Monday, September 24, 2007

September 24 Flu Update

There are two young boys in the hospital with suspected bird flu in Indonesia.

The latest potential case in Indonesia has died.

More news from Bulgaria. Letter to editor on inevitable pandemic.

Hong Kong has re-started poultry imports from South China.

Meanwhile, the South China region with the outbreaks has suspended exports.

China says it is cooperating fully with WHO.

Hospitals in Kansas City are getting ready for a pandemic.

Bird flu is said to be "stalking" Tanzania.

Newton County, MO, is urging residents to prepare for a pandemic.

Revere with a good post. Data shows that school absenteeism is very low in the US. Widespread school absences would stress the system--including parents and workplaces.

CIDRAP has kicked off, a set of peer-reviewed pandemic practices.

Here are a few examples of resources in the database:

  • "North Carolina's Ethical Guidelines for an Influenza Pandemic." A task force of public health and medical experts, according to the description, carefully addressed three ethical issues: the responsibility of healthcare workers to provide care and to be protected, the balance of individual and community needs, and the "prioritization" of limited resources.
  • "Reopening Shuttered Hospitals to Expand Surge Capacity." The materials, provided by the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, describe the authors' experiences in reopening a closed hospital in Boston and offer an extensive tool kit to address problems others may encounter in doing the same.
  • "Pandemic Influenza Mortuary Planning Guidelines." The materials recount how a committee in Barron County, Wis., assessed the county's capacity for processing human remains and established a Unified Mortuary Preparation Facility and a Family Assistance Center. The group developed a "strategy to increase remains processing capacity through resource sharing and utilization of a unified command structure."
  • "Isolation and Quarantine in Alexandria, Virginia." The document details the city's strategy for invoking and enforcing isolation and quarantine for any contagious disease that poses a public health threat.
  • "Stay at Home Toolkit for Influenza." The kit, from Montgomery County, Md., is "a user-friendly guide for family reference, including tabs."


At 6:10 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I see from your articles the dismal news reports keep trickling out of Indonesia – one more death, and two ill small children on their deathbed. One would think the Indonesian government and heath ministry would have gotten the word out to the populace about the dangers of close contacts with poultry. But, I just don’t think that has occurred from the statistics we are seeing.

As far as China goes, the real message there that I’m gleening from your articles, is regardless what the government says, especially MoA Li Jinxiang, don’t eat poultry products if want to collect your retirement or pension. Communist totalitarianism does not always have the citizen’s health and welfare at heart. They only exist to perpetuate the regime and party apparatus.

I read your pretty sobering article out of Bulgaria. I guess I agree totally with Dr. Hill – an influenza pandemic (or some other kind of similar deadly contagion) is an inevitability. With H5N1 leading the pack, the virus becoming quickly more resistant to Tamiflu, along with such a high fatality rate and no vaccine guaranteed until many months after emergence – the events are beginning to shape up like a Hollywood disaster film directors dream-come-true. I really wonder though if anyone will be left after a severe pandemic to produce a NG film documentary, or there will be any actors still standing to star in a made-for-TV disaster movie.

Nice report out of greater Kansas City area about their hospitals using their HHS grant money to prepare for mass emergencies, a pandemic being the most challenging. Did anyone notice that as part of the HHS grant provisions, each state is required to develop alternate pandemic treatment sites for triage and stockpiling of equipment ? It would be nice if this kind of information would be made public – it might get folks more interested and perhaps encourage them to take the subject more serious.

Also a very nice CIDRAP article you posted. It never ceases to amaze me how a couple of smart people can make a huge difference. Now why can’t the HHS, FEMA, DHS or CDC do the research and establish a useful pandemic resource reference database like this ? You would think with the armies of civil servants they have tripping over themselves, that a couple of them somewhere could have put “two and two” together. Maybe that’s just the problem: they have too many civil servants sitting around waiting for the golden retirement plan to kick in. I dunno.

Finally, a comment on Revere’s article. Every once in a great while, it looks like he runs out of gas for topical discussions. This article seems to be one of those subjects where the only comment is: huh ?

I have always viewed school systems, like the vast electrical grid system in North America, as one of those critical links that could break down quickly during a pandemic and shock people with how fragile the “system” really is. The public school system’s in the US are a series of endless bureaucracies, which have been transformed and evolved over the last five decades into the epitome of inefficiency. Mostly this is due to federal and state guidelines, augmented funding with endless attachment strings, resulting in disempowered teachers and principals.

So, who will end up making the decision to keep massive numbers of ill children home ? In my opinion, it will be the parents themselves. My prediction is that the public school systems and public health departments in most states during a severe pandemic will default into gridlock, especially over who has the final authority to authorize school closures and when to do it.

School systems in the US are “run” by committees and consensus, and as we all know: “consensus is the absence of real leadership”. Committee’s almost always guarantee you the lowest optimal result via the lowest common denominator.



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