Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12 Flu Update

Two women in Vietnam have bird flu. One has recovered, and one is on a respirator.

A man is also hospitalized in Indonesia.

The flu continues to spread in Bangladesh, too.

A traditional festival is raising concerns in Vietnam--will it spread bird flu.

WHO report on Egypt death we had yesterday.

Public radio's marketplace reports that bird flu is "back."

Research in Brazil says that in the tropics, flu might not start in densely populated areas. Revere blogs.

Americans are confused about bird flu and food safety.


At 6:36 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Well, it might be an opportune time for the Vietnamese to consider good ol’ fashioned hot dogs for their Tet Doan Ngo festival, rather than traditional chicken or duck, don’t you think ? Come Thanksgiving here in the US, if there’s one person hospitalized with H5N1, that’s what most of us will switch to: “Thanksgiving Ball Park Franks”. (Oscar Meyer will probably want to set up a Wiener Hot Line, too)

Speaking of which, I chuckled a lot when reading the NPR Marketplace article. So bird flu’s “back” ? Maybe to the news commentator’s and national media its back, but to most of us who follow the world bird flu news on a daily basis, it never left. As your CIDRAP article points out, most American’s (including NPR commentators) are confused about the avian flu and food safety anyway, so I guess a comment like that makes some sense.
But like Revere himself says, “Bird flu hasn’t gone away, it’s bubbling away.”

One doesn’t need an expensive survey of 1,200 people to conclude that “domestic poultry consumption would drop dramatically if avian flu emerged in the US” – it would be damn near decimated… Americans may be complacent and ill prepared for a pandemic, but they’re not stupid.

Regarding Revere’s article – it’s probably a real epidemiological reach and stretch to draw any conclusions that “climate, rather than population density, plays a larger role in the spread of influenza” – this may be specifically true in Brazil (granted) where the study was conducted, with normal influenza viruses. However, to extrapolate this theory to novel avian viruses, doesn’t fly. We’re talking apples, banana’s, coconuts and even oranges here.

Note the discussion comments in his article – mostly about the HHS Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog ? I mentioned in the very beginning weeks ago when it started, it was nothing more than a one-sided government benchmarking exercise. Unfortunately, it will end up doing more harm with the public participants, via false expectations, than any real value it will have added. (my take on things).

And that is a crying shame – the HHS and CDC could have really pulled off a winner, had they approached things correctly, instead of the meathead-one-sided-flimsy-canned method they chose. That’s just my opinion though.

The discussions and comments will end up making good Congressional Testimony though.



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