Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June 6 Flu Update

The big flu news today...has the virus mutated in Indonesia to transfer more easily between birds and people? CIDRAP reports that Indonesian flu officials say it may have, but WHO denies.

Helen Branswell has this story. WHO's response--share the samples. Is it possible Indonesia is just putting pressure on the sample issue?

Indonesia has announced a new case...a 15F who died.

For its part, Australia says it would share its "homegrown" (whatever that means) vaccine with Indonesia if a pandemic started.

There are also two more suspected human cases in Vietnam. One of the suspected cases is a slaugherhouse worker in the capital, where no bird flu has been reported.

Is the outbreak in Vietnam due to fraud in poultry vaccines--or is this an excuse?

Malaysia has found bird flu in chickens.

ProMed on Malaysia as well--note protective measures being taken.

Indonesia is prepping 290 million doses of avian vaccine.

If you follow the flu blogosphere, you have witnessed several bruising battles between Revere and Marc Siegel, who is a flu skeptic. Revere blogs a review Siegel did of an upcoming move on Hallmark called Pandemic. He gives grudging respect to Siegel's review. Siegel likes that the pandemic virus is not H5N1. Revere makes the point: preparation for one is the same as for the other.

Revere also blogs on a new paper, that calls into doubt the idea that there is a genetic susceptibility to H5N1--that chance is just as plausible in known family clusters.

The East Caribbean is preparing is pandemic plan.

Promed on Wales.

CIDRAP also has results of physician survey on pandemic flu (as published here earlier).

An Australian reporter says that the country's bird flu response needs to be improved, based on an exercise.


At 7:21 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Yep, the big news today, and I suspect for some time in the future, will be the disagreement between Indonesia and the WHO, over detected and noticed gradual changes in the H5N1 virus which appear to be making it more transmissible. Until the WHO and other independent lab’s can verify the entire genetic sequence – not much of anything can be resolved.

This impasse has much huger implication’s, as Indonesia prepares to start at least three or four major vaccination drives to inoculate 290 million chickens. And from what I have heard, they are using vaccines matched to H5N2 and H7N2 to do it, which are not matched to the appropriate H5N1 sequence. This is problem number one.

Do we have a more complex set of problems developing in this region of the world ? Yes. Everyone notice that increasingly, more and more human bird flu infections in Vietnam, China and Indonesia are being reported, where no link to infected poultry is evident. Sources of the poultry and human infections are both becoming unexplainable and cannot be tracked – not is just Indonesia. This is problem number two.

Big problem number three relates to the primary means known to control the spread of bird flu in domestic fowl, which should be culling of the infect birds, and it is not be employed like it should. The second alternative and supplementary strategy should be vaccination (not primary like in Indonesia and China) as a control measure, which slows or even stops the spread of the virus. When this process is reversed (without culling), what results is a falsely perceived reduction in outbreaks of H5N1 in vaccinated poultry and is misconstrued as victory sign in controlling H5N1, but it clearly does not eliminate the risk. In fact, mass vaccination of poultry in complicating the detection of the virus and masking the true risk of an influenza pandemic.

Problem number four is the fact that ducks, geese and wild birds carry and distribute the virus without showing they are sick. They are naturally asymptomatic air and manure carriers, who further spread the H5N1 to susceptible domestic poultry.

The final remaining problem number five we are seeing, is the failure by suspect countries to adequately control the virus within their borders, like China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Egypt, or Malaysia. This further adds as a multiplier or contributes to a domino effect, reversing and cancelling any real gains made, especially by mass vaccination.

Which brings me full circle concerning your big news today.

I’ll stick my neck out and say that I do believe a mutated change in the H5N1 virus strain is making it slightly more transmissible A-N-D it has also diminished the effectiveness of poultry vaccines being used. Being behind the knowledge curve is the price the WHO pays for being politically correct with Ms. Supari, and trying to appease deceivers.

My money is on the report out of Indonesia on this one.



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