Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31 Flu Update

Promed reports that the recent case in Vietnam--22 YO pregnant woman--is not a reported fatality.

CIDRAP on the new case in Vietnam. Note no reported outbreaks near her home.

India is pointing the finger to Myanmar for its recent outbreak.

Two dead swans in France are H5N1.

The Federal Government invests more $$ in research into adjuvants.

Revere blogs on the ethical issues surrounding recent reports of exposing healthy people to the flu to study transmissiblity.

The Urals are worried about an outbreak in August.

Bhutan comments on the outbreak in India.

Interesting article on how local knowledge is being tapped in the fight against bird flu in Indonesia.

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30 Flu Update

There is a new human case in Vietnam.

The UAE has banned bird imports from India.

Indian official says no human cases

Burma has reported more avian outbreaks.

Usual high quality Helen Branswell reporting...she says that scientists are considering exposing healthy people to people with flu to see how it spreads.

There are problems with a Thai company in Pakistan. Get this:

The Pakistan Poultry Association (Punjab Zone) has demanded of the government to cancel the agreement with a Thai firm producing poultry products in the country, as most of it is infected with bird flu.

DEFRA in UK continues to monitor for bird flu.

A US Scientist tells a conference that they may be paying too much attention to migratory birds when looking for H5N1.

Marra, a research scientist with the National Zoo’s Migratory Bird Center, said he believes officials should be paying closer attention to poultry flocks and imported pet birds as possible vectors for avian flu. To date, the H5N1 strain of avian flu has not been found in the U.S.

"Yes, I believe [migratory birds] are contributing, but I believe we have to look at these other pathways," Marra told attendees of the Association of Field Ornithologists’ annual meeting being held at UMaine.

Vietnam says bird and pig flu are dying down in Vietnam.

Local bird flu exercise held in Maryland.

Article from the Caribbean aims to educate on the real threat of avian flu.

Reporters from Mongolia are learning how to cover bird flu.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 29 Flu Update

There is a potential human case near the outbreak in India (warning: these are often dead ends).

The Punjab government has set up a panel to monitor bird flu from the recent outbreak there.

More chickens died in Manipur, but the cause of death is undetermined.

Sri Lanka has banned poultry imports from India.

The poultry worker who died in India died of consumption of chemicals.

There is also a new outbreak in Myanmar.

Readers in the Philippines protest the "inhumane" culling of birds due to H5N1 "scare."

Revere with an excellent take on the recent study about what people would do--themselves--during a pandemic. Point is, we worry about when we close schools. In fact, people might quit showing up anyway. Put that in your computer model.

ProMed has an abstract from an article that says that the African H5N1 sublineages follow migratory pathways and are based on the Turkey virus and a WHO-approved vaccine strain.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July 28 Flu Update

The cull is up to 30,000 in India.

The bird flu (panic) continues to spread in India.

People in this area were also dumb enough to smuggle chickens.

A bird culler died in India of "consumption"

Article in Philippines cites bird flu as ASEAN success story.

UNICEF has worked on a bird flu training manual

Friday, July 27, 2007

July 27 Flu Update

10,000 birds have been culled in India.

Poultry prices took a hit in India with bird flu.

Vietnam insists, despite evidence to the contrary, that vaccinating birds is working.

World Bank continues to support Bangladesh.

Remember the man who caused a scare in Australia when his heroin pouch burst in his stomach? He's being sentenced.

Officials in England are urged to watch for dead birds and check for bird flu.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26 Flu Update

The bird flu outbreak in Manipur, India has everyone's attention. Massive culling, etc.

As India fights the outbreak, timely responses and compensation are contentious issues.

BBC on the Indian culling.

India's OIE report via ProMed.

I could have run a dozen stories on this India thing...but here is another that is interesting...leaves for health workers are canceled. Seems like a strong reaction to a bird outbreak.

CIDRAP reports that people would alter their behavior in a pandemic...like avoiding public transportation....(note, most people I know already avoid public transportation.)

The UN is helping Indonesia prep for bird flu.

ProMed has the story that viruses may be able to re-assort more than only in the winter. Note Mod comment below.

However, it should be remembered that opportunity for reassortment is not the single determining factor in the generation of reassortants with pandemic potential. The reassortant virus must possess a phenotype that will endow it with some selective advantage. As these authors hint, a greater hazard may be the increasing prevalence in Asia of the H5N1 virus in flocks of domestic ducks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July 25 Flu Update

To no one's surprise, those cases in India are H5N1 bird flu...CIDRAP report

More CIDRAP on important research. Virus reassortment can occur beyond just the winter months.

WHO report--Egyptian case in lab confirmed.

Bird flu has been found in another area in Vietnam.

They are using drama to educate in The Republic of Georgia.

Alabama has a bird flu plan.

Projections there show 29,000 possible deaths.

Revere blogs a local plan from Virginia--says it is a small step in the direction, but we would be better off if we quit telling each we were on our own, and organized our communities.

A CA paper takes a wry look at a home pandemic prep kit.

July 24 Flu Update

The potential outbreak in India continues to generate an unusual amount of attention...

results are expected today....

and an isolation ward was set up.

Chickens who died in Southern Vietnam had been vaccinated.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has some bird flu info for hunters online.

Chicago Tribune on new Baxter vaccine research. Note phrase "years away"

The school board in Bethlehem PA has developed an emergency plan.

Four communities won awards for their pandemic plans

The winning plans hail from Multnomah County, Oregon; Northeastern Minnesota; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Northern Virginia. Multnomah County (located in the northwest corner of Oregon) and Scottsdale, Arizona were recognized for their local approach to community planning and integration. Both Northeastern Minnesota and Northern Virginia were recognized for their plans for medical capacity in the event of pandemic influenza.

Monday, July 23, 2007

July 23 Flu Update

Promed on the new case from Egypt. Woman was exposed to dead household birds, based on report.

Pig flu is in Northern Vietnam. Two people have died. It remains to be seen if this is related to bird flu.

Meanwhile, bird flu has struck in Central Vietnam, too.

As everywhere, vets are on the front line in Vietnam.

Vietnam will test its human vaccine on people in August.

Sanofi is launching plans to triple vaccine production capacity in PA.

Baxter is testing new flu technologies that would allow vaccine to be made in a "vat" not an egg.

EU Ok with children's dosage for Tamiflu.

No outbreak there yet, but Kenya is reminded it is still vulnerable.

Interesting--flu vaccine from the perspective of radiologists.

U of Penn ethics blog on vaccine development.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 22 Flu Update

An Egyptian woman has tested positive for bird flu.

Revere blogs the recent news from Cuba that the nation has a flu surveillance system. Revere, in fact, thinks they will fare better in a pandemic than the US.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

July 21 Flu Update

The tests from that Indian outbreak are delayed.

The United Arab Emirates have banned poultry imports from Togo and the Czech Republic.

A pandemic flu meeting will be held in Red Bluff, CA

Poultry farmers in Ghana have been compensated for bird flu losses.

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 20 Flu Update

During monsoon season, officials in India are warned to be on guard against bird flu.

Authorities in Kalingrad are concerned about massive bird die offs in a national park.

There's no confirmation, but officials in India seem very concerned about a recent potential outbreak.

Revere blogs this week's news on the universal vaccine, noting that these are interesting times as human trial begin on new vaccine technologies. But are we winning the race?

Promed on bird flu hitting Southern Vietnam (avian outbreaks).

This would actually be interesting...Alabama drill to test surge capacity.

Cuba says it is alert against the bird flu.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 19 Flu Update

HHS says it has enough vaccine for 6 million people (CIDRAP). There's enough antivirals for 81 million people.

Tests from the suspected cases in India are expected back in a few days.

Bird flu continues to batter South Vietnam.

GE Healthcare talks about its vaccine technology in Vietnam.

Columbia County, WI, is preparing its pandemic plan.

Profits are up for Gilead.

A bird flu prep meeting in Nevada revealed glitches.

Colorado is doing a pandemic awareness plan, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18 Flu Update

Bird flu has returned to Southern Vietnam.

However, Northern Vietnam says the flu is under control.

Now Britain joins in on the chorus--you can stop the bird flu.

There is early warning of bird flu in India, via ProMed.

Flemish scientists are testing a universal bird flu vaccine.

USAID is giving bird flu aid to Ghana.

Singapore and France are holding a bird flu seminar in Singapore.

Saudi Arabia has banned the import of French chickens.

The World Bank has donated $16M to Bangladesh to fight bird flu.

Chan continues flu warnings.

Revere blogs the cytokine storm paper--the one that says treatments have to target the virus, not the resulting cytokine storm. Conclusion--interesting, but over-interpreted, as they almost always are in mainstream press.

US State Department--gee, where have I heard this before....prep for pandemic helps prep for everything else.

Portrait of a bird flu fighter in Ghana.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 17 Flu Update

A US government report says that the US has completed many elements of its pandemic plan, but many hard ones are still in place, including rapid tests and hospital capacity.

NY Times on bird flu prep going on.

“The reality is that there are tremendous challenges to sealing our borders to begin with,” said Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, special assistant to the president for biodefense, “Secondly we believe that if a pandemic virus emerges anywhere in the globe, it is inevitable that it will arrive here in the U.S. irrespective of the actions we take at the borders.”

CIDRAP on the US Report--says 86% of objectives have been met.

On the other hand, Ghana says it is ready to fight the bird flu.

This will surely energize the blogosphere. Margaret Chan says a pandemic can be prevented.

The Czech Republic is preparing to ask the EU for support in the fight against bird flu.

Migratory birds in Siberia have bird flu antibodies.

China (yes, China) touts the value of teamwork against bird flu.

A Mayor in the Philippines is waging a fight against bird flu in his town.

Mississippi residents are told what it will take for them to be ready for bird flu.

People in New Zealand are reminded of what they would have to survive in a pandemic.

Effect Measure blogs this question--what would the implications of being able to distinguish natural and induced immunity in birds?

Roche has approval for some new doses of Tamiflu.

St. Jude's receives major grant for flu research.

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16 Flu Update

More avian outbreaks in the Czech Republic.

The man who died in Thailand had pneumonia, not H5N1.

A lot people look at the cytokine storm as the flu's real killer, and the best chance to reverse the disease. CIDRAP has a recent study that says, not so fast.

Togo received 1 million doses of flu "vaccine"

Bird experts are meeting at the University of Maine (Cradle of Ornithologists), and flu is on the agenda.

WHO moves ahead with its vaccine stockpile plan.

Yesterday, we noted that the British Health ministry is warning that birds will migrate to Britain from countries where there is flu. On ProMed, the Mod notes that if that happens, several other countries will see the flying birds first.

From a microbiology journal, there is the news that mammals transmit some flu strains better than others.

UNICEF in Indonesia is supporting bird flu programming.

July 15 Flu Update

Back again.

There is a possible bird flu death in Thailand.

Effect Measure blogs on the young Indonesian who died recently, and vague, unconvincing and largely unsubstantiaed arguments for exposure to birds. Point isn't this case--it is that how bad would it have to be before authorities would be willing to recognize what was going on.

Britain is warning vets to watch out for signs of the bird flu from migratory birds.

Poultry industry pub in Indonesia reports on bird flu surveillance efforts.

Vets in US are also told they can help with the bird flu.

Hint of what is to come, the Virginia turkey incident cost $600,000, and that was low path.

An astrophysicist at Cambridge gives humanity a 50/50 shot to survive. I hate optimists.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Summer travel season continues merrily along. The next publication of this blog will be on July 16, 2007.

July 11 Flu Update

Two more provinces in Vietnam have been hit by bird flu.

Potentially chilling news--Indonesia says that the boy who died last weekend was not in contact with sick birds.

Bird flu was also found at two new poultry farms in the Czech Republic.

A vet team campaigns against bird flu in Nigeria.

WHO officials tells Australians that the flu in Indonesia is rampant and close.

Biovant says its adjuvant is effective against bird flu.

Effect Measure notes that even if the bird flu is a big yawn to the media in people, it makes a huge impact in the poultry industry.

According to this, flu testing in Azerbaijan is bad for tourism.

A symposium was held in Washington on bird flu.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 10 Flu Update

This seems like a perfect application for computers--an intelligent alert system for emerging disease threats like bird flu is being developed in Canada.

Egypt has banned French and German poultry imports.

Uganda is requesting $17M in flu assistance.

ProMed has OIE report from Germany.

Togo is compensating farmers for bird flu losses.

Effect Measure blogs a paper on virus shedding, which may go on with Influenza A longer than the five days (post onset) that people expected.

I don't usually cover low path flu, but there is some in Virginia. Note the state's reaction.

Article from Canada on understanding 1918 and 2007.

Monday, July 09, 2007

July 9 Flu Update

An Indonesian boy died over the weekend of bird flu.

CIDRAP has this story as well.

ProMed on Indonesia, as well.

A pet bird in Germany has flu, and the culling has begun.

Japan has halted bird flu imports from Germany, temporarily.

A German pub runs letters to the editor on bird flu.

Bird flu plagues Southern Vietnam.

Revere blogs the recent Stanford students who are starting a program for a pandemic hotline....says it would be even better if it were open source.

Thailand has anti-bird flu measures in place.

In Japan, people are being asked not to feed the swans at a local park due to bird flu fears.

Smugglers arrested moving birds out of Indonesia.

The US is working with Sri Lanka to prevent bird flu.

Hospital in Sierra Vista, CA prepares for pandemic exercise.

Three local FP's in Colorado have completed pandemic training.

An Australian scientist says people should be able to test themselves for bird flu and then medicate themselves with Tamiflu.

Novavax is working with Wyeth on flu vaccines.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

July 8 Flu Update

Sorry for the day off...unexpected overnight trip....

The French avian cases are now lab confirmed.

Germany is culling and taking other measures to defend against bird flu.

The German poultry outbreak appears to be limited to one bird.

Dutch customs officials are dogs to search for bird flu.

The Ministry of Health is planning ahead for a flu pandemic.

From Shreveport, LA, an article on the impact of a pandemic, including economic.

GSK is working with a Japanese company on stockpiling bird flu vaccine.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

July 6 Flu Update

Bird flu has hit poultry in Germany.

Emergency responders are studying bird flu in Ontario.

Bird flu is spreading in Europe--from Wisconsin ag officials.

Philippines touts its bird flu lab keeping nation flu free.

Editorial calls for the right thing to be done in Malaysia--all the pieces have to be put together.

As a precaution, pigeon racing is being banned in Britain.

A doctor in Vietnam says the survival rate of H5N1 has been improving.

Revere blogs the "head in the sand." Usual cogent commentary follows. For the life of me--for everything in the world I do not understand--I do not understand why Revere's last question has not been answered.

The widespread prevalence of the virus in bird populations -- and who knows, perhaps other reservoirs we've never looked at -- means that it has many chances to experiment with new ways to make copies of itself. The birds live closely with humans. It is possible that the game is rigged against the virus, of course. For example it might be that the kind of changes that would need to happen are biologically too unfavorable in some way or don't happen for structural reasons. Not impossible or even implausible. We really have no idea because currently we don't understand this virus well enough. But why would a prudent person make that assumption?

ProMed has an excellent study of which wild birds are most susceptible to H5N1.

Based on our results, mute swans, cackling geese, and bar-headed geese were identified as waterfowl species that pose the greatest susceptibility to lethal infection and some species shed virus for up to 4 days before becoming ill. Such findings suggest some waterfowl species could spread H5N1 HPAI virus between limited geographic regions, but results do not suggest that these species would be long-term reservoirs for this virus.

India is blocking imports of birds from Bangladesh.

Vietnam also says that the virus is the same as 2005, but different from 2004.

ProMed has this as well--note mod comment that wording it too imprecise to be of much use.

Students in Stanford have a pandemic hotline. Local health officials are using it as a model.

Color this no surprise--public is less concerned with bird flu.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 5 Flu Update

CIDRAP with the news that wild birds in France are H5N1+ and that birds in Austria are being tested as well.

Dozens more birds in Germany are sick. They have raised their bird flu alert to high.

The French have jumped in to seal off farms.

Revere blogs a pandemic prep document from Virginia. Notes it is the right thing, but citizens still need to lead.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4 Flu Update--Back again.

Nice trip. Semi-relaxing.

A 3-year old is locally confirmed H5N1 in Indonesia (ProMed).

Germany is reporting bird flu in a wild bird. Also, France is testing some dead birds.

Update: French birds are H5N1.

Promed on France, Germany and Vietnam. Note Vietnam heading to China to buy poultry vaccine.

OIE is helping with a vaccination program in Togo, while poultry vaccination is going slowly in Vietnam due to a shortage of vaccine (ProMed).

More on vets at increased risk.

Barbados is allowing British poultry back into the country.