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.


At 6:16 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Yes, “confusion” does reign supreme in Indonesia. Other more precise words that come to mind are “prevarication” and “equivocation”, especially when the news comes out of the Riau, Sumatra area. While Madame Supari and her health minions are busy back tracking on the 10-year old girl’s reason for death, now seven more children all under the age of ten are reported to be suffering similar bird flu symptoms and are under observation. The Wulfman predicts: eventually, the health authorities will not be able to disguise the obvious and inevitable illnesses which are occurring – then the esteemed health minister will pull the trigger and mass pre-pandemic vaccinations of the humans on the islands will begin. There are already rumors of preparation being made for this activity in recent translated text reports. Even far away Ugandan’s seem to know and understand that human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus has already occurred in Indonesia.

Regarding your article on the HHS priorities as to who gets first “dibs” on a pandemic vaccine - the winning priorities seem to be deployed military troops, emergency workers, pregnant women and children (including medical services workers, law enforcement, firemen, flu vaccine and drug makers and key government leaders and anyone else who can jump into the que), – seems entirely appropriate and well conceived. However, these categories seem to add up to only approximately 22 ½ million people… so it appears that the rest of us ( 277 ½ million) people will have to wait it out patiently. (Theoretically I might add). However, there is a downside to everything, and in my view, this spells real panic and trouble in the large cities of the US. (note to readers: people get upset over college football games and soccer matches now, imagine how they will react when they find out they are excluded from a life-saving pandemic vaccine pool – break out the S&W’s folks, you’ll need them).

Seems to me when I read your CIDRAP article about directive HSPD 21 and the article about the HHS not spending up to $ 2.5 B of appropriated funding – that we have one gigantic disconnect going on in the US federal government. The directive covers the topics “biosurveillance, countermeasure stockpiling and distribution, mass-casualty care, and community resilience”, and apparently the government needs ga-zillions of dollars to implement these measures – but yet the HHS can’t seem to figure out how to spend their appropriated money. In fact, the HHS, haven’t even ordered the total amount of anti-viral medicines they were supposed to. People normally call this disjointed situation a boh cluster-something, or another.

Three cheers for governor M. Jodi Rell for urging and warning Connecticut residents to prepare in earnest for a probable influenza pandemic in the near future. He deserves a distinguished bird-flu medal for valor, in the face of opposition by his own physicians, epidemiologists and heath care workers – who think he’s being too “alarmist”. These kind’s of individuals who really don’t have a clue about the substantial risk of a novel avian influenza pandemic threat, should read Michael Gregor’s bird flu book: “A Virus of Our Own Hatching”, and maybe they could get out of their “comfort zones” and comprehend the potential havoc, human death toll and economic upheaval we may be facing.

I’ll give you and your readers a gold nugget today Orange. The US State Department apparently understands the threat and risks of a looming pandemic.

Read the attached link. I’ve said it numerous times before: watch the US State Department actions closely, they are one of the few governments agencies who in my opinion will be a leading indicator (wink):

Article: State Department Urged to Improve Evacuation Training



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