Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11 Flu Update

VOA reports that International officials are questioning whether Indonesia is going all it can to fight bird flu...and Indonesia is defending itself.

"We already tripled the units for surveillance in Indonesia, so the components of surveillance is becoming more and more complete," said Bayu. "It's not yet perfect for all of Indonesia, but at least we made some progress."

Meanwhile, Indonesia has asked Russia for help.

Indonesia is also going to produce its own Tamiflu (none for me, thanks).

Malaysia has been declared bird flu free.

More prevention in the Philippines' Region 8.

Vietnam seized a ton of chickens that were smuggled in from China.

Meanwhile Vietnam says it is almost bird flu free.

The International Bird flu summit is coming up later in the month in (I swear to God) Las Vegas.

Revere blogs on 9/11, security, and where we have gone in six years.

Sinovac is in Phase II of its clinical trials for vaccine.

ProMed on the confirmed H5N1 swan in Russia.

Reuters Factbox on Bird flu.

1 Comments:

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

I see you’ve recovered from the slow news days…

Indonesia – let’s see, if I have things straight here: of the 106 cases confirmed to date there, 85 have been fatal, for a fatality rate of 80%, which incidentally, is 8 times the documented average SARS CFR. Also, they have all the WHO and Asia bird flu big-wigs there in Bali for a summit meeting on the subject this week, and when they are questioned about their preparedness being adequate, the best they can respond with is, “they are assessing ways to improve the country’s programs to prevent the bird flu”, and they “are getting better at quickly detecting human outbreaks of the virus”?

There is something wrong with entire bird flu picture in Indonesia. They have squawked incessantly about affordable vaccines for months, withheld H5N1 virus samples as a result of this contention, and have embarked on their own human vaccine trials and production capability. They also have now announced a vaccine technology sharing relationship with Russia, and will be producing their own version of Tamiflu. What’s going on ?

The answer in my view is because of a term called “halal”, which means “proper or permitted by Allah”, for all Muslims, especially in Indonesia. What they haven’t said one word about all along, is that their religious zealousness is driving them to develop their own bird and human vaccines, antivirals, and manufacturing capability – the issue is not about the economics and/or accessibility of affordable of vaccines. It never has been in my view. “Haram”, means “prohibited” or “forbidden” by Allah for Muslim consumption, and the ingredients used in foreign processed foods or medicines, may contain hidden “haram” components. What’s more, the equipment used in food and medicine production, must be free of non-halal ingredients before starting halal production, and from contamination while in production. Foods and medicines not prepared or processed using halal standards and ingredients, are deemed unacceptable to Indonesian Muslims. Halal “certified”, means it must be produced under the inspection and evaluation of Muslim professionals trained in both Islamic religious law and in production practices. Wrap your brain around this 12th century set of beliefs if you will.

So in my view, we have a real cultural, economic, religious, infectious, and governmental mess going on in Indonesia, which the WHO and the entire western world is failing to acknowledge. More money, aid and twenty 1st century medical technology transfer will not solve this potential disastrous confluence. Think of it this way: see a similar thread between the severity of the bird flu situations in Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria, and what I just mentioned perhaps ?

On the brighter side of things, I think Revere is a pretty astute and clever person. His article about “Lessons Learned”, from September 11th, the TB infected Atlanta lawyer episode, the current US war on terrorism, the CDC and Iraq, really sums things up well.
It really boils down to the utter incompetence of one border patrol agent who failed to do his job and follow orders. (the most amazing thing is that particular individual was never fired, he actually retired). The current administration and congressional leaders, as usual, have failed to discern the simple difference between two unrelated events: one incompetent lazy individual not doing his job and the fact you cannot stop a highly infectious disease when numerous individuals are contagious.

This is why we are not prepared for an influenza pandemic “mega-disaster”.

Think about it: we are really between “Iraq and a hard place” when it comes to pandemic preparation as a nation.

Wulfgang

 

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