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.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Interesting array of different articles today.

India seems to be going to great lengths to deny that any human cases of bird flu exists. Actually, they are falling into the same trap that other countries fall into: human avian influenza illnesses are secondary – of paramount importance is to stop the spread of bird flu in the poultry and other mammalian populations at this time before it becomes endemic. (If you stop the source, you stop the human infection). Also I noticed in the Indian news: if H5N1 is not suspected in any individuals, why start distributing Tamiflu ? What’s really the rationale behind this ?

Helen has done another fine article on the subject of human volunteers to study the dynamics of flu transmission and “challenge studies”. One can conclude from her article that there is still much to learn from these type studies and the transmission data desperately needs to be updated. I doubt though that there will be any world wide collaboration or team effort on this – it makes too much sense.

I am surprised at only one particular thing about the Pakistan/Thailand contaminated chicken “embargo” article: why these proposed embargoes have not been more widespread, in consonance with the spread of H5N1. One would think that all countries would “hunker down” like Pakistan and refuse the import of poultry from infected countries. As disruptive as it sounds, I believe nearly all countries will end up in this maximum protection-mode, before its all over.

Your article out of Orono, Maine really points out some deficiencies in the US surveillance system, as well as how short-sighted the European system is, as well: very little emphasis being done on surveillance of the hundreds of millions of poultry flocks, imported exotic pet birds, or even dead birds – and way too much surveillance of migratory birds. All possible avenues of H5N1 entry and pathways of infection have to be considered, in order to be comprehensive. Otherwise, we are whistling in the wind.

Your article from Dr. Gilbert Morris in the Caribbean: fantastic. This guy really knows what he’s talking about. It was extremely well written and insightful. He knows the score and how the game should be played.

Finally, your article from Cumberland, Maryland about their joint state and federal pandemic exercise to determine the logistical challenges involved in the distribution of “antivirals” – reveals the need for every state in the US to complete this same sort of exercise, now, while there is time to spot the chokepoints and planning gaps.

Dr. Morris astutely calls the potential avian flu pandemic: “ a coming catastrophe”, which could “ kill 80 to 200 million people, depending on geographical area and population density”.

Many of us think these numbers could prove to be profoundly conservative.

Many of us also think the images of the Katrina debacle that were broadcast around the world, could be magnified and repeated, many times over during a severe influenza pandemic, which could last multiple months, or even years.

Now that’s some real food for thought for all those unprepared weenies out there.



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