Monday, June 18, 2007

June 18 Flu Update

The bird flu continues to spread in Bangladesh.

CIDRAP on Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Hong Kong has closed the market where the bird flu was found.

South Korea declared flu free.

More on vets getting bird flu first--thus, they should be in line for vaccines.

Interesting article. Study from SARS shows that even postponing elective surgeries during a pandemic would not reduce hospital admissions very much. This is interesting. Everyone is rightly worried about surge capacity at local hospitals. There would be flu patients, and then all the other sick people. Thing is, during a pandemic, I'm not going to the hospital unless I absolutely have to--the most flu-ridden place in any city.

There is a flu task force in Palawan, Philippines.

CIDRAP is also having a flu conference. Good stuff as always. Check this out.

"We really are not much further ahead today than we were in 1918," Dr. David Heymann, the WHO's assistant director-general for communicable diseases, said in the conference's keynote address. "We don't have the vaccines we need. . . . We have some antivirals. But we do have one thing that we did not have in 1918, and that is the International Health Regulations, that now provide for proactive collective action for the H5N1 threat to global public health security."

Revere says the new WHO regulations are obsolete already.

New flu therapy attacks "hot pocket" in neurominidase.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Two quick comments today.

First, your article out of Canada about the effect of SARS on hospital admissions (elective procedures) was excellent. One can only conclude since the influenza virus is far more contagious than SARS, a pandemic would quickly point to the futility of border quarantine measures and the importance of self quarantines, and good old sanitation and hygiene procedures.

Incidentally, I agree with you Orange – a person would have to be insane to wander into a hospital, clinic or any other health care environment during a rampant pandemic. (I’d rather drink two fifth’s of whiskey and attempt self-surgery like in a John Wayne western movie, than ever walk into an emergency room with all those sickie’s). I'm also willing to extract my own teeth with disinfected pliers, if necessary, during a pandemic.

Second comment relates to Revere’s article in Effective Measure, about the “new world order in international health”. Another very excellent article, by the master of controversy – I can’t say that I disagree with him – events have indeed outrun the new “regulations” of the WHO IHR, to make them obsolete already. Like the old regulations, the new ones are unenforceable anyway, and are subject to “voluntary compliance”, in my opinion. I just don’t see where the IHR regulations really add any significant value to pandemic oversight and preparation. Written regulations are like traffic lights and speed signs – instruments used to change behavior – but not entirely proven effective.

Regarding Revere’s comment, “I am pretty confident the future won’t look like today”. This is an absolutely true statement. How it is likely to change, is not going to be pretty, and anybody’s guess. There are an abundance of threats staring us in the face: global warming, insane religious fanaticism, over population, influenza and other disease pandemics, extreme climate changes, nuclear threats by rogue nations, and depletion of natural resources, just to name a few of the biggies.

So who’s the real enemy of the future ?

Any one of these threats have the capability to change the world order as we know it. Certainly, geographical boundaries, cultures, religions and access to resources.

As the old saying goes though, “It's not enough to be able to pick up a sword. You have to know which end to poke into which enemy”.



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