Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September 5 Flu Update

Amador County, CA says it is all prepared for bird flu.

Meanwhile, Australia recognizes that the bird flu represents a grave threat.

Revere notes that all the talk about wild birds is just speculation, without the right data.


At 6:01 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Very nice article you posted on the preparation planning being done by the Amador County Public Health Department. What is extremely striking about the article, is the inclusion of the local Hospice care folks in their effort.

Everyone give this some thought: can you imagine how devastating an influenza pandemic would be to the hospice community and terminally ill patients? I have no words to describe the situation which might unfold, since the numbers of severely ill and immuno-suppressed patients affected, could be staggering. Add in the millions more people concentrated in prisons, senior care homes, day care centers and convalescing in hospitals – and the fatality toll could be in the “many millions”.

I noticed a couple of interesting things in your Australian article, too. In particular, I locked on Dr. David Heymann’s comments that a “Bird flu pandemic poses a ‘great risk’ to Australia”.

1. He says (for probably the thousandth time), “it’s not a question of whether a pandemic will occur, but when”. If people haven’t gotten this message by now, especially from the head of the WHO Communicable Disease Program, and prepared adequately and started being observant, then quite frankly, they better consider the fact that they might become a fatality “statistic”. It’s that simple. Myself, I’m not going down easy, even if I have to buy a one-way ticket to Antarctica.

2. He also made an interesting comment, that “health workers have not been infected with H5N1 from their patients”. I will only say that I absolutely do not believe this to be the case. There are simply too many cases that have been reported over the last six months about HCW’s in Indonesia, that have fallen ill, stuffed immediately to the gills with Tamiflu, and their cases are never discussed or reported on by the local media, ever again. They evaporate into thin air. Either David is (a) not on top of his game, or (b) he doesn’t have irrefutable proof, so he doesn’t want to speculate, or (c) the local Indonesian reporters and hospitals got it all wrong. (I suspect “b” is the correct answer folks).

My last comment about Australia is that I do not believe they are as prepared for a pandemic, as they think they are. Based on the problems they have had with their seasonal influenza and horse epidemics – they ain’t close to be prepared for the “big one”.

Finally, the conundrum about whether wild birds or domestic poultry are the “purveyors” of H5N1: they both are, and it doesn’t really matter much anymore. I think this is a moot subject - so many mammalian hosts are also infected and conveying the virus, that what difference does it really make ? It’s impossible to vaccinate or cull all the hosts of H5N1 in the world now, heck, scientists can’t even identify them all with any degree of certainty.

Fly’s and mosquitoes could even be carrying this H5 crap – look at how West Nile Virus is suddenly spreading in the US this year.

H5 could just “climb on board” the WNV mosquito express and we’d really be hosed with a double whammy.



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