Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30 Flu Update

CIDRAP on the sick 3-year old in Indonesia.

University of Wisconsin is completing its $12.5M flu lab, with enhanced biosecurity....

Ten-inch walls made with crack-resistant concrete. Outlets sealed with silicone.Sensors for broken windows. Infrared surveillance beams. Redundant air handling systems. A back-up generator.

Part 4 of the CIDRAP vaccine series--adjuvants. (You know you are a flu junkie if this topic is exciting to you).

"We have H5N1 to thank for opening up the flu research field, which was absolutely creeping along," said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, who has long research experience with live-attenuated vaccine. "We've always known that flu vaccine was good, but not great—not a 21st century vaccine with 95% protection—but there was a feeling that it was good enough. But H5N1 changed the risk-benefit ratio so that we are willing for instance to work with adjuvants, which may have theoretical risks but certainly may well afford tangible benefits. We're going to learn a whole lot about the immunology of protection that we haven't learned in the past" (see Bibliography: Monto 2007).

Australian region prepares for worst in bird flu pandemic.

Hey...nobody said it would be easy. Bird flu in China is raising the cost of duck down padding.

"Threats" Website looks at bird flu.

Sure, we make fun of people who compulsively wash their hands. But during a pandemic......

October 29 Flu Update

3 year old boy in Indonesia is confirmed as having bird flu.

ProMed on the sick boy, who is said to have minor symptoms.

Houston is making pandemic plans.

CIDRAP with part 3 of their special series on the obstacles to vaccines. This one is really interesting...the unique aspects of H5N1.

New Zealand's pandemic preparedness is called world class.

Ukraine bans Canadian poultry

In the Philippines, the Department of Ag has listed the areas where bird flu may enter the country.

Bird flu remains a problem in Nigeria.

Monday, October 29, 2007

October 28 Flu Update

OK, remember when it was Tamiflu mania? New Zealanders pre-ordered large amounts of the drug in 2005. Today, they are leaving it unclaimed on Rx shelves.

Port Huron, MI, is gearing up for bird flu fight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

October 27 Flu Update

More on continuing outbreaks in Vietnam.

ProMed on FAO warnings from Europe, as well as latest from Vietnam.

The UK government says 650,000 will die of bird flu in that country.

Hall County, NE, joins other areas in using the seasonal flu vaccine for a pandemic exercise.

Same thing in Arkansas.

Oshkosh readers are educated on the difference between seasonal flu and a pandemic.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October 26 Flu Update

Commentary from China on the news that bird flu can pass to a fetus. Note strong denial on human transmissibility.

Part 2 of CIDRAP's pandemic vaccine series. Tidbit below (Dr. Fedson is quoted in our right sidebar):

The WHO analysis hides a number of highly optimistic assumptions, including zero glitches in production and 100% cooperation by regulators. But the greatest assumption may be that the newly produced pandemic vaccine would be distributed equitably to all comers around the globe. It is more likely that vaccine would never leave the countries where it is produced.

Seven hundred and fifty million "is fewer than the number of people that live in the nine countries that produce 85% of the world's supply of flu vaccine," said David Fedson, MD, a retired academic and vaccine-industry executive who has published critical analyses of pandemic-vaccine planning. "Which means that, if you live outside of a vaccine-producing country—whether that means Indonesia or Sweden or Spain—you get nothing" (see Bibliography: Fedson 2007: Author interview).

WHO says that more effective vaccines have, in effect, expanded vaccine capacity.

ProMed on the recent death in Indonesia.

CIDRAP on whether bird flu is lurking in Europe.

Azerbaijan says its bird flu monitoring is done.

They're doing some bird flu dialogues in Nigeria.

Professor in Ulster prepares for big address, noting that battle with infectious disease is far from over.

In Uganda, the government is taking action on bird flu.

Friday, October 26, 2007

October 25 Flu Update

Three local areas in Vietnam have been hit by bird flu.

This report says the flu found in Vietnam is the Fujian strain, which is said to be human transmissible.

The UN says bird flu on "silent march" in Europe.

``It seems that a new chapter in the evolution of avian influenza may be unfolding silently in the heart of Europe,'' said Joseph Domenech, the organization's chief veterinary officer, in the statement.

Revere blogs this article, correctly catching the tone that the EU knows more about this than they are letting on.

University study in UK discusses duck meat the scope of a potential flu outbreak.

Must read: CIDRAP kicks off a 7-part series on the prospects for pandemic flu vaccine development.

A mutation mutes the effect of the seasonal flu vaccine....to be noted.

Dr. Nabarro hails Asian transparency on bird flu.

In Wichita, KS, they are planning a pandemic preparedness drill in conjunction with their seasonal flu shots.

Ct paper covers local speech on pandemic flu.

London Times medical column includes policy advice for UK government.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24 Flu Update

A four year old child has died in Indonesia.

Bird flu breaking out in Vietnam again.

Research indicates that flu hits children's lungs faster--this would seem to run counter to the cytokine storm theory.

Nabarro speaks what many believe is true--we are 2-3 years away from being ready for a pandemic.

New Scientist says that there may be a new drug that could lead to a universal flu vaccine.

CIDRAP on the US pandemic plan that says who gets vaccine first, reported here yesterday.

Revere on the US pandemic plan....lining up for a vaccine that doesn't exist.

OIE report from Myanmar.

Bird flu exercise held in Nebraska.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October 22 Flu Update

Confusion reigns in Indonesia....

Here the Health minister says the girl did die of bird flu.....

and here a health official says she did not.

Meanwhile, a WHO report confirms human-human transmission in Indonesia, as many have suspected.

But the WHO assistant director for communicable diseases, David Heymann, said it was likely the Sumatran virus was spread by human-to-human contact.

"We believe there has likely been transmission through intimate or close contact," he said.

In the US, a report due out Tuesday will say who gets first dibs on flu vaccine.

Deployed military troops, emergency workers, pregnant women and children will be among the first to get scarce vaccinations if a pandemic strain of flu breaks out, U.S. officials said.

Province in Philippines says it is bird flu free.

CIDRAP on US bio-preparedness, including for a pandemic.

The directive, titled "Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD 21)," will "transform our national approach to protecting the health of the American people against all disasters," the document states.

"Ultimately, the Nation must collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health," the directive asserts.

Congress is asking why the administration has unspent vaccine funds.

A Chinese Rx company is selling vaccine within the country.

Louisiana will hold a statewide flu exercise this weekend.

Opinion piece from UNLV says that federal government is out of touch and cites pandemic as one reason why.

Connecticut Governor tells people in her state that a pandemic is coming.

JAMA reviews Dr. Gregor's book A Virus of our own Hatching.

Monday, October 22, 2007

October 21 Flu Update

A 10 year old girl has died of suspected bird flu.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October 20 Flu Update

A flu vaccine is found to be more effective in rural populations than in rural Africa.

Another press release from the Philippines on enhanced bird flu efforts.

Connecticut says bird flu is on its radar, even though threat is not impending.

Bird flu the topic of discussion at a local Farm Bureau meeting in Arkansas.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

October 19 Flu Update

Vietnam urges locals to be on guard for bird flu.

CIDRAP on the WHO patent story.

Because of pandemic prep, poultry farmers in the UK have accelerated approval to build chicken coops.

History is a guide in pandemic planning in South Dakota.

At the University of Iowa, a Bush Homeland Security official talked pandemic.

Children, who are "super-spreaders" of viruses, should be targeted for prevention efforts. Kids not only shed more flu virus, but they also maintain less personal space than adults. Children and elderly people also suffer more with most flu viruses, he said.

Illinois County brags about being on the CIDRAP best practices website.

St. Louis will look at 1918 and 2007-8 with a bird flu public forum.

Arkansas is joining other areas which are using seasonal flu shots as a test drive for bird flu.

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 18 Flu Update

Must read from the Times (UK). Looks at 1918, and then at the UK's current flu plans.

CIDRAP on research that complicates bird flu surveillance--it doesn't effect all small birds the same.

Revere blogs the research on children and bird flu from the Trust for America's Health.

This is an important handle for flu planners. In doing environmental and occupational cancer work for many years I observed that telling a worker he might get cancer in 30 years because of an exposure at work as often as not is met with the reaction that he will certainly have to pay the rent in thirty days. But suggest to him his children or family will be harmed and he walks off the job in 7 seconds.

Vietnam is taking more bird flu steps--breeding ban in place.

The University of Maryland ran a flu simulation.

Another simulation was held in NJ.

Not that you asked, but Sierra Leone says it is bird flu free.

Japanese article on bird flu research.

Don't believe in evolution? What about the flu?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 17 Flu Update

CIDRAP on a report from the Trust for America's Health that says pandemic plans in US are not sufficient to protect children.

The groups recommend that the federal government vastly increase its stockpile of antiviral medication for children, do more testing of pandemic vaccines for children, and increase efforts to understand and deal with the effects of school closings in a country where half of workers can't use sick leave to take time to care for sick children, among other steps.

CIDRAP reports: WHO releases its plan for patenting flu virus sequences, in response to protests from Indonesia.

Speaking in the UK, the US Special Rep. (State Dept.) for Avian Flu gave a speech. Transcript here.

Dr. Michael Greger, a flu expert and reader of this blog, will speak in Boston.

In a flu double bill, Washington State is hosting Alfred Crosby and Gina Kolata.

Revere has part 2 (of 2) of his report on Flu Biology: receptors.

A health expert in Erie, PA, educates the local community on bird flu.

A health expert gave a similar speech in Utah.

US boosts funds for Africa in flu program.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 16 Flu Update

Blunt warning from China....surprisingly blunt.

A Chinese health official with the China Center for Disease prevention and Control (China CDC) warned yesterday that China is increasingly at risk of influenza pandemics that could see almost 200 million people infected in China, according to domestic media.

Can you screen incoming travellers for flu? Apparently, some people in the US government think you can.

According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists currently investigating pandemic response procedures for the Department of Homeland Security, for every flu carrier who --unwittingly or not-- eludes that envisioned net, as many as 10,000 Americans could suffer exposure within three weeks time.
Consider the sheer volume: over 25,000 passengers arrive through Los Angeles' international terminals on a daily basis. In August, when a software glitch struck U.S. Customs' computers there, 20,000 passengers were stranded for up to 18 hours.

More from the US government. Pandemic could cripple US government.

After four years, questions on bird flu remain.

Turkey says it has a bird flu plan.

As the population grows, the global demand for food increases. Part of this involves meat production, and where there are animals, there are animal diseases....like bird flu.

London Ontario is using flu vaccinations to test part of its pandemic plan. This is smart and resourceful.

Mount Pleasant, MI, is holding a pandemic summit.

This is a Revere-Must-Read. He looks at a recent paper on flu receptors in human cells, and explains how this all works. Along the way, he illustrates why science isn't fast.

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 15 Flu Update

CIDRAP on the death in Indonesia.

Also ProMed on the same topic.

The student paper at Illinois State states concern about bird flu.

Thailand and Laos are working together to fight bird flu.

Korea is also planning its bird flu prevention measures.

Vietnam has some new flu technology.

Science and the flu--at war once more.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

October 14 Flu Update

The bird flu is returning to Vietnam, with cool weather.

Meanwhile, China says animal diseases are on the way down.

October 13 Flu Update

An Indonesian boy has died of bird flu. They said he had a "history" of handing a dead chicken near his school.

"Medical doctors at the hospital were meeting to discuss his case, since he showed great improvement in his health condition, with his white-blood cell count rising, but the boy suddenly died at 7:30 this morning," said Nirwan.

The latest cull in Russia is complete.

The Philippines are bragging about banning Canadian imports as a sign of their commitment to fight bird flu.

Pakistan has announced that it has a bird flu plan.

They're monitoring for birds in New Mexico....

In North Dakota, they are urging hunters to report any dead birds they find.

Dutch Scientists id the parts of the virus that attack human and bird cells.

This story is fascinating. A neighborhood in Virginia is trying to see if it can isolate itself and survive during a pandemic.

A committee of seven residents in Ford’s Colony is studying the possibility that a neighborhood could effectively isolate itself during a pandemic, stockpiling enough goods to serve residents when common resources are overwhelmed or simply unavailable.

North Dakota is offering drive through flu shots.

Here's how you prep your home for bird flu.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October 12 Flu Update

An avian outbreak in Russia has resulted in a major cull.

Thailand is building a drug plant to help fight bird flu.

Vietnam says to expect bird flu back during cooler weather in November.

More bird flu training in the Philippines

Revere blogs a recent research study--warning: heavy science content.

The Financial Industry finished its pandemic prep. Here's a report.

More on this from The Economist.

Retail institutions came under greater strain than wholesale ones because their work is less automated, they have more customer contact and their employees are more likely to be affected by school closures.
As for the risk of a “dash for cash”, Chris Keeling, a business-continuity specialist, reckons that there may be an initial spurt of withdrawals but that it will not last long. There will not be much to spend money on and no one will want to stand in queues.

Gloucester MA is doing pandemic prep with the right idea--that prep for bird flu helps prep for everything.

Roche reports, now that the stockpiling is over.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October 11 Flu Update

There's a bird flu outbreak in Vietnam (avian) and a new human case in Indonesia.

CIDAP on the Indonesian case.

Smithsonian magazine profiles John Wherry, a rising star in the flu business.

Behavior in an Indonesian wet market during a season when chicken are in demand.

Birds that died on an English beach are being tested for H5N1.

DEFRA publishes bird flu lessons learned.

The University of Colorado @ Colorado Springs has a pandemic plan.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 10 Flu Update

A local newspaper in Vietnam says the virus has mutated.

Five potential cases in Indonesia were cleared.

Now Vietnam is implementing bird flu checkpoints.

In Ghana, farmers who do not follow bio-security measures will not be compensated.

In an unrelated story (maybe), Ghana says it is bird flu free.

The Philippines Department of Ag will hold bird flu seminars.

Expert in the Berkshires says a pandemic is coming.

Revere is back in the flu mix, blogging on research on whether certain animals can be reservoirs for flu....and whether the scope of the research needs to be widened.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October 9 Flu Update

China has lifted the quarantine in a bird flu afflicted area.

A region in India was also declared bird flu free.

EU Pandemic plans have major gaps that could cause chaos.

"Our findings show that even in Europe, which may be better prepared than some regions, considerable gaps and inconsistencies persist and several areas of operational planning have not been addressed," the study published in the October issue of the WHO Bulletin said.

Hosteling newsletter notes tourism risk remains low.

Bangladesh received World Bank funds for bird flu.

Lab reports new treatment for bird flu.

Bird flu prep is undertaken in Alabama

A massive grid computing project targets bird flu.

A company also demonstrated the value of a specific adjuvant.

Monday, October 08, 2007

October 8 Flu Update

I'm back.

The alarming news we have waited for may be here. The bird flu is said to be moving toward h2h transmission. (This news is all over the MSM, this is but one selection)

Scientist Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the H5N1 virus, commonly referred to as the bird flu, has mutated and can now develop in the upper respiratory systems of humans, which may increase the chances of the virus spreading from one person to another.

Meanwhile, a 44 year old woman died in Indonesia.

ProMed on this story. No readily apparent source of infection, personal contacts appear to be negative.

Vietnam remains on red alert.

A Lab Tech from Iowa is going to some training from the CDC, and she iss going to blog about it (cool!)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

October 3 Flu Update and hiatus

We'll be on hiatus until October 7.

This idea has emerged before--China is working on using plasma of flu patients to treat the next generation of flu patients.

New Hampshire is preparing for bird flu pandemic.

Indonesia says that a US report on human-human transmission is false.

Effect Measure blogs on the story about flu in the sewage system. Interesting, in that he notes that transmissibility and tamiflu resistance might, or might not be related.

In England they are wondering if the social services could keep up with a pandemic.

The Joplin County health department has a pandemic website.

In Alberta, they are still keeping poultry away from a Farm Fair.

Letter to Editor invokes bird flu to keep nurses working at Lester Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Octrober 2 Flu Update

A Swedish researcher warns about the dangers of Tamiflu abuse.

Swedish scientists say that Tamiflu -- the frontline weapon in any bird-flu pandemic -- cannot be broken down by sewage systems and this could help the virus mutate dangerously into a drug-resistant strain.
The US is helping Cambodia fight the bird flu.

CIDRAP on the death in Indonesia from yesterday.

ProMed on yesterday's death.

CIDRAP catches up on the news that H5N1 attacks organs and the placenta.

Reuters gives nice summary of recent bird flu events.

EU critic says EU is not prepared for bird flu.

Progressive blog on the prep work being done on college campuses.

Monday, October 01, 2007

October 1 Flu Update

A 21-year old man has died of bird flu in Indonesia.

ProMed on this death. Note that there are 107 reported cases in Indonesia and 87 deaths. Note this:

The several suspected cases in West Java and Ria reported in "Avian influenza, human (131): Indonesia 20070924.3168" have not been confirmed so far.

China has banned poultry imports from Canada.

The USDA did something similar, and it caused problems for some hunters.

Meanwhile, the University of Saskatchewan is planning a bird flu center.

Bird flu is blamed for a shortage of eggs for Ramadan.

Freshmen at Washington State were all given the Gina Kolata book on the bird flu. (The book that got me interested in avian influenza).

A flu exercise is scheduled for Salem, IL.