vaccine capacity, but it doesn't say how.

This is an interesting tool...using a map in the Netherlands to determine where bird flu might spread among poultry.

Good flu summary run by paper in Toronto. Good mix of Spanish flu and current info.

Similar flu summary story from Egypt.

Yet another story from the Philippines pushing its bird flu measures. Seems to be one a day.

Manipur (NE India) held a bird flu education programm(e).

Finally, Gina Kolata of the New York Times was featured on their Science podcast. Her book is what got me hooked on the bird flu, so I was glad to hear her. One thing she says--that has been noted in recent studies--is that in 1918, the cities that acted quickly had the fewest problems. Let me say that in today's political times, and following the Swine flu situation, I don't believe cities will have the ability to take real, strong action until it is completely and totally obvious even to the most jaded observer that the situation is beyond hope. Which, I fear, will be too late.


At 7:07 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Well, well, well, I see the International Herald Tribune is picking up on the news that China is not the benevolent country it portends to be when it comes to transparency and sharing of virus samples. No doubt, there are a number of hidden reasons for China’s nefarious convenient omissions. Among the reasons has got to be: failed poultry vaccines, asymptomatic pigs and poultry which are shedding virus like rainfall in the springtime, multiple strains novel strains circulating there that have been undisclosed, and scientific proof that they have been evasive. It is an established fact that if one never says anything, you can’t be proven incorrect. Marvelous.

With the passage of time, I predict the hidden problems in China will worsen, and Margaret Chan will tumble like Richard Nixon - especially for issuing dumb pronouncements like praising Burma for their alleged containment of bird flu in their poultry.

Your articles about pigeons in Bahrain not carrying H5N1, and Kuwait infected falcon denials out of those middle eastern monarchies, are really getting amusing - kind of like an “Islamic no-spin zone” without a Bill O’Reilly. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah of Kuwait, and Prime Minister Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifah of Bahrain, seem to be tripping over themselves in their daily efforts at publicly declaring themselves bird flu free. Kind of reminds me of what occurred numerous times in John Barry’s book – plausible deniability by the heads of state everywhere.

Revere, as usual, is spot-on with his commentary about the recent FDA approved vaccine. The consensus of opinion on the street is that this approved vaccine, is the influenza version of the ”Field of Dreams” – it represents a desperate and a last resort to stave off total capitulation to the virus. I don’t think there is any other way to look at it.

The VOA article indeed mysteriously says we can increase our vaccine supply but doesn’t say how. Notice also, the entire article reads like a Roche commercial for Tamiflu, and the main line of defense is to dump boat loads of the stuff into the third world Asian countries to stave off a pandemic. Actually, I think this is already occurring, the WHO is just not reporting the facts correctly, in my opinion.

Your Toronto Walrus article entitled “waiting for the Pandemic” is one of the truly excellent summaries of the pandemic situation, that I have read in a long time. I feel the article should be “required reading” for every citizen of the US and Canada, over 12 years old, and then everyone should be required to take a test on the subject. It’s a excellent blend of 1918 John Barry’s historical information, as applied to the existing modern day risks, with accompanying real-world implications. Parts of it read like an internal government risk assessment.

Which brings me around to one of your own comments about “cities not reacting quickly enough” to a pandemic situation. I congratulate you on your astuteness and insight. Management and prevention of pandemic in the US and Canada will require immediate up-front independent and authoritative decision making. Quick reaction by the authorities in all of our institutions will be a necessity if we are to delay the spread of the disease. Hours and days will be critical in that process. Unfortunately, the pandemic structure that is being emphasized currently, is waiting on the WHO, the CDC or DHHS, to “officially declare a pandemic”, according to artificial levels of severity and transmission. In my view, school districts, colleges, counties, states, provinces and large city authorities, will treat the situation like an epidemic, in my opinion, waiting for health authorities, political leaders, and experts to provide direction.

The much needed critical direction will not come on a timely basis, because of the reasons you mention, and more. You said it right, it will only be when the entire situation is beyond hope, then people in authority will be coerced into making late decisions.

I don’t know about you or anyone else Orange, but this ol’ country boy has no intention of becoming an influenza statistic in John Barry’s sequel.

When the proper time comes, I’m not waiting until the local health department, school superintendent, or college president, or some political hack, waits for a committee response.



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