Thursday, September 13, 2007

September 13 Flu Update

Thailand and Laos are holding meetings to discuss bird flu.

Busy WHO says bird flu is still big risk in Pacific.

In Orange County, CA, the head of Roche talks about the need for pandemic prep.

Delaware Tech says that it is helping Romania fight the bird flu.

A McGill University Geographer talks about how new techniques are being used to map more effectively, even for migratory birds and the flu.

Canada's health minister says that there will be adequate vaccine in a pandemic.

Health officials in Springfield, MO, are preparing for a pandemic.

Same thing is going on in Tunica, MS.

GlaxoSmithKline is expanding its plant in Quebec City.


At 5:59 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


A couple of quick comments about your articles….

Notice the concerning statement in your first article about Thailand and Laos, which briefly details their cooperative efforts at surveillance ? It says that the bird flu situation in Laos is “worsening” and they need more labs. Definitely not good. There has been a lot of WHO meetings in the Asia area over the last couple of weeks – all I believe in response to the H5N1 abysmal mess in Indonesia.

I like the main message that the CEO from Hoffman-La Roche imparts to business leaders about pandemic preparation and COOP planning: the CEO or the board of directors has to be the champion. I have seen dozens and dozens of instances where companies and agencies slough off this key leadership responsibility to their Human Resources departments, or to unqualified staff members, who treat the subject like just another government mandate or initiative, and “document a plan” on paper, and shove it in a binder. (Check the square).

The article about the University of Delaware and Delaware Tech collaboration with Romania, really points out once again, what a difference one individual person can make when it comes to providing effective training and technical assistance, for controlling H5N1. Similarly, these kind of spectacular efforts are also reflected by the local health departments in your Springfield, Missouri and Tunica, Mississippi, articles. (Notice that none of these individuals mentioned in these articles, holds any prestigious WHO position, either).

When I read Canadian Health Minister, Tony Clements, comments about Canada having an adequate supply of pre-pandemic and pandemic influenza vaccine, one major concern comes to mind: the security of the four GlaxoSmithKine vaccine production plants in North America. I am talking about some real serious type security of these plants during an imminent or announced outbreak of a pandemic avian influenza, not just the local RCMP’s, state police, or sheriff’s office, manned by a bunch of Barney Fife’s and Andy Taylor’s.

As far as I know, there are only four functioning GSK vaccine manufacturing plants in all of North America that would be depended upon to produce vaccines in order to avoid total devastation on this continent due to a novel influenza – they are located in Quebec City, Canada; Hamilton, Montana; Columbia, Maryland and Marietta, Georgia. I would hope that both Canada and the US have contingency plans to protect these national assets with serious military force against sabotage and terrorist acts.

If these plants are out of commission, so are we. We’d be talking an apocalypse without these four plants functioning and generating vital vaccines.

In fact, all of North America may be SOL if they aren’t protected. (I sure hope some four star General in the Pentagon, or Congressman, reads this comment and we don’t have to read about this deficiency in another GAO audit report).



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