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.


At 6:23 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about the Canadian intelligent alert system being a perfect application for computers. That is… providing our North American power grid system, mobile telecommunications infrastructure, as well as physical, human and cyber systems still remain functioning during a pandemic. Sharing of critical public health care sector disease information between the public and private sectors is challenging in normal times, let alone a pandemic of one or more deadly novel influenza viruses. I generally like the concept, but the alert system will only be as robust as the infrastructures supporting it – which are likely to experience failure at some point. (no need mentioning the banking and financial institutions, energy production, transportation, public health sector, agriculture and food production, water treatment systems, commercial, IT, postal and shipping and emergency services, which are all likely to experience failures during a pandemic national emergency).

Notice in your ProMed avian report on Germany, it mentions twice, “vaccination is forbidden for poultry, it is only allowed for zoo birds” ? This policy seems to be really inconsistent with what is going on in the rest of the world. And it also makes me wonder - why ?

I found Revere’s commentary on virus shedding, a pretty interesting discussion, but some of the implications and observations are pretty impractical. For example, as several commenter’s pointed out – with the number of sick people during a pandemic numbering in the tens (if not hundreds) of millions, it’s pretty useless to consider the use of boundaries or “degrees of isolation”, to separate primary and secondary suspected cases to limit viral shedding. In addition, how would we even test for viral shedding ? This is a situation nearly impossible to control or monitor.

Lastly Orange, a quick comment on your Canadian article, which discusses the suspected cause of the 1918 pandemic (equine), and it’s relationship to the coronavirus (SARS) and the orthomyxovirus (avian origin). What is really fascinating is the article’s comment, “Modern day life styles and the interrelated global society almost guarantee that when the next one does occur, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to isolate and contain”.

This seems to fall directly in line with a comment I overheard at a meeting I just returned from on the East Coast (Michigan, Penna, Ohio and New York). Three physicians were discussing the impact of an avian pandemic, and they said: (1) it would be unstoppable and represented the largest known epidemiological threat of this century, and (2) it would be the largest disaster ever to hit the US. I also overheard them to say that due to the large number of indigent, elderly and immunocompromised, coupled with the huge number of uninsured people and sparse number of clinics, there is almost guaranteed a catastrophe in the rural inaccessible areas. Interesting that their comments jibe with this article and there remarks could be applicable to almost anywhere in the US.

Just some info that I would pass this along only to you, so keep it on the “down-low”.


At 8:45 PM, Blogger Orange said...

It will be our little secret.


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