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.


At 6:04 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your Jakarta Post Indonesian article really gives a first hand confirmation of the utter tragedy that is well into the final stages there:

• citizens are still able to buy live chickens in wet markets, and can have them slaughtered on the spot, or take them home to kill and clean them

• wet markets are largely ignored and left untouched by the government officials, veterinary and health care services – no enforcement whatsoever

• sick and H5N1 infected poultry are being disguised with by spices, and/or injected with formaldehyde and water (unbelievable)

• government campaigns to warn and control the situation are largely ignored and effective

We continue to see nonsense statements every week about sick or deceased bird flu infected victims and how “it is not clear how the individual was exposed to the virus”. I believe that the H5N1 virus is so endemic in their environment, that this is a true statement: they simply can’t identify the source of infection anymore – it literally is everywhere.

The huge number of loose and free roaming chickens still running through the streets, coupled with the unregulated and disgustingly large proliferation of wet markets, means to me that money being sent to Indonesia is largely a wasted effort.

The Indonesian government appears to me to ineffectual, apathetic and mainly unconcerned about the situation largely due to ignorance and irrationalism . They truly believe that they have nothing to worry about, unless the virus mutates to a form that can easily jump from human to human. Then they will snuff it out and if they are forced to, stick everybody with a pre-pandemic vaccine and the problem goes away.

This whole situation in Indonesian is just plain nuts, absurd and supremely irresponsible.

Wayne: you commented yesterday that

“We have done a good job of culling birds to stop H5N1 in people but our success has also given the virus time to mutate and spread to other species. I do not have a solution but I hope we don't wake up some day and discover we are not at the top of the food chain any more”.

I couldn’t agree with you more Wayne. I don’t think for a moment Indonesia has the foggiest idea how their people are actually ending up getting infected; I don’t think they really care a whole lot because people are “expendable”; I don’t think they are even diagnosing and reporting the number of cases accurately and honestly; and because of these nincompoops, we will indeed end up being at the bottom of the virus food chain.

Did anyone ever think what would happen if we end up with two or three deadly highly transmissible strains of novel pandemic viruses, either concurrently or in close succession around the world? That’s where I truly think the virus is mutating to – a Hydra with multiple heads. So far we’ve been lulled into thinking of a pandemic in a singular viral sense.

There ain’t any Hercules on the horizon that I’m aware of.



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