Monday, August 13, 2007

August 12 Flu Update

Back in the saddle again.

Three new avian cases in Togo.

There is a suspected bird flu death on Bali, which would be a first.

Another outbreak in Manipur, India has caused poultry farms to be sealed.

Public records from the 1918 pandemic show that community control measures (ie school closings) did help to prevent deaths--if implemented soon enough after the pandemic starts.

In a telling example, New York City′s early and sustained response, including isolation and quarantine and staggered business hours, resulted in the lowest excess death rate for any city on the East Coast during the time period reviewed. By contrast, Pittsburgh was well into its outbreak before implementing the interventions and experienced the highest excess death rate of any of the 43 cities.

Mississippi school officials talks about preparing for a pandemic.

Effect Measure looks at a recent NIH article on a vaccine "breakthrough" and wonders in a slow business like science what purpose a press release has.

India plans to test migratory birds for H5N1.

USA Today profiles Sanofi's new vaccine plant in the Poconos.

"We assume that in a pandemic, the only vaccine available to Americans is going to be a vaccine made in America," says Bruce Gellin, director of the National Vaccine Program office in the Department of Health and Human Services. "A goal of our pandemic vaccine program is largely to ensure we have sufficient domestic capacity to meet this country's need."

Good editorial from Newfoundland on why flu deserves attention, even when the hype has died.

St. Lucia has ended its poultry ban.


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Good to see you back riding on the MSM range again.

Your most significantly informative article you posted is the news about the Sanofi plant, out in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. In case there is any doubt about the possibility of a worldwide avian influenza pandemic (or some other novel flu virus) in anybody’s mind – they should note carefully the language being used by Bruce Gellin, director of US National Vaccine Program Office, in HHS.

He says two important things: “the ball could drop any second”, and if it does, “the world will change”. The means in my mind that the person who probably is one of the few individuals in the entire world who best understands the data and knows what the current threat and risk of pandemic avian flu is – is uttering a warning, that it could be imminent.

His choice of words in this article, is ominously similar to other high level government official comments surfacing within the last six months – all with an increased sense of urgency, along with the heightened importance of communities and individuals to be prepared. The words and warnings of these knowledgeable government officials are being carefully calibrated upward. Others have noticed this phenomenon also: the daily news reports are sparse, the warning alarms are being slowly elevated in tone.

The worldwide spread of bird flu has not slowed one bit. In fact, whether it’s reoccurring in India (Imphal, or Manipur), or now surfacing in Togo, or Bali, it has not diminished in its determined spread over continents. In my view, most of this endemic spread across the globe, is simply not being noticed, or is being reported only after dead wild birds or poultry have died. After the fact.

This is why in my mind, when I read articles like the one from Medical News Today, about the value of implementing community measures – non pharmaceutical interventions become rather academic in the “big scheme” of things. I am not worried in the least about US communities following CDC guidelines, like the implementation of voluntary isolation and quarantine, dismissal of students, and things like “social distancing”, for these measures will fall into place under their own inertia, as local governments, communities and individuals quickly realize these actions are necessary to slow down the spread of any deadly disease. These will be the natural pathways of least resistance that people and communities will voluntarily take.

What I find particularly concerning is our federal government’s actions, or inaction, once a pandemic is known and verified: will they act in haste (example being, close down ports of entry, airline flights, and international borders indiscriminately), deliver mixed messages to the public, and fail to assess the situation properly ? Will they be able to distribute antiviral’s, and other emergency health care support and supplies on a timely basis, throughout vast areas of the US, simultaneously ?

This is all very doubtful in my view. We will most likely be in the second or third wave of infections and deaths, before the state and federal governments are able to fully grip with the catastrophe and restore any semblance of order like we are used to.

This is what I believe Bruce Gellin means when he says, “the world will change”. People are overlooking the fact that we are potentially dealing with one of the most virulent (highly infectious) pathogen since the Great Plague. Yes, sir-ee it is.

And most people do not adapt to change easily.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home