Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 4 Flu Update

A Chinese soldier has died of bird flu. We reported he was sick a few days ago--and, in fact, I believe they felt he was responding to treatment. He died on Sunday.

CIDRAP on deaths in China and Vietnam. Neither is WHO confirmed.

A 15th province in Vietnam has bird flu.

There is no bird flu in Ghana in the Western Region.

No more human cases have been reported in Wales (H7N2).

ProMed with the WHO update on Wales.

As reported here earlier, the FDA issued guidelines for vaccine development, including an accelerated pathway.

Bird flu vaccine is being tested on humans in Indonesia.

Clinical trials are also planned in Singapore.

UNICEF workers are in Barbados are they are being warned of the importance of a rapid response to bird flu.

Physician op-ed column in LA Times educates people well on the risk of bird flu pandemic.

Interesting--study of docs shows that they don't believe a pandemic is likely...but they keep some antivirals around, just in case.

Novavax reports a positive clinical trial on bird flu vaccine.

ProMed on the story about avian vets being at greater risk...

2 Comments:

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

The report from China about the 19 year old soldier’s death due to bird flu, continues to raise some major speculative issues and concerns.

The one thing that is almost certain, is that one case alone doesn’t represent a human-to-human transmission situation, because we would obviously be seeing far more reported sick individuals. Even in a closed and highly censored society like China, it is impossible to disguise a pandemic situation of high numbers of human infections.

That leaves us to several speculations on the situation there: (1) the soldier is an isolated case who randomly came in contact with an infected bird or feces, in some non-identifiable way; or (2) even though massive poultry inoculations have occurred over the last several years, there still remain “pockets” of infected un-vaccinated poultry, that either the Chinese authorities are aware of, or the locations cannot be identified – which is very concerning; or (3) substandard and ineffective poultry vaccines, coupled with the possibility of further H5N1 mutations, are causing latent and lingering asymptomatic shedding conditions in significant large numbers of poultry – which means there could be an endemic situation developing in their entire poultry industry. It makes sense to me that it would unrecognizable, since no pre-warning outbreaks have been reported. This last situation is extremely concerning.

I suspect that many ducks and chickens have died in China, Indonesia and Vietnam over the last twelve months, even though they have been vaccinated. Nearly one billion poultry have been vaccinated in the China and Asia in the last twelve months alone.

What is really happening there with their poultry is anybody’s guess, but it can’t be good, based upon their dismal track record of supplying zero information on their on-going swine epidemic.

There is a fourth possible speculation that I have thought about often, which nobody ever seems to address: maybe the poultry vaccination programs in China, Indonesia and Vietnam are actually impossible to maintain. Between these three countries, the “rolling numbers” of chickens and ducks that continuously need to be vaccinated in any given year is well in excess of a billion – it’s absolutely a massive number to keep up with. Maybe the logistics of this vaccination turn-over effort with new poultry maturing every twelve months is just plain not feasible or defective?

With so many third world countries experimenting with avian, porcine and human vaccines (uncontrolled), and injecting them into billions of host subjects, one cannot help but think something is going to go terribly wrong in the near future. The H5N1 and swine situation has become one gigantic world experiment with questionable vaccines.

In my view, we do not just need better monitoring and surveillance of H5N1 and swine in China and Asia – we need better insight and intelligence into what these countries are actually doing with their animals and people, and trying to ascertain the epidemic events which are not being reported accurately.

Wulfgang

 
At 1:51 AM, Blogger Annie said...

Do they use the same needle from chicken to chicken when conducting inoculations?
If so, could vaccinating a chicken that is already infected with H5N1 cause the next chicken to catch the virus or over-ride the vaccination in some format.
I apologize for my ignorance, this is clearly not in my field. Mary Ann

 

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