Monday, April 09, 2007

April 8 Flu Update

A girl in Egypt has the bird flu. Reports claim that people exposed to her are not sick. She is also the first reported case from Cairo.

Cambodia says their recent death is an isolated case.

On the other hand, this report seems to indicate that this is not true, and a potential cluster may even exist.

South Korea, Japan and China are all stepping up their cooperative bird flu efforts.

Vietnam still urges all its communities to join the bird flu fight.

Outbreaks continue in Bangladesh.

McGill also has some bird flu funding.


At 6:10 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I suppose what is significant about the 15 year old Egyptian girl being diagnosed positive with bird flu, is that it is the first actual reported in the capital itself, Cairo. If I remember correctly, Cairo and the nearby community has a very densely packed population of an estimated 10M people. The fact that the girl got the infection from infected birds, says that the infestation of the virus in that city may be far more pervasive than realized.

In my opinion, unless the situation makes a dramatic turn, we could be facing another Indonesia type situation, in Egypt. In other words, a possible second endemic epicenter source for an entire region.

Your news about the 13 year old Cambodian girl is almost the same story in parallel, but with a sadder ending – she died. The fact that the authorities are “officially” calling it an isolated case, when at the same time, news is circulating that her two siblings had been treated for the disease prior to her falling ill – bodes badly. This as you know, is the classic sign of an unofficial “semi-cluster” of some sort. From the news account, the health authorities are also saying that several other individual surrounding her home, are under observation also.

I think what is concerning to me and should be noticed by everyone, who watches these daily news articles, is that the health officials now are increasingly observing and monitoring the close “contact individuals”, for signs of the bird flu and human to human transmission. News reports from Kuwait, China, Egypt, Indonesia and Russia, over the last three months, all have one-liners in their article stating that they were maintaining close vigilance on their poultry workers, neighbors and family contacts for signs of illness – some were even subject to serology tests as a precaution.

I viewed the article on the China, Japan and South Korea cooperation, and the article about Vietnamese communities, in much the same manner - as excellent examples of joint strategies where common mutual interest, seems to be the natural pathway in fighting this virus. I notice though that Indonesia’s name seldom comes up when these alliances are discussed.

Finally, something in the McGill University, and the CIHR, article caught my attention. I read the part where Dr. Andre Dascal, will study “the ability and willingness of health-care workers to report to work during an influenza pandemic”.

It will be absolutely fascinating to read the results of his studies and progress reports on this subject, because most of us suspect that very few HCW’s will actually report for work during a full up pandemic, due to a variety of reasons: primarily due to family responsibilities, PPE and health safety concerns, outright protection concerns, and fear. I predict if people are honest, his studies will indicate an astounding 70-80% will not report to work. That’s my prediction.

I believe we could have similar problems in other critical disciplines and occupations also, with law enforcement, truck drivers and transport operators, and throughout the entire service sector. People have to work, but they will not do so when faced with a possible death sentence.

This is an entire subject that needs addressed by society and our governing authorities.

As the old saying goes…

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.



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