Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13 Flu Update

Vietnam believes that low poultry vaccination rates in Southern Vietnam put the region at risk for more outbreaks.

CIDRAP on the two cases in Vietnam, reported yesterday. Also, quarantining continues in Malaysia.

There are some inconsistencies in the data from Vietnam. ProMed wants them clarified.

So noted: pandemic in Malaysia could effect 7 million.

US flu conference is held. Secretary Leavitt delivers the right message. Don't let the media guard done, and don't forget you are on your own in the first days.

ProMed reports on Egypt.

WHO says that bird flu samples must be shared.

David Heymann, assistant director-general for communicable diseases at the WHO, said bird flu virus samples are tradable goods and must be treated as such by drug companies and industrialized countries.

Drug companies are contributing virus to an international stockpile as part of efforts to show that poor countries are being helped.

OIE report in Malaysia.

CIDRAP has this story as well....note a three year delivery schedule for promised vaccine.

EU has approved a cell based vaccine--potentially a vital improvement in vaccine technology.

If you have noticed, there has been lots of new flu news recently. Revere comments.

As the Organization of the Islamic Conference meets, Muslim countries are thought to be at special risk for bird flu.

Three leading OIC states - Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey - are already among the world’s worst-hit countries.

There is a new avian outbreak in Myanmar.

The Caymans are now increasing their surveillance program.

The Center for Consumer Freedom says bird flu fear won't go away, "but should."

Forgot to prepare for the pandemic? Maryland County will remind you with wallet cards.

Alabama County is preparing for the bird flu, too.

No bird flu detected in Virginia surveillance.

A house crow is tested for bird flu in Hong Kong.


At 6:39 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Reading into your articles on Vietnam and their description of the insufficient successful vaccination rates, especially in ducks (one has to wonder about deficient vaccination in chickens also), points directly to the dilemma I have mentioned several times: logistically, due to the zillions of poultry that require inoculation, the incredibility humongous amounts of vaccine required, and the geography involved in these third world countries, I think successful vaccination rates are absolutely unachievable (we have better odds of landing on Mars). To vaccinate 100% of their ducks and chickens is a lofty goal, but entirely unrealistic. Hence, the infection and surveillance problems will most likely continue. Mix wild birds, illegal poultry trade, diluted vaccines and asymptomatic conditions which lead to humans eating infected meat – into the equation - and the H5N1 infestation spreads will continue to spread further, over time.

I also think it is significant that the world’s worst hit bird flu countries are Muslim. This should tell the Imam’s something about priorities. I do wonder though how the Malaysian Health Ministry calculated their “90% chance that the pandemic will start in Asia” ? Not that I disagree with it – I’d say the other 10% lies in the Middle East, probably Egypt or maybe even Nigeria.

Regarding Michael Leavitt delivering the right message – you are absolutely right. However, the message must be delivered to the parties most likely to be affected, and that is the American people directly. If he wants the people to be prepared, he needs to get his mug on TV and deliver the message directly, the way J. Everett Koop would have done it… over and over and over, again. HHS Secretary is one of the good guys in this bird flu battle, one of my favorites, but he is really missing the correct target.

I see also that GlaxSmithKline, Baxter International and Sanofi Pasteur are all donating mountains of H5N1 human vaccines to establish a global stockpile, for distribution to poor countries, like Indonesia in the event of a pandemic.

Maybe this will finally shut up Ms. Supari’s incessant whining. (incidentally, this is a much larger stockpile than any western nation’s currently have).

I really don’t have any gas pains about establishing the stockpile – it’s the right thing to do, morally, ethically, medically and strategically. The first 5-10 million doses will probably go to Indonesia first anyway, once the poo-poo hits the fan.

The west can sit back and determine how effective the pre-pandemic vaccine really is, and overall, in a pandemic crisis, it logically is better to run the “first mass human inoculation experiment” on the Indonesians, rather than you or me.


At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Dr. Patricia Pitsel said...

You might want to update your stats - WHO reports 313 cases reported, 191 deaths as of June 15/07

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Dr. Pitsel:

Thanks for the reminder...update made.


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