Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April 25 Flu Update

WHO says it is considering a stockpile of 60 million doses of vaccine for poor nations. (Keep in mind--this is not very many doses).

Helen Branswell writes on this, including the rationale for the size of the stockpile.

When the idea of a virtual vaccine stockpile was brought up there, a representative from Thailand raised the one per cent figure, saying his country would need enough vaccine to protect 600,000 essential workers - health-care workers, police and the military.

The Rand Corporation is the latest group to detail the lack of readiness for a pandemic.

Despite these advances, Lurie said, there are still huge gaps in preparedness.
She said one hindrance to answering the question, “Are we prepared?” has been that there is no clear understanding of what being prepared means.

Hungary continues to insist that it did not cause the flu outbreak in Suffolk.

Kuwait continues to inform world that no new cases of bird flu have emerged there.

OK. So there were 2,500 birds in Iceland that were due to die anyway. So, they killed (culled) them as part of a drill for pandemic flu.

Irish GPs are being asked to comment on that nation's pandemic flu plan.

Qatar ran a bird flu exercise yesterday.

Here's an interesting story. An 107 year old woman in Toledo says that surviving the 1918 flu improved her health.

More on the poultry industry and a lack of hygiene promoting bird flu.

Article from Nebraska on respirators during a pandemic.

Yesterday, we ran the story of Des Moines, IA, looking for a place to quarantine people during a a pandemic. Effect Measure opens a can on that idea.


At 7:27 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Well, after reading your WHO and Helen Branswell articles about building a 60 million vaccine dose stockpile for developing nations – if this is what it will take to get these infested nations satisfied, then let’s do it and press on. Most of us are in favor of this approach, since it appears a reasonable and equitable solution.

However, I think many people have difficulty understanding the third world arguments that purchasing pandemic avian vaccine for their “essential workers”, which approximates 1% of their populations (we guess) – is unaffordable. That’s a crock of feces in my opinion. This number is so miniscule to even these “developing countries”, that it’s laughable. However, the chief problem I have with this WHO scheme, is not actually implementing it, the main problem is that there is nothing preventing Indonesia Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari or President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, from further back peddling and upping the ante.

They are only learning their intransigence from the best: China.

The Rand Corporation article is quite interesting. There is in fact, no clear understanding of what “being prepared” means: no understandable or published national progress type milestones, no clear ground rules or guidelines, no clear enforceable mandates to the states, and no accountability established. Heck, if a state like Florida doesn’t want to purchase Tamiflu, it’s permissible – even though some aspects of negligence like this, are bordering on insane or criminal. We should all call voids and lapses in preparation, the “New Orleans approach”.

When a highly respected independent think tank like the Rand Corporation warns of pandemic under-preparedness, every state governor and community needs to take notice.

The article about the 107 year old woman, who survived the great influenza of 1918, was absolutely fascinating. One important aspect of her story though, sticks out prominently: that she was bedridden at home for two entire months. This begs the most obvious question to all of us: do each of us have a support system of relatives, friends or neighbors who would look after us for two months ? Doubtful, in my opinion.

This will be a significant fundamental problem that many people will overlook. I have stated many times that I was ill in both the 1957 and 1968 mini-pandemics: even though I was in superb physical condition at that time, both times, if it weren’t for my mother attending to me, I might not be here today to type on my keyboard. People everywhere need to really think about this: if you plan on staying-in-place, you better cluster up with friends and neighbors.

Finally, I really laughed out loud when I read Revere’s cynical comments about the quarantine planning fiasco in Des Moines Iowa. However, there is one important point that I am surprised Revere didn’t pick up on: hundreds of millions of smart people watched the Katrina disaster unfold on their TV sets, day after day.

The very first time somebody mentions quarantining these same folks to any confined area, for whatever reason – these Katrina refugee images are going to pop into their minds – and they are going to say, “hell no, we won’t go”, and there is going to be trouble. Revere’s right: this is a dumb idea, and it’s inviting further disaster, and most probably even civil disobedience, violence and chaos.

It’s like the old saying: “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable”.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home