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.


At 2:45 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your first article about the weaker immune response from rural African children raises some pretty thought provoking questions.

First and foremost, is the obvious question of how effective either a pre-pandemic or actual matched pandemic vaccine is going to be for these youngsters ? Another surprising finding is the fact that H1 and H3 and type B antibodies were already found in the majority of these children in Gabon, and most likely their prior influenza illness are/were being attributed falsely to malaria (and most probably a whole lot of other illnesses).

It makes a reasonable person wonder where else in the world these same gross errors are occurring? Indonesia certainly comes to mind and would surprise nobody. Also, the misdiagnosing of influenza illnesses (suspiciously) are certainly reminiscent of what occurred during the two year period prior to the great influenza of 1918.

Think about it: nearly 100 years have passed and we still seem to be inaccurately or overlooking the correct viral and influenza illnesses in many of these third world countries. Makes a person wonder if the influenza pandemic has actually started and we didn’t get the memo.

Judging from the remarks and themes in your other two articles, from Connecticut and Arkansas, I think the primary focus in veterinary medicine and wildlife biology in the US is pretty one-dimensional when it comes to the H5N1 and other avian viruses: focusing primarily on the direct impact to our gigantic poultry industry and the economic consequences. Human infections seem to be secondary or an afterthought, since we actually have few “backyard” poultry operations.

While I would never dispute that spending research and grant funds for animal and wild bird surveillance is worthwhile – we need to be spending a lot more funding for actually emergency and pandemic preparation, including health care for the human population.

In the final analysis, when a human pandemic emerges, ain’t nobody I know of who are going to worry about a bunch of chickens or ducks, crows or pigeons. They are going to be worried about their own children.



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