Saturday, April 07, 2007

April 6 Flu Update

Two deaths to report today. The biggest news is Cambodia, where as 13 year old girl died--the first reported death there in a year. Also, a teenager died in Indonesia.

CIDRAP on Indonesia and Cambodia. Note that the girl in Cambodia presented with diarrhea.

ProMed on Cambodia and Indonesia. Note that all Cambodia's reported cases have been fatal over the last year.

OK. One of the big mysteries of the bird flu is why some people are infected and some are not. We talk about H2H, but we don't even have efficient B2H transmission right now. Here, a Chinese scientist says it may be a weakened immune system related to the "thymus" which is selecting who gets infected.

An anonymous vet from Myanmar has this to say about the latest outbreak. Note mod comment below:

This, apparently peripheral and minor news item, illuminates a significant phenomenon which is, unfortunately, not exceptional in developing countries and which contributes to the difficulties in controlling HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza). When adequate compensation for culled poultry is not secured, owners will refrain from reporting suspected cases, or alternatively get rid of their poultry as soon as possible for any payments obtainable on the market, with the resulting spread of the infection.

Kuwait is considering calling a special session of its legislature to help combat the bird flu outbreak. I find this interesting because, at least based on what we have seen, this is a much stronger reaction than we have seen from other countries with less reason. On the other hand, it is a small country.

Actual Kuwaitis are eating chicken with a shrug.

Bahrain is bird flu free.

A year later, the area where the first British case of bird flu (in birds) was found looks back. They think it might have helped tourism.

China says people should be...vigilant.

The University of Minnesota says it is also a Federal Center of Excellence for bird flu.

An Irish accountancy program for business continuity during a pandemic.


At 6:14 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Okay, I agree with you today that the biggest news items are coming out of Cambodia and Indonesia. The 15 year old girl’s multiple organ failure complications is clearly reminiscent of the countless 1918 cases, documented in Barry’s “The Great Influenza”. The other symptoms, such as diarrhea, are also strikingly similar.

Regarding Indonesia’s continued refusal to forward H5N1 samples to the WHO (ref: CIDRAP), I do not believe anyone needs to change 50 years of an entirely workable influenza strain identification process for them. Simply, the WHO may submit to their antics because they feel they have no other choice, however, large multi-national corporations will blow past Indonesia, especially Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, to get access to the strains. I predict one year from now, nobody will even know who this lady is or where she is from. She may even be selling used cars there in a year.

When we look comparatively at the death rates due to bird flu infection, in Cambodia it’s (100%), Indonesia (80%) and Egypt (est @ 60%), according to the information in CIDRAP and ProMed articles – if these three separate H5N1 strains ever recombine together, we are going to have one heck of mess on our hands.

Regarding your Chinese scientist and his assertion that a weakened immune system related to the thymus gland might be the reason some individuals get infected, definitely has a new and different twist to add to the pile of theories. This seems to be an excellent subject for Revere and his intellectual eggheads to ponder on. I can’t even comment intelligently on the subject. All I know is that youngsters require a thymus to process white blood cells, or “T-lymphocytes”, which fight off invading bacteria and viruses. In adults, I believe the thymus, for some unknown reason, goes dormant, or appears to.

I dunno, though. According to Vice Minister of Health Wang Longde in Beijing, the problem of H5N1 seems to be centered in, and caused by, every other country in the world but them, but they are always available to assist, by being “vigilant”.

I think you may be misreading the Kuwaiti article a little there, Orange. I believe the real reason the Kuwaiti PM’s are initiating a special session of its government to discuss the disease, is that the Health Minister appeared to lose control of the blood sample results both before and after they were sent away to Egypt, plus, due to all the controversy surrounding their failure to squelch rumors and plug news leaks. Kuwait is a small country, but the Al-Sabah family and the State Prime Ministers control everything that moves there, even the chickens and whether they are sick or not, and I think they started getting irritated by the lack of media and rumor control.

The Irish accountancy article was actually quite well written, and reminds me of an old saying…

If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society would be quite civilized.



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