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.


At 6:41 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I find it rather amazing (but not surprised though) that the US governments pandemic influenza preparedness plans do not accommodate for enough anti-viral drugs for all 73.6 million children in the United States. Let’s see here: we can waste $ 1 Billion dollars a day on that rat hole called Iraq, but cannot manage to stockpile enough Tamiflu and Relenza for the children of our nation. We are talking real “chump change” in the big scheme of things– maybe the next Administration in office will rearrange some of our nation’s priorities.

One would also logically think that based on the similarities of known 1918 mortality data, to the H5N1 fatalities to date, that since the vast majority of pandemic illnesses and deaths appear to be 40 years old and younger, the government would target these demographics for the stockpiles of targeted anti-virals and vaccines. I must be missing something completely on this entire subject.

As far as making provisions for the extended closure of schools, day-care centers, and assisted-living centers for the elderly – I guess we have to cross our fingers that whatever meager plans local communities have in place, might work for a few weeks – after that we will face some real catastrophes in my opinion, that will make Katrina look like a picnic in the park. I’m not even going to mention the potential impact of a severe pandemic on our vast US prison system… but can anyone imagine if we have to let the mongrels out of prison because there simply will be not enough prison guards able to keep them incarcerated, or medical care for them ? Don’t think for a moment this is outside the realm of possibility. It actually did occur during Katrina. Prisoners were virtually all set loose en masse to fend on their own, and the authorities are still looking for many of them, years after the event.

To me, Ambassador’s Lange speech seemed a little ominous in its’ over tones to me – especially the four elements that he outlined: Rapid Response, Mitigation Procedures, Humanitarian Assistance and Access to Pandemic Vaccines. Nary a word about the usual mundane stuff, like surveillance and prevention. I sure wish we could get Ms. Supari in the same room with him, so she might learn a thing or two about global responsibility and ethics. Somehow, good speeches like this always seem to be delivered to the wrong crowd.

I don’t mind if we send another $ 38M to Africa in support of their influenza programs, but I sure mind if anyone sends a nickel to Indonesia when they refuse to share human H5N1 virus samples and sample sequence data. Most African nations are truly appreciative and needy.

And speaking of Africa, did anyone catch the Davis County, Utah Health Director’s comment that, “ He told those in attendance the first case of the bird flu being spread human to human was recently reported in Africa. Eight people were affected and seven died”. What ? I think he got his countries confused.

And it is a small world. When I read your Erie County article, it brought back memories of my childhood. I have actually been there many times, as recent as five years ago. Howard Nadworny, MD, Director of Infection Control – he must be one of those new guys.

Next time I’m there I’m going to pay him a visit.



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