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.


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Notice in your first article out of China a few things: that their “blunt” pandemic warning only subtly and indirectly refers to the H5N1 virus strain as a possible culprit, and specifically mentions the mysterious “Luohu type” influenza virus, which is a variant of the Type A Solomon Islands virus, as the most likely origin. A very interesting article indeed. I suspect that the author or the source of the information is indeed trying to warn his own country and the reader of the two possible likely sources. Overall, I agree, it is surprisingly blunt, and worrisome – and they have reason to be. It's the first time I recall seeing this type of news release.

Health screening at airports ? Nah, not effective nor feasible. The only way to stop a pandemic influenza from spreading like wildfire from foreign points of origin (foreign passengers from a foreign country), is to stop the international flights themselves completely. Immediately – we would need to freeze all travel. And this ain’t gonna happen. (we can’t even get a simple consensus across the US when public schools and colleges should be closed).

As far as the many agencies of the federal government being unprepared: absolutely true, in my opinion. Most agencies think they are prepared because they have elaborate paper national emergency and pandemic COOP plans in place (natural doorstops) – but they are untested, unrealistic, and provide for little or no actual remote work contingencies or telecommuting. They are designed primarily for natural disasters, like hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorism events. Putting “top federal career executives” in charge of pandemic planning is about the worst possible thing the government could do: these individuals are temporary political appointees by the party in power in Washington. They are short-timers and mostly political hacks. As far as OPM and FEMA drafting roles for FEB’s for the government’s influenza preparedness plans – a second big mistake. Since when have these two huge bloated bureaucracies ever proven to anyone they can think their way out of a wet paper Orville Redenbacher bag ? Based on my thirty five years with the federal government, and the military, these two particular agencies would be the last on earth I would put in charge of US pandemic planning. They’re our own home-grown version of Indonesia or Zimbabwe.

When I read your VOA article about the demand for animal products (protein) doubling in the next 20 years, my very first thought was: we’ll never get there with the burgeoning world population, the impacts of global warming, dwindling fresh water sources, gigantic massive misuse of antibiotics, emerging animal diseases, world terrorism and influenza pandemic threats. We can barely feed the world population now, and in some regions we cannot.

There will be a cataclysm of world hunger, major world war catastrophe or illness of monumental world proportion, before the next 20 years – just my opinion.

Plus, not to mention the impact of shifting the production of agricultural grains for bio-fuels. We are already seeing the supply of world grains get down to precarious levels, as agriculture curtails edible grain sources to meet more lucrative market demands of the petrol and refining industry.

The world in general is going to get a lot more hungry than people think, well before the next twenty years are up.



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