Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May 23 Flu Update

CIDRAP reports. Human cases are back. Indonesia has a dead 5-year old girl confirmed of H5N1. Meanwhile, Vietnam has a 30-year old who is a suspected case--and being treated.

ProMed has the news on these two countries.

CIDRAP has more on bird outbreaks from various countries, as previously reported.

ProMed also has bird outbreaks from around the world. Note that Vietnam has six outbreaks since the weekend.

Ghana has a second outbreak.

There's also an outbreak in Northern Nigeria.

Two employees of poultry farms in Pakistan were tested for bird flu and were negative.

CIDRAP reports on the flu virus sharing agreement passed by WHO.

The French cite improving response to veterinary issues like bird flu and mad cow.

India and UAE are discussing the bird flu implications.

An Ontario hospital is preparing for the bird flu.

Revere blogs on HHS' "desperate" measure of listening to the public.

Speaking of the HHS blog, today the founder of Ebay has some things to say on preparing for a pandemic. Note the comments, where they suggest harnessing the power of Ebay to get the word out.

3 Comments:

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Well, I’m going to zero in on the HHS blog site today, and express my opinion. I would like to make it known up front that I am a real proponent of open and honest communication, as well as tremendous admirer of Mr. Leavitt and the HHS. He himself is a first class act, and hard to follow. HHS is a first rate agency.

I finally visited the HHS site and read all of the comments and exchange. Of course, most of us that have been hanging around the internet recognize most of the blogger contributor names already. I did not note any comments that were out of the ordinary, and quite frankly, the blog site is not as interesting as most of the flu sites that have been running for several years now.

Nevertheless, as a HHS “benchmarking” activity, it’s not bad. The problem I see with it, is that it is doubtful that any real utility or value will result from it.

Why? For several primary reasons. First, his communication and dialogue is with the wrong participants. He should be having this kind of open engagement with other US primary federal and state government agencies. While I acknowledge he has met with every state governor in the US (which is an extraordinary laudable effort on his part), I do not believe he has met with all the administrators and heads of the US government agencies. If he were to do this, he would truly understand that for the most part, the pandemic preparation plans are practically nonexistent, they only exist in voluminous paper documents, and over one million government workers are not “signed up” and could not perform their key functions.

Secondly, and quite simply, in simple laymen’s terms, who (and what agencies) has what national duty and responsibility during a pandemic, and how clear a are these functions integrated ? Nobody really knows. I know, because it took me several months to “break the code” across agencies and diagram it on paper, but I can guarantee you or anyone, that 99.9% of the public can not articulate who has what responsibility and who they should turn to for assistance, should a pandemic occur.

The third problem I have with the HHS approach is that, quite frankly, I don’t regard the participant bloggers Pierre Omidyar, David Eisner and Greg Dworkin (well maybe) as representative experts on the subject. Impressive credentials in their area of expertise, yes, experts on the subject of a pandemic – well quite frankly, no. This is just of course my opinion, but what do I know, I’m just the average Joe.

The bottom line is this the way I see it: while this kind of HHS innovative open information gathering approach for ideas and comments from the public is extremely beneficial, in the “leveraging sense of gathering ideas and comments leading up to their June summit, it’s not a desperate measure as Revere contends… but it is of questionable value in my opinion.

If the HHS Michael Leavitt really wants to get the message of individual preparedness out to the public, he should proceed immediately to prime time TV and radio: every station and every channel. I am puzzled why this is not being done.

If Surgeon General J. Everett Koop could do it and get the simple messages across – why can’t he ?

Wulfgang

PS – Orange – hey, you didn’t like my comments about HCW’s yesterday ?

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Wulf--I don't know what happened! I didn't even see them in the moderation cue. They are up now. No editorial comment intended!!

I suppose you are right about HHS. Well, it is still better this way. Thanks for your kind comments.

And, did you notice how much your comments reflected what Revere wrote?

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

To be honest, I really didn’t read Revere’s complete comments. I mainly stick to my own thoughts and opinions on the subject at hand. I always try to apply just a little logic, common sense, practicability, accuracy, realism and pragmatism (common sense) to ideas and articles you post.

I must admit, the subject of bird flu has been one of the most fascinating things to me, intellectually and otherwise. I even took a virology course so I could understand the mechanics of viruses better. I have also spent a huge amount of time sleuthing through government channels and people, connecting the dots, trying to clinically ascertain a couple of important things;

1. is the situation real
2. how big a threat does it really represent
3. how prepared is the government
4. what would the impact really most like be
5. what is the most reasonable preparation to make

It this point in time, it is not a pretty picture. It’s a very ugly baby. As most news articles indicate, if a full blown pandemic were to occur within the next 3-5 years, we are all in for big trouble. Little - if no vaccine. What vaccines that might be available, would be suspect. It also means that Tamiflu will have been rendered useless, by definition. Once the world passes the five year marker, and vaccine mfg ability is established – I see no major problem, we can tie the ball game at that point.

Until that time passes though, we all need to keep our fingers crossed and maintain a healthy respect for religion.

Wulfgang

 

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