Wednesday, August 29, 2007

August 29 Flu Update

New bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam.

The avian outbreak in Germany is worse than anticipated.

The Grand Coulee dam area is doing bird flu prep.

Nigeria is working on bird flu prep.

The Philippines IDs some areas for bird flu watch.

Vietnam says it will share its bird flu info.

Revere blogs the idea of games being used for public health purposes---and a contest.


At 6:25 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I see the Birdflu outbreaks in Vietnam are continuing, regardless of their monumental poultry vaccination efforts. I’ve said this before, but it’s really worth repeating: I doubt if countries (like Vietnam) will be ever be able to logistically keep up with vaccinating all of their chickens and duckies. There are simply too many hundreds of millions of them clucking and quacking around, for this to be feasible. In addition, the turnover (life cycle) from poultry chicks-to-market, numbers in the hundreds of millions per year also. And if that weren’t enough, poultry needs to be vaccinated two-three times during a typical year to develop and maintain the antibodies needed to fight off the disease.

So what are seeing, realistically ? The answer is a lot of poultry are being “missed”, many are still waddling around asymptomatic, and many are still being outright infected and flop over dead as a doornail.

At least Vietnam is willing to share bird flu information. What the UN and WHO need to do quickly is divert the boatloads of financial assistance going to Indonesia, and send this money to Vietnam. If Madame Supari is not going to cooperate, why should anybody send her any money ? Doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s like paying Al Capone to be a nice guy and cooperate.

I see from your article about the bird flu outbreak in Germany, that it is very likely that infected poultry from their farms, probably entered the food chain. That can’t be good, but of course this information will be down played, especially once the finger pointing starts.

Your article about the folks in Grant Co., Washington making preparations for a pandemic, has an excellent bit on insight if one reads it carefully: Triage centers.
People need to understand that during a pandemic, hospitals and emergency rooms will not be the place to go if treatment is needed (you will probably be turned away anyway), it will the designated Triage centers. Knowing where your Triage centers are will be worth its weight in gold.

Finally, did you notice the one very important sentence in your Nigerian article ? The sentence reads: “Airlines now carry more than two billion passengers a year, enabling people and diseases that travel with them to pass from one country to another in a matter of hours”. During the Pandemic of 1918, it took weeks to travel across either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. It also took weeks to travel across the US.

The moral of the story is this – you can almost bet that if a novel avian influenza virus starts out as a local epidemic in some foreign country (like Indonesia or China for good examples), which is highly deadly and transmissible – we can count on it entering the US with absolute certainty within hours. No way around it. It will be in our midst before we can close any borders, stop any flights, shut down schools, or even distribute Tamiflu or vaccinate the population in time. (we’ll barely have time to make our final run to Walmart).

Two billion passengers a year crossing country lines, and the chances of not one person spreading a deadly influenza virus ? Impossible odds…



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